AARP Indiana racks up wins during 2022 legislative session

Posted on 05/12/22

Indiana Statehouse

The Indiana General Assembly concluded this short session and adjourned Sine Die, with both chambers burning the midnight oil until approximately 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9th.

AARP Indiana’s Legislative Team racked up several victories for older Hoosiers this session.

This was one of the most hectic legislative sessions in recent memory, marked by political and procedural maneuvers amid our return to in-person advocacy.

“Our volunteers and constituents stepped up in a big way this session,” Ambre Marr, AARP Indiana Legislative Director, said. “We delivered so that we could continue empowering older Hoosiers to live how they want as they age, but our work is not done.”

Before we turn to the future and the hard work of advocacy in the off-season, consider a few of the victories from the 2022 legislative session.

SEA 251 – Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

With this bill’s passage, Indiana will join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. This will streamline a licensing process for physicians, making their skills more portable. AARP Indiana supported cutting this red tape, and it should mean expanded access to healthcare.

SEA 284 – Telehealth Matters

Telehealth was crucial to Hoosiers with limited access to healthcare prior to the pandemic, and now it is an indispensable tool. SEA 284 expanded the list of healthcare providers that can participate in telemedicine. The more access Hoosiers have to this option, the better.

SB 352 – Supervised Consumer Loans

The lending industry keeps coming back to the General Assembly looking for ways to separate Hoosiers from their money. This piece of legislation would have allowed lenders to issue new consumer loan products that charge an interest rate of 36%, that when combined with finance charges and fees, could rise to nearly 300% in some instances. And that was just the first act of a bill we found reminiscent of the 2019 payday lending legislation, which older Hoosiers also couldn’t afford. AARP Indiana was just one of many stakeholders that successfully fought against this bill and kept it from becoming law.

SB 369 – Marion County Public Transit Corporation

If SB 352 was a reboot for predatory lending practices, SB 369 was a direct sequel to the 2021 legislative battle over the fate of mass transit in Indianapolis. AARP Indiana actively sought to halt this legislation’s advancement, which would have impeded construction of the Blue Line – a bus rapid transit route from the far eastside of the Circle City to the Indianapolis International Airport. The project represents a significant investment in this part of the city. We stayed on guard until the end of session to ensure the bill’s language did not get inserted into other legislation through political and procedural maneuvering. Hoosiers of all ages across the city count on transit for their needs, and we should see plans for bus rapid transit through. We’re not the only people who think so – registered Marion County voters agree.

HEA 1260 – Department of Local Government Finance

This bill contains language from SB 236, which helped homeowners 65 years and older and was supported by AARP Indiana. This bill increases the maximum assessed value of the real property for an individual at least 65 years of age to be eligible for a deduction from $200,000 to $240,000. Due to the rising cost of housing and assessed values going through the roof, many individuals who were currently eligible and receiving this deduction were no longer able to apply due to the fact that the assessed value of their homes increased over the $200,000 threshold.

HEA 1306 – Housing Task Force

At the outset of the General Assembly, this bill was going to create a housing task force to examine housing and housing shortages in the state. But it would have been almost completely devoid of consumer voices. AARP Indiana, alongside other community partners, went to work and was able to help secure a spot for a consumer voice as a part of the task force.

The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition (HHNC) will provide this consumer voice to the task force. Members of the group are representatives from AARP Indiana, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP), Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Hoosier Action, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute – INCAA, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Prosperity Indiana, The Ross Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana.

The HHNC empowers and encourages short- and long-term action through policy and more to stabilize housing in an equitable manner, especially during the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about our work at the Statehouse, check out our advocacy-focused podcast and video series, the Legislative Director Talking About Legislative Things. You can find it here and everywhere you get your podcasts. Part two of the current season will focus on issue areas from this session and our expanded win list.

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