IPA Blog

IPA Secures Major Wins During 2023 Session

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Gov. Eric Holcomb signs off on increased funding for public health and mental health.

 

 

By Claudia Cummings, IPA President & CEO

 

 

Donor privacy protected. Public health improved.

It was a whirlwind session of the 2023 Indiana General Assembly. I wanted to let you know the results of our work. In short: it was very positive. We think our legislative efforts should help the lives of those in your community and the regulatory environment in which you work.

On your behalf, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance has been monitoring a growing national movement to increase restrictions on philanthropy. There are strong voices, many from within philanthropy itself, questioning the motives of donors, the efficacy of endowments, and the basic tenets of charitable giving. There have been numerous legal challenges and bills filed in statehouses across the country seeking to curtail the First Amendment right to donor privacy.

The biggest win of our session this year was the passage of House Enrolled Act 1212, which secures the privacy of donors in Indiana. It codifies in law the right of nonprofits to protect donor lists and prohibits public agencies from compelling a nonprofit to provide that protected information. After passing both the Senate and House overwhelmingly, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it into law on May 4.

Your IPA advocacy team—comprised of me, IPA VP of External Affairs Holly Davis, and Lauren Box of Barnes & Thornburg—worked with our partners at Philanthropy Roundtable and the bill’s author (Rep. Mike Karickhoff) and sponsor (Sen. Liz Brown) to introduce the bill and navigate through challenges that occur throughout the legislative process.

Ask me sometime how crazy it got near the end of the session, when the bill was forced into conference committee before we were able to successfully resurrect it and see it passed to Gov. Holcomb for signature.

We’re thrilled that these efforts yielded fruit and glad we could help protect the right of donors to remain private. A related bill, Senate Enrolled Act 302, was also signed into law by Gov. Holcomb. It provides additional protections for nonprofit organizations by prohibiting state agencies from imposing more burdensome reporting or filing requirements on a nonprofit than would otherwise be required by state or federal law. It should help keep unnecessary regulations at bay and let you focus on your philanthropic work.

Of course, this being the year the legislature meets to set the biennial state budget, I’d be remiss not to mention the passage of House Bill 1001, the budget bill. It is $44 billion for the two-year period. 

The IPA Health Disparities Collaborative, comprised of IPA members representing communities large and small across the state, has been working for more than a year in support of improved public health systems. This work culminated in IPA’s state budget priority of greater public health funding to move Indiana from the bottom of most states to the average range.

During the session, we stayed in close communication with members of the Governor’s Public Health Commission to stay on top of the measure’s progress and deploy IPA influence where it mattered. Members wrote letters and a few specific foundation leaders reached out to key budget decision-makers to enhance their understanding of the need for funding.

In all, the legislature allocated $225 million for the governor’s public health program and $100 million for mental health funding. While short of the $347 million goal, this is a tremendous success, lifting Indiana from the bottom and providing a foot in the door for further increases down the line.

Other budget items of note:

  • READI 2.0 was allocated $500 million
  • IEDC received an additional $500 million for its deal-making budget to bring economic development projects to Indiana

Although the Indiana General Assembly is adjourned for this year, we remain vigilant on the advocacy front at both the state and federal levels. This week, we are leading a contingent of IPA members to Washington, D.C. for our annual Foundations on the Hill. They will meet with Sen. Young, Sen. Braun, and Indiana’s nine congressional representatives, as well as tour the U.S. Capitol and discuss issues such as agriculture, education, and housing with federal representatives.

The work continues. Thank you for being a member of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and for the incredible things you do across the state.

You can view the Friday, May 5, recording of the IPA Legislative Wrap-Up Session below:

 

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