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Church News

I-CAN Update for 2/8/19

February 7, 2019
  Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in Indiana regarding state and national matters.
House committees have one more week to hear bills. Committee reports must pass the House by Tuesday, February 19. The Senate has a little longer; Committees have until Wednesday, February 20 for hearings and reports due by Thursday, February 21.

SB 352, Consent to pregnancy services, was not reconsidered by the Senate. The bill now dies for lack of passage on third reading. Last week, SB 352 failed in the Senate vote 24 -25 in part due to the concern that it undermined the authority and responsibility of parents for minors age 16 - 18. The bill would have authorized minors to consent for pregnancy and delivery services without parental notice and consent. A similar bill in the House has not been given a hearing at this time.

SB 201, Health provider ethical exemption, authored by Senator Liz Brown (R - Fort Wayne), has not yet been brought back for a vote. There is time for it to pass; but calling your Senator to ask the Health Committee to support the bill will help. You can contact your Senator here. We are hopeful the bill will get a vote but expect an amendment to narrow the health providers for this protection to nurses and pharmacists. The bill exempts health care providers from being required to perform an abortion or assist or participate in procedures intended to result in an abortion.

HB 1225, Safe schools, passed the House 94 - 0. HB 1225 provides schools, including non-public schools, to apply for a state grant to provide for the initial set up costs for an active event warning system. The system would allow electronic access to school property for law enforcement in all schools within each county and access to closed circuit cameras from a central location to be used in an emergency.  During committee consideration last week, ICC sought inclusion of non-public schools. Those proposing the bill, including sheriffs, police and emergency departments all confirmed that in the counties where this is used, non-public schools are included. The program is voluntary and requires the schools and sheriff to coordinate for the grant and implementation. It now goes to the Senate for consideration in March. ICC supports the bill.

HB 1643, Firearm matters, authored by Representative Ben Smaltz (R - Auburn), passed the House Public Policy Committee on Wednesday 12 - 0 after being amended. The amendment dealt with an adjustment to gun permit/licensing fees. The bill's other topic addressed allowing guns to be carried on school grounds where a church is connected on the same campus. The bill removes the current prohibition for guns on all school property. The bill would allow persons with gun permits to carry a gun on church property, even those with schools, if the Church allows it. ICC remains neutral as the bill allows the church to determine the policy and to continue to prohibit guns. The bill now goes to House Ways and Means Committee to consider the fiscal implication of change in permit fees.
Bills being heard in committees next week:

HB 1369, Assisted reproduction and gestational surrogacy, authored by Representative Sean Eberhart (R - Shelbyville) and Representative Ryan Hatfield (D - Evansville), will be heard in House Judiciary Committee on Monday morning, February 11. The bill repeals current Indiana law; under current law surrogacy contract are void and unenforceable. Instead, it provides regulation and legal requirements for such contracts. It also increases the compensation and changes provisions regarding testing of donated human sperm and ova. ICC opposes the billas the underlying process of in vitro fertilization is immoral and surrogacy also is wrong. Surrogacy is banned in many countries in part due to the exploitation of women who carry the child. The bill requires that a woman carry the child and then give the child away to the intended parents; the woman is used as a vessel. The whole procedure is a contractual and economic arrangement. HB 1369 has the effect of treating human beings as a commodity both in the in vitro process and through surrogacy. We therefore oppose the bill as dangerous and not in the best interest of society and individuals involved. You can contact your House member here.

Another important prolife bill will be heard on Wednesday, February 13. House Public Policy Committee will consider HB 1211, Abortion matters, authored by Representative Peggy Mayfield (R - Martinsville) and Representative Christy Stutzman (R - Middlebury). The bill prohibits dismemberment abortion unless a physician reasonably believes that performing the abortion is necessary to prevent serious health risks to the mother or save the mother's life. ICC supports the bill. Tell your Representative to support the bill; you can do so  here..

Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee will consider SB 587, Consumer credit, authored by Senator Andy Zay (R - Huntington). ICC is concerned about the effects of this bill as it extends lending ranges and interest rates for loan companies; the effect of the bill would provide a payday loan product for these institutions. Fees and interest would well exceed Indiana's current loan shark law of 72%.  The committee will only hear the bill; no vote will be taken at this time. ICC opposes the bill.

SB 104, Small loans, is still pending in the committee. No vote is scheduled at this time.

In addition to the Update, more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly can be obtained by clicking
 here.  Archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information can be accessed on the ICC website www.indianacc.org