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Weekly Statehouse Update: Wetlands legislation, changes to tenure, expanded disaster relief

The southwestern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse, during the day.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Indiana's 2024 legislative session runs through no later than March 14, 2024.

Lawmakers reach the halfway point of the 2024 session and send the first bill to the governor. The Senate advances a bill that could change tenure in higher education. And legislation heads to the House to expand access to disaster relief.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

HB 1383: Wetlands

A bill to reduce protections for the only group of wetlands that didn’t lose then three years ago due to state legislation was fast-tracked through the General Assembly – it is now headed for the governor’s desk.

Proponents said HB 1383 is built on compromise, but wetlands experts and advocates said they were left out of the process.

SB 202: State educational institution matters

Republican senators said they want to make higher education more welcoming to conservative viewpoints. And legislation they approved this week, SB 202, could end tenure as we know it in pursuit of that goal by requiring regular reviews of tenured faculty to determine whether they meet certain criteria related to “intellectual diversity.”

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana.

SB 190: State disaster relief fund

A bill unanimously approved by the Senate this week will give Hoosiers who’ve suffered property loss or damage due to disasters more money, more easily from the state disaster relief fund. A priority bill of the governor’s, SB 190 is headed for the House.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.