Indiana House District 91 covers the suburban and rural Southwestside of Indianapolis, extending from the Indianapolis International Airport south to Heartland Crossing, a far-flung development of vinyl-clad homes, a golf course and walking trails that became a ground zero of sorts for foreclosures during the Great Recession. It has been represented since 1992 by Robert Behning, a florist who has made his reputation in the Indiana General Assembly as chairman of the House Education Committee, a perch from which he’s become one of the state’s leading advocates for charter schools and the use of state-funded vouchers for private school tuition.
Behning weathered a few years in which he drew primary challengers who criticized him on education policy but has won reelection handily. In 2020, he had nearly 60% of the general election vote over Democratic and Libertarian opponents.
SB 198-2019 (Sentencing, bias crimes). Allowed longer sentences in crimes based on personal characteristics, stripped of references to sexual orientation, gender identity and race. Yes
SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. Yes
HB 1001-2019 (State budget). Set funding for state agencies and services, including 2.5% annual increases for education, though not directly for teacher salaries. Yes
HB 1004-2019 (School safety). Increased access to funding for security systems and resource officers, was stripped of provisions for mental health screening. Yes
HB 1015-2019 (Various gaming matters). Allowed sports betting statewide and table games in more casinos, relocated a casino in Gary and authorizing a new one in Terre Haute. No
SB 1-2020 (Tobacco and vaping). Raised from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products in Indiana. Yes
SB 148-2020 (Zoning and housing matters). Was amended to overrule local tenant protection measures like those in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville. Vetoed by governor. Yes
HB 1004-2020 (Health matters). Controlled surprise billing for out-of-network and other costs. Yes
HB 1070-2020 (Distracted driving). Made it an infraction to handle a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Yes
HB 1414-2020 (Electric generation). Prohibited utilities from closing coal-fired generating plants without permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Yes
Director of external affairs, Educators College, Marian University; owner, Berkshire Florist.
BS, Business Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis, 1972-1976
Education (chair); Family, Children and Human Affairs; Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications.
Race/Ethnic Origin: 88.5% white, 4.7% black, 1.7% Asian, 3% other, 2.1% two or more, 86.3% white non-Hispanic, 5.6% Hispanic.