HALL MONITOR: “YES” on Parental Rights in Indiana

Name: Senate Bill 46, on Parental Rights 

Summary: Senate Bill 46 prohibits government entities from interfering with a parents’ right to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children. 

Status: Introduced January 8, 2024. Referred to Committee on the Judiciary. Hearing scheduled for Wednesday, January 10 at noon.

Sponsors: Senator Elizabeth Brown    

Bill Breakdown: Senate Bill 46 prohibits the state government from interfering with the fundamental right of a parent  “to direct the upbringing, religious instruction, education, or health care” of their children. It ensures that government entities may not encourage children to hide or withhold information from their parents—including information about the child’s emotional wellbeing. 

Senate Bill 46 ensures that the government may interfere in cases of “compelling government interest,” such as in cases of child abuse or neglect. The bill does not apply to parents who are already barred from accessing this information about their children due to court orders. 

Why does PDE Action support this bill? 

Parents, not government entities, are a child’s first and foremost caretakers. Unfortunately, schools across the country have sought to exclude parents from sensitive and vital information about the health and wellbeing of their children. 

Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, has tracked more than 1,000 school districts with parental exclusion policies—which say that a parent may not be notified if and when a child decides to live as another gender identity at school. 

Unfortunately, Indiana failed to pass House Bill 1407 in the 2023 legislative session. That bill would have established fundamental parental rights in Indiana law. PDE Action hopes the Indiana legislature will take this opportunity to protect parental rights in the Hoosier state.