General Assembly Gavels to a Close

Date: March 10, 2024

It was another good legislative session for Indiana's small businesses

The Indiana legislative session ended on Friday, March 8.

“It was another good year for Indiana and the small business community,” NFIB State Director Natalie Robinson said. “This session’s discussions on tax reform helped to set the stage for the substantial reform efforts we anticipate in 2025. 

“I want to thank the many NFIB members who helped us advocate on key issues by making calls, sending emails, testifying, doing media interviews, and participating in the process,” Robinson said. “I also want to thank Senator Gaskill, Senator Young, and Representative Lindauer for standing up against House Bill 1385, a harmful healthcare bill that will raise rates on small businesses. They recognized a bad policy when they saw it and fought for us until the very end.”

Here are some of the highlights from the 2024 regular session:  

Regulatory: HB 1383 (Wetlands) 

  • This law lowers the number of wetlands that can fall into Class 3, while ensuring the significant, isolated wetlands (Class 3) are still protected. 
  • It provides clarity for property owners and helps prevent permitting delays that can be costly to those buying a home, operating a business, or farming.  
  • The bill was the first to be signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb this session.  
  • It strikes a necessary balance of protecting and preserving Indiana’s vital wetlands while supporting economic growth. 

Labor: HB 1093 (Employment of Minors) & SB 146 (Youth Employment) 

  • Hoosier businesses may be able to expand job responsibilities and hours for employees ages 18 years and under after the passage of two bills aimed at reforming youth employment laws to align them with federal regulations.  
  • Senate Bill 146 allows 18-year-olds to ring up purchases of alcohol and serve those beverages at hotels and restaurants.  
  • House Bill 1093 repeals portions of state law that restrict the number of hours Hoosier youth ages 16 to 18 can work during a school day or week.  
  • It also exempts minors between the ages of 16 and 18 who work in farm labor from the state’s restrictions on working hours and performing certain jobs as defined in the new law.  

Tort Reform: HB 1090 (Transportation Matters), HB 1160 (Third-Party Lending), and SB 226 (Attorney’s Fees) 

  • It’s been decades since the Indiana General Assembly has passed such meaningful tort reform legislation to help the small business community. 
  • House Bill 1090 allows juries to mitigate damages based on evidence of seatbelt use.  
  • House Bill 1160 precludes foreign adversaries from funding commercial litigation.  
  • Senate Bill 226 updates an antiquated statute aimed at facilitating settlement negotiations.

Government Overreach: SB 234 (Disaster Emergency) 

  • Governor Holcomb signed SB 234 into law a bill that limits the governor’s emergency powers through the end of his term and for future Indiana governors. This law requires approval from the Indiana General Assembly if the governor seeks to extend a statewide emergency declaration beyond 60 days. A state of emergency declaration for part of the state can still be extended longer without approval from the legislature. 


Related Content: Small Business News | Indiana

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