Holcomb signs 91 more bills, finishes session without veto

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Indiana Statehouse

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed 91 bills on Thursday, finishing this year’s legislative session without vetoing any of the 252 bills sent to his desk by state lawmakers.

The governor’s signature on legislation is largely ceremonial because bills passed by the legislature become law whether he signs them or not. The only way the governor can stop a bill is through a veto. Vetoes can be overridden by lawmakers with a simple majority vote by both the House and Senate.

Thursday’s final batch included the new two-year $44 billion state budget that includes a broad expansion of the private school voucher program.

Here are some key measures the governor signed in the final batch:


The new two-year $44.6 billion budget cleared the Republican-dominated Legislature in near-party line votes last week. It includes a broad expansion of eligibility for the state’s private school voucher plan that will take up more than $500 million of the $1.5 billion increase in K-12 funding. That will leave traditional public school districts with a projected 5.4% boost next school year and 1.3% the following year.


The state will have $225 million in the next two years to help counties expand public health services with the aim of improving Indiana’s poor national rankings in areas such as obesity, smoking and life expectancy and upgrading local emergency services. Legislators approved about two-thirds of the money Holcomb had sought for the program as it faced some public opposition over distrust of health officials following the COVID-19 pandemic.


A state-funded handgun training program will be available for teachers who seek to be armed while at their schools. School boards may already permit teachers to have weapons and bill supporters say the 40 hours of optional training will help them be better prepared in any active shooter situations. Critics argued having additional guns in schools could worsen safety.


Republicans pushed to eliminate a requirement that school administrators discuss issues such as curriculum, student discipline, school safety and class sizes with teacher union representatives. Bill sponsors called it a “deregulation” measure, while teacher union leaders said it was a “brazen act of disregard” for classroom educators.


The new law aims at preventing leaders of the state’s pension funds for teachers and other government workers from investing any of their some $45 billion with firms that consider environmental, social and governance principles. So-called ESG investment strategies have become the target of Republican lawmakers across the country who argue they are focused more on pushing political agendas rather than earning the best returns. The Indiana pension fund board has said it hasn’t followed such ESG strategies.


Middle school students will be automatically enrolled in the state’s 21st Century Scholars program that provides full tuition at Indiana’s public colleges for those from low-income families. Advocates for automatic enrollment said many eligible students missed the enrollment deadline, hurting their chances of attending college. Students may opt out of the program, which requires students to maintain good grades and stay out of trouble through high school to obtain the scholarships.


The measure will require schools to notify a parent if a student requests a name or pronoun change at school. Critics worry the law could out transgender children to their families and erode trust between students and teachers while supporters have contested the legislation keeps parents empowered and informed about their children when at school. Indiana’s law, which goes into effect July 1, will require school officials to provide written notification to a child’s parent or guardian within five business days of the child asking to be called a different “pronoun, title, or word,” according to the bill. It also prohibits, from prekindergarten through third grade, instruction on “human sexuality,” something that is not defined in the bill.


Holcomb also signed into law on Thursday a bill that could make it easier to ban books from public school libraries, staff at which would be required by July 1 to publicly post a list of books they offer and provide a complaints process for community members. Schools and librarians could also no longer argue, as a legal defense, that the texts in their libraries have “educational” value. The law would still allow them to argue the text has literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Those who supported the legislation expressed concern that sexually inappropriate or “pornographic” materials are available to children in school libraries.

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8 thoughts on “Holcomb signs 91 more bills, finishes session without veto

  1. I find it odd that the MASSIVE double digit percentage pay raises granted for Indiana’s Executive Branch Office Holders in this just enacted budget bill is not mentioned in this article. Our autocratic Republican legislature leaders did that behind closed doors without any public notice or hearings . While also denying a 1% cola increase to retired State Employees.

    1. As so accurately pointed out on IWIR (Thank you Ann), even with the resulting increases (near $200,000 for the Gov) they will still be eligible to receive Private School Vouchers under the Legislature and Gov’s increased income eligibility guidelines. Clearly another piece of the ongoing plan to eliminate our Public School System. Once known as the American Equalizer.
      It’s also worth noting that the Private Schools continue to receive tax monies while being exempt from most of the laws, guidelines and regulations the Public Schools are required to follow.

  2. It appears that after 2 terms (legal limit) of serving as a somewhat Old School moderate Republican (aka extinct), it is time for the Gov to change. That is, if he expects to have any chance of being elected in any future Republican primary election.
    I assume his calculation is heavily based on him often being labeled as a RINO by the extreme Right Wing majority in his party, who create solutions to problems that do not exist. Their reason? To create the illusion that their political opposition supports continuing these non-existent problems.
    Example, can anyone name a school in Indiana that teaches Sexuality and Gender to their students in Kindergarten thru the Third Grade?

  3. Nancy H., Exactly what did Holcomb sign that you’d classify as “RIGHT WING”? For that matter, how do you define right wing? And no one is eliminating Public School Systems. But many Public School Systems in challenged areas are failing their students and communities. For those students, private school vouchers are the American Equalizer, and those benefits should be available to the tax-paying middle class as well as the less fortunate.

    1. Private school vouchers for the upper (white) middle class, book bans, LGBTQ discrimination, taking local control away from cities and towns…

  4. Stunning. Simply stunning. 252 bills enacted this year. Did we really need 252 more laws? How in the world did this State ever get by the last few years without these additional laws and rules? And there were 1200 bills proposed! That is an average of eight proposals from each and every State congressman. Thank God their position is not their full time job. Who know what more they could dream up.

  5. Teacher discussion bill sponsors called it “deregulation.” (SB486) Really? The only thing left that hasn’t been dismantled is wages and benefits. Discussion teams over time will fade away. The Indiana Legislature just exacerbated the teacher shortage.

  6. They dismantled those in their 2012 Session when they made Indiana a “Right to Work” State. More accurately describd as the Right to Work for Less.