75 Measures Were Signed Into Indiana Law

A bipartisan bill that would help fund child care in Indiana was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb along with seventy-four other bills.

Republican and Democratic leaders made it a point to address the issue of affordable child care this year, but lawmakers could not do much because of the nonbudget cycle. In odd-numbered years, Indiana develops a budget twice a year.

The governor, a Republican, also signed a measure that would remove certain restrictions on daycare centers. The bill would extend the validity of facility licenses from two to three years and exclude some school-based childcare programs from licensure requirements. Additionally, it would allow residential childcare institutions to operate more extended hours and accommodate up to eight children rather than six. According to Republicans, removing restrictions makes it easier to build and manage institutions, but Democrats are firmly against the plan, claiming it puts children at risk.

A number of other contentious measures were introduced at the signing ceremony, including reform of faculty tenure at public universities, the removal of a law that allowed Ukrainian refugees to get driver’s licenses, and expanded civil rights for some state officials. On Wednesday, Holcomb expanded eligibility for a childcare subsidy program for field personnel with children when he signed the state Senate agenda bill. The law also reduces the minimum age to work with children from 16 to 18 and, in some instances, even lower.

Public college and university professors will soon be subject to stricter tenure requirements, thanks to a measure that Holcomb signed into law. Every five years, tenured academics will be evaluated, and institutions should establish a policy that forbids faculty members who are “unlikely to foster a culture of free inquiry, free expression and intellectual diversity within the institution” from being promoted or granted tenure. Proponents claim it will help create a more welcoming campus climate for conservative faculty and students. Some feel it will hurt Indiana’s institutions’ ability to recruit top students.

The remaining six pieces of legislation are up for Holcomb’s consideration; he may either sign them into law or reject them. Most academics thought that Senate Enrolled Act 202 would lead to excessive government regulation of educational institutions and a “chilling effect” on student speech. In addition to the legislation that Holcomb signed into law, some 175,000 former public employees are set to get a one-time benefit bonus by October and guaranteed yearly 13th checks or cost-of-living increases going forward.