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Weekly Statehouse update: Senate GOP budget, 'Don't Say Gay' changes, TANF increase

Senate Republicans unveil their proposed state budget. Indiana’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill clears the Senate after significant changes. And the first welfare expansion in three decades heads to the governor’s desk.

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

HB 1001: State budget

The Senate GOP budget diverges sharply from the House version over school vouchers. House Republicans want to dramatically expand the program; the Senate proposes maintaining the status quo. There’s also still an open question of how the new budget, HB 1001, will fund public and mental health care – whether through standard general fund dollars, a cigarette tax increase or cell phone fee, or some combination thereof.

HB 1608: Education matters

Changes to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, HB 1608, mean a school must notify a parent – but not seek consent – when a child requests a change to their name or pronouns. The Senate also removed language that allowed teachers to use their religion as reason to refuse to call a student their preferred name or pronouns.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues throughout the legislative session. And follow along with our bill tracker.

SB 265: TANF eligibility

For the first time in decades, the state is set to increase the income limits for people to access the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program. Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature, SB 265, also raises the program’s monthly cash payments.

Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at

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

Copyright 2023 IPB News. To see more, visit .

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.