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Indiana Senate rejects material harmful to minors proposal in final moments of the 2022 session

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Arts and Culture, Education, Government, Politics
The House approved the bill that included the material harmful to minors language, but in the final moments of this year's session the bill was rejected in the Senate. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

A measure to remove a legal defense for Indiana schools and public libraries accused of sharing harmful material failed during this year’s legislative session. The Senate voted down the proposal as its final move before adjournment.

The language would have removed a legal defense option for K-12 schools, public libraries and their employees if prosecuted for sharing harmful material with children. Those groups would not be allowed to claim they shared harmful material for “educational” purposes.

It was initially proposed as Senate Bill 17 and part of a controversial curriculum bill. Both bills died during the session’s second half, after missing key legislative deadlines.

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. Trying to follow along with our coverage of the legislative session? We’ve compiled all the stories our reporters have published by bill number and topic here.

But some lawmakers said they remained optimistic about finding a place for the change. The language was later added into House Bill 1369 alongside a lot of different ideas, about things like towing, drugs and parole.

The House passed it, but the Senate voted it down, just barely.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said ultimately, the bill’s many provisions were likely the contributors to its demise.

“The bottom line is when you add a lot of ideas sometimes the bill gets too heavy to move forward,” he said.

The Senate rejected the bill 21 to 29. Then it adjourned for the year.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.