INDIANAPOLIS – The 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly has wrapped up after lawmakers passed some of their most influential bills during the final hours.
After adjourning early Wednesday morning, legislative leaders provided differing reviews of the past two months.
“Really proud of the successful, productive session we had,” said House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers).
“Just unfortunately, a lot of divisive social issues,” said House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne).
One of those issues came under debate during the final hours of session. Lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday night that would allow many Hoosiers age 18 and older to carry handguns without a permit.
Many Republicans voted in favor of the measure.
“That was a bill that our caucus the last couple of years has been very, very interested in and obviously passed it the last two and certainly glad to see it get across the finish line this year,” Huston said.
Democrats and other opponents have pointed to the concerns raised by many law enforcement officials.
“There’s a thing called an election coming up in November and believe me, we’re going to be the people talking about supporting our law enforcement across the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis).
Another big item on the agenda was a tax cut package, which passed the legislature with bipartisan support. Under the bill, Hoosiers could see the state income tax decline from 3.23% to 2.9% over a period of seven years. But it’s dependent on state revenue growth and whether Indiana can pay off teacher pension debt.
“I’m pretty confident,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) when asked about those benchmarks. “I think, in particular over the next year or two, our revenue forecast is fantastic. And I trust that revenue forecast.”
Many Democrats voted in favor of the bill but argue it doesn’t go far enough. They wanted a temporary suspension of the gas tax, but that wasn’t included in the final legislation.
“It’s obviously been done in the past in times of need, the gas prices really rising,” GiaQuinta said. “I think it’s a big missed opportunity.”
Many of the bills passed this session are waiting on action from the governor.
Republican legislative leaders say they could return later this year for a special session to pass new restrictions on abortion. That will depend on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue this summer.