Senate Republicans outline legislative priorities

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Indiana Senate Republicans have outlined their legislative priorities as the General Assembly continues to convene after the 2023 session began Jan. 9.

Among its priorities include tax reform, tax cuts for small businesses, improving Indiana’s mental health system, modernizing health departments, lowering healthcare costs, raising pay for Indiana State Police, among others.

Below is a list of priorities released earlier this month based on information provided by Indiana Senate Republicans. A complete list can be found by visiting indianasenaterepublicans.com.

Fiscal responsibility

  • Pave the way for transformational tax reform
    Senate Bill 3, authored by State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle)
    WHAT: Form the State and Local Tax Review Commission to study the feasibility of ending Indiana’s income tax and reforming property taxes for Hoosiers
    WHY: Indiana’s tax climate consistently ranks among the best in the nation. Senate Republicans want to take a holistic look at our tax structure to ensure we remain competitive in today’s economy.
  • Plan for Indiana’s fiscal future
    Senate budget priority
    WHAT: Continue to aggressively pay down the Pre-1996 Teachers’ Retirement Fund, which has an outstanding liability of about $6 billion
    WHY: Statehouse Republicans have paid down this pension obligation by $4 billion in the past few years alone. The sooner Indiana pays off this unfunded liability, the sooner $1 billion per year is freed up in the state budget for transformational tax cuts and important public needs.
  • $50 million tax cut for small businesses
    Senate Bill 2, authored by State Sen. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville)
    WHAT: Change state tax law so LLCs and S Corps can deduct all state tax payments on federal tax returns, resulting in what could be $50 million in federal tax savings for Hoosier businesses
    WHY: This change would level the playing field for businesses – especially small businesses – when it comes to receiving a deduction on federal taxes and would be revenue-neutral for Indiana.

Make Indiana’s mental and public health infrastructure work better for Hoosiers

  • Build a better mental health care system for Indiana
    Senate Bill 1, authored by State Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield)
    WHAT: Provide ongoing funding to build out a system of certified behavioral health clinics
    WHY: Last year, the 9-8-8 National Suicide and Crisis Line went live, giving Hoosiers a place to call when they need mental-health support. The next step for improving our mental-health infrastructure is to make sure every person has a place to go to get care.
  • Modernize Indiana’s state and local health departments
    Senate Bill 4, authored by State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso)
    WHAT: Increase the quality of services performed by Indiana’s local health departments and promote collaboration between local health departments and the Indiana Department of Health
    WHY: Focusing on preventing health problems, rather than treating them, will help improve the state’s poor health rankings and foster a healthy workforce.

Lower health care costs for Hoosiers

  • Require ‘site of service’ transparency
    Senate Bill 6, authored by Charbonneau
    WHAT: Make sure insurance claims are paid appropriately based on the location where service was provided
    WHY: Ending practices that allow inaccurate billing could save Hoosiers millions per year on medical bills.
  • Help lower prescription drug costs
    Senate Bill 8, authored by Charbonneau
    WHAT: Require pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to pass on the rebates they receive for prescriptions to the patients buying the medicines or to all plan members
    WHY: It’s common for PBMs to negotiate contracts with drug companies so a PBM gets a rebate every time a person covered by their plan gets certain prescriptions. SB 8 would ensure those savings go to the person or plan that bought the medicine.
  • Promote competition in health care
    Senate Bill 7, authored by State Sen. Justin Busch (R-Fort Wayne)
    WHAT: End anti-competitive noncompete clauses and referral incentives for doctors
    WHY: Enabling doctors to compete on their own terms will help promote competition in the health care marketplace and help lower prices.

Supporting law enforcement, ensuring public safety

  • Raise pay for Indiana State Police
    Senate budget priority
    WHAT: Increase pay for Indiana State Police (ISP) and alter the pay matrix from 20 years (current timeline) to 15 years so they see an increase in pay significantly quicker throughout their career
    WHY: ISP, as the state’s leading law-enforcement agency, offers assistance to nearly every law enforcement agency across the state. Yet, a study conducted by the Indiana State Police Alliance revealed state troopers are among the lowest paid law enforcement officers in Indiana. ISP troopers are the cream of the crop and should be paid like it.
  • Allow dangerous suspects to be held without bail
    Senate Joint Resolution 1, authored by State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford)
    WHAT: Amend the Indiana Constitution to allow judges to deny bail if a suspect clearly poses a substantial risk to the public
    WHY: At least 22 states and the federal government allow the most dangerous suspects to be held without bail, and Indiana judges should have that discretion to protect the public.

Protect Hoosiers’ Data Privacy

  • Restrict how companies collect and use personal data
    Senate Bill 5, authored by State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne)
    WHAT: Creates a “bill of rights” for Hoosier data privacy that would allow consumers to monitor how their data is being used and have it deleted if they wish
    WHY: More businesses have access to our personal information, while data breaches and cybersecurity threats continue to grow. SB 5 updates consumer protection laws to defend against those threats.
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