Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in Indiana regarding state and national matters.
General Assembly is in full motion; bill filing deadlines have passed and committees are meeting; chairs have to decide which bills to hear. Some committees have several dozen bills but a couple of times to meet; hence, many bills will not get heard, which is often good. House committees have until January 30th for committee reports to be adopted. Senate committees have until February 1st for the report to be accepted.
SB 123, Newborn safety devices, passed the Senate Civil Law Committee 6 - 1. The bill allows fire stations to install and monitor the newborn devices should a parent, within 30 days following birth, surrender the child if unable to care for the child. It awaits third reading next week. ICC supports the bill.
SB 11, Eligibility for SNAP, was heard and passed 7 - 0 in Senate Family and Children Services Committee on Thursday. The bill removes the lifetime prohibition for persons who were convicted of drug crimes. Many employers refuse to hire them, which contributes to recidivism. When jobs are available, often these are temporary or part time. Hence, SNAP assistance is tangible and needed. This benefit will go a long way to assisting persons to maintain themselves and their dignity. ICC supports the bill.
HB 1157, End of life options, authored by Representative Matt Pierce (D - Bloomington), would permit doctor assisted suicide if adopted. ICC is opposed to the bill; and we are happy to report that Representative Tom Washburne (R - Evansville), Chair of Courts and Criminal Code Committee to which the bill was sent will not hear the bill. It is dead for the session. Similar bills were filed in the House and Senate last session. At the request of ICC, chairs of the respective committees did not hear the bills. But letting your Representative know that you oppose the bill is important to counter the efforts by the proponents that this is good for Indiana. Locate your Representative here .
Senator Chip Perfect (R - Lawrenceburg), Chair of Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee will not hear SB 325, Small loan finance charges. SB 325 would limit payday loans to 36% interest, which includes of all fees. We are disappointed as limiting the harm to families caused by payday loans is one of ICC goals for the session.
On the House side, HB 1319, Uniform consumer credit code, authored by Representative Martin Carbaugh (R - Fort Wayne), is anticipated to be heard January 24th in the House Financial Institutions Committee. The bill continues payday loans and adds new loan opportunities for payday lenders. Current payday loans are up to $600 with interest rates over 300% APR; the new loan would be for amount between $500 -$1500 with interest and fees that calculate up to 200 % . The bill contains many other changes regarding installment loans of up to$50,000. House amendments are being proposed; HB 1319 would only contain the new payday lenders' product. ICC opposes the bill; taking advantage of persons and usury violates the seventh commandment and contrary to the common good.
SB 340, Regulation of abortion, authored by Senator Travis. Holdman (R - Markle), updates Indiana's abortion law regarding chemical abortions and clinics and data collections. The provisions in the bill were included in a House bill passed last year but not heard in the Senate. Updates to Indiana law include requiring annual inspections of abortion clinics, updating licensing requirements and codifying the report information to the Department of Health. In addition, due to increase of chemical abortions and often resulting complications, hospital emergency rooms will be asked to provide reports of these complications. ICC supports the bill as it seeks to protect women and promote the common good. The bill will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee later this month.
SB 189, K-12 funding and HB 1001, K-12 funding appropriations, authored by Senator Ryan Mishler (R - Bremen) and Representative Tim Brown (R - Crawfordsville) respectively, each address a short fall in funding from last year's biennium budget. More students enrolled than estimated. Because all K-12 funding is on the same line item, funding for school scholarships (vouchers) is also affected by the shortfall. Hence, adding appropriation to cover it benefits all students. ICC supports the change for all involved. HB 1001 was heard in House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday; Senate Appropriations Committee heard SB 189 on Thursday. Both passed committee unanimously.
In addition to the Update, one 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