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Weekly Statehouse Update: Gary gun lawsuit, antisemitism, abuse victims in Boy Scouts settlement

The northwestern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse, at night.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Indiana's 2024 legislative session runs through no later than March 14, 2024.

Republicans trying to kill a lawsuit against gun manufacturers and sellers. A Senate committee significantly changes a bill on antisemitism. And a bill heads to the Senate floor that could help victims of abuse in a Boy Scouts of America settlement get more money.

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

HB 1235: Prohibited causes of action concerning firearms

The city of Gary filed a lawsuit against gun makers and sellers a quarter of a century ago, arguing their negligence has contributed to the city’s gun violence epidemic. That case is still ongoing.

But HB 1235, narrowly approved by a Senate committee, would end it by saying that no city or town in the state can file a civil lawsuit against anyone in the gun industry, even if they do something illegal.

HB 1002: Enforcement of equal educational opportunity

Legislation specifically banning antisemitism in higher education underwent an overhaul in a Senate committee. At issue was the bill’s definition of antisemitism, which referenced a definition from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Critics argued that definition was too broad and would include any criticism of Israel. HB 1002’s new language takes elements from the IHRA definition, but doesn’t specifically refer to it.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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 and our 2024 legislative bill tracker.

HB 1047: Sexual offenses

A measure headed to the Senate floor would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for victims of abuse in an ongoing settlement with the Boy Scouts of America. Without that provision in HB 1047, those victims could get 10 to 25 percent less money than victims in other states.

Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at ipbs.org/2024billtracker/.

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

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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.