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Church News

I-CAN Update for March 2

Posted by
March 2, 2017
The General Assembly is at Crossover, the time when all bills must clear the first house to be considered by the other body during the second half of the session. The House completed its third reading on Monday and the Senate completed its list of bills on Tuesday.  The process of committee hearings and passage by the full body begins anew with only the bills that have passed the initial house. All bills that did not pass are now dead for the session. 

SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, authored by Senator Jim Merritt (R - Indianapolis) passed the Senate 34 - 16. The bill was amended to include language to require individuals with drug felony convictions to be complying or have complied with conditions of probation, parole, community corrections, or work release. ICC supports the bill.
SB 154, Asset limitations for SNAP eligibility, passed the Senate 34 - 16. It too was amended to set a ceiling for assets at $10,000, eliminate some additional assets that are currently counted in Indiana, including children's bank accounts and some prepaid burial and funeral expenses.  The limits will allow modest savings of low income families to provide for family emergencies while looking for a job. Reducing all savings only exaggerates the problems of poverty. ICC supports the bill.
SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary educational institutions, authored by Senator Mike Young (R - Indianapolis), passed the Senate 35 - 15. The Senate amended the bill to include all private universities as well as the state institutions. However, private universities are not supported by state funds; individual students receive scholarships, grants, and loans for tuition. ICC does not support the bill because it is unnecessary. University officials in both state and private colleges and universities have indicated their policy to fully comply with law enforcement agencies on immigration as well as other matters.
SB 404, Abortion, child abuse and human trafficking, authored by Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), passed the Senate 36 - 13.  The bill was amended to address concerns regarding court procedures and notification of parents that were raised in committee last week.  Only one parent needs to be notified and if there is abuse by a parent, the minor who seeks court by-pass can name which parent is to be notified. If rape is alleged, the court and attorney are bound to notify Department of Child Services (DCS), who is required to take immediate action to protect the minor.  SB 404 also will require that an adult taking a minor for an abortion will be required to show proof of being a parent of the minor. This will address concerns that minors are being exploited by traffickers and others posing as parents. ICC supports the bill.
SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle), passed the Senate 46 - 3. The bill allows a mother to surrender her baby without penalty anonymously in a newborn safety device, meeting specific requirements, located at a hospital. Current law provides that one may surrender a baby to emergency personnel at a hospital, fire station or police station. For some anonymity is needed and Indiana law permits safe baby devices but some have raised concernsabout the safety of the devices in certain locations and legal concerns regarding abandonment of a child. SB 246 addresses these matters; ICC supports the bill.
HB 1128, Abortion matters, authored by Representative Ron Bacon (R- Chandler), passed the House 53 - 41. The bill originally contained only provisions regarding the reversal of the abortion pill, RU 486.  As passed, information provided will also include notice that the reversal procedure is not supported by all in medical profession. Also, several other topics were added. These include updating the abortion information reported to the State Department of Health and adding reports from hospital emergency departments regarding complications from abortions. The bill also clarifies that abortion clinics for medical or chemical abortion will have separate regulations from the surgical abortion clinics. Many cited the not scientifically supported procedure as reason to oppose the bill. There were also some who saw this as another attempt to restrict access to abortion. However, the reports are not substantively different from current report requirements and the information is only provided to give an option for those who desire to use it.  ICC supports the bill.
HB 1024, Prayer in schools, authored by Representative John Bartlett (D - Indianapolis), passed the House 83 -12The bill's title overstates the effect of the bill. HB 1024 affirms case law regarding religious rights in public schools; however, often public school authorities are unaware or unsure of best practices and therefore enforce restrictions that are unnecessary. Prayer sponsored by the school is still not permitted. The bill affirms the right of students to express beliefs in assignments, to wear religious symbols and to engage in religious activity before, during or after school. Schools are free to establish guidelines and restrict activities that violate citizenship and morals. ICC supports the bill.
ICC will be working on these bills during the coming weeks of the session. Committees will have the next four weeks to consider and move bills. The first week of April is the deadline for passage a second time; April 6 the deadline. Leadership has moved the ending date of the session from April 29 to April 21 or 22. Any differences in the bills that passed each house will be reconciled during conference committee phase, April 10 - 21.

In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org