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Op-ed: Donato: 2021 legislative session update

2021 legislative session update

By State Sen. Stacey Donato (R-Logansport)

The Indiana General Assembly recently completed the first half of the 2021 legislative session.

The Indiana Senate introduced 411 bills, and of those, 168 were passed by the Senate.

Upon final passage in the Senate, 92% of bills received bipartisan support and 52% received unanimous support.

This session, I have worked to pass several bills that would improve local government and public health services.

In response to the growing popularity of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have authored Senate Bill 68, which recently passed the Senate with bipartisan support. SB 68 would amend the open door law to allow members of a conservancy district board of directors to attend meetings electronically.

The pandemic has also forced local, state and federal governments to adapt how they conduct business. To make these adaptions legal, Senate Bill 369 would permit a governing body of a political subdivision to allow its members to meet using electronic communication. There would be specific procedures for electronic participation, with provisions added if a state or local disaster emergency is declared. SB 369 passed the Senate unanimously.

To improve visitation access for long-term care facilities, my peers and I voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 202, which would require nursing homes and other residential care facilities to allow their residents to participate in the Compassionate Care Program and Essential Caregiver Program. These programs allow a designated person to be deemed an essential family caregiver, allowing the individual to safely visit their loved one and provide vital support and care, even when visitation is halted due to a public health emergency.

I am excited to be back in Indianapolis serving you this session, and I look forward a successful finish.

If you have any questions regarding these or other bills we will be considering in the coming weeks, please contact me by email at or by phone at 800-382-9467.