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(INDIANAPOLIS) — A bill to help pregnant workers and new moms has hit a speed bump in the


It’s the second straight year Governor Holcomb has asked legislators to require employers to

accommodate pregnant women. Last year, the Senate gutted the bill. This year, there are two

versions of the bill in the House, and a committee chose to hear and pass the weaker one. Instead

of requiring employers to grant requests like lighter duty or lactation breaks, it requires only that

they respond to them — it specifies they don’t have to agree to them.

The bill does ban employers from retaliating against women who ask for accommodations.

Holcomb says it’s clear the stronger bill doesn’t have the votes. He says the bill moving in the House will at least be a step forward, and says he’ll sign an executive order to “practice what I preach” and require those accommodations for state employees.

Indianapolis Urban League advocacy director Mark A. Russell calls the bill well-intentioned, but not

enough. He says women shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their job. Hoosier

Action executive director Kate Pace notes while Indiana’s infant mortality rate is the best in state

history, it’s the 11th-worst in the U.S.

Pace says 30 states already require pregnancy accommodations, and says most Indiana small

businesses provide them already. But she says it needs to be in state law to standardize those


The full House could vote on the bill next week.

Hoosier Action is also pressing the House to uphold Holcomb’s 2020 veto of a bill invalidating local landlord-tenant ordinances. The Senate voted this week to override the veto. And the group is urging passage of a bill creating housing “problem-solving courts” and granting new state-level protections against eviction. That bill will die if it doesn’t receive a hearing on Tuesday.