The Indiana General Assembly recently reached its halfway point. Bills that passed the Senate will now be considered by the House of Representatives, and bills that passed the House will come over to the Senate.
It was a productive first half, with several important wins for our Hamilton County community, small businesses, workers and families.
When session began, I sent out a survey asking residents to provide their input on the most important issues facing our community and guidance on specific policy proposals. As we head into the second half of session, I want to share an update on policy action I’ve taken based on those responses.
One of our top priorities this session is passing a balanced, fiscally responsible two-year state budget. The House recently passed its version of the budget that protects those commitments, and the Senate will consider the budget in the second half of session. One of your budget concerns is ensuring funding for our K-12 schools. I’m pleased to report that the Senate passed a bill I co-authored, Senate Bill 2, that would make sure brick-and-mortar schools receive full funding, even if they had to transition to virtual learning for part of the year due to the pandemic.
Based on my survey, many residents also believe we should prioritize COVID-19 relief and support for small businesses. I co-authored legislation, Senate Enrolled Act 1, that will provide small businesses with immunity from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19 and ensure they have the confidence to re-open. SEA 1 passed both the Senate and the House during the first half of session, and has already been signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.
Another priority you shared in the survey is improving access to high-speed broadband, particularly in rural communities, and I couldn’t agree more. Now more than ever, it’s critical that our businesses, remote workers, farmers, students and Hoosiers seeking access to virtual health care and other services have access to reliable, high-speed internet.
To address this challenge, I authored Senate Bill 359, which would provide cities and towns with a new financing tool to invest in broadband projects locally. The bill would encourage local communities to form public-private partnerships to address broadband needs and enable them to pay for projects by leveraging anticipated service fee revenue that the project will generate. SB 359 passed the Senate unanimously and will now be considered by the House. There were several other broadband proposals introduced and passed by the Senate, which I was proud to support, that complement my bill and will help improve broadband service in Hamilton County and throughout the state.
Finally, I authored legislation to support our law enforcement officers and first responders. Senate Bill 194 would enhance penalties against someone who threatens public safety by blocking a first responder vehicle on their way to an emergency. Senate Bill 311 would protect law enforcement officers from disciplinary action if they used force to defend themselves in a life-threatening situation, a policy which a majority of survey respondents support. Both of these bills passed the Senate with bipartisan support, and are incredibly important to me as a former law enforcement officer.
During the second half of the legislative session, I hope to continue to hear from you about the issues that matter to you and your family. You can contact my legislative office at 317-232-9400 or email me at Senator.Baldwin@iga.in.gov.

State Sen. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville), Noblesville native, is the State Senator in District 20, which encompasses Noblesville and Westfield as well as portions of Carmel, Fishers and unincorporated Hamilton County.