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Indiana Senate braces for contentious second half

The Indiana Senate is bracing for a contentious second half of session after the House sent several controversial measures its way.

Among the measures Senate lawmakers will grapple with in the next few weeks are a bill on COVID-19 vaccine mandates (HB 1001), a $1 billion-a-yeartax cut package (HB 1002), legislation policing how controversial topics are taught in schools (HB 1134) and a ban on transgender girls playing girls high school sports (HB 1041).

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said that will make for more challenging work.

“The first half, frankly, was frenetic but relatively smooth, as far as I’m concerned,” Bray said. “There’ll be some difficult bills that we’ll have to deal with but we’re equipped to do it.”

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Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) predicted several of those measures will be significantly changed if not halted outright. He called his chamber more “pragmatic.”

As for his caucus, he said the top priority in the second half will be pushing for medical cannabis.

“It is so beneficial and we’re just stuck, here in the Midwest, on a lake without a paddle,” Taylor said. “I mean, the other states around us have done this.”

Lawmakers have until mid-March to finish their work.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.