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Church News

I-CAN Update for March 1

March 1, 2018
 Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in Indiana regarding state and national matters.

Committees have ended; final days for bills to pass each chamber comes Monday and Tuesday next week. Conference committee work begins on Wednesday.

HB 1319, Small loans and unsecured consumer installment loans, did not get a hearing. Senator Mark Messmer (R - Jasper) and the Senate Republican caucus decided not to move the bill or try to amend it. There was not enough support for the bill within the caucus. And because of this, House leadership will not try to find a home for it in another bill during conference committee phase of the session. (A bill that has passed one chamber can be resurrected in conference committee provided conferees and each chamber votes on it again.) This is big victory and we are grateful to all who sent messages in opposition to the House and Senate members. This marks the third year that the industry has tried to expand and it has been stopped. A broad alliance of many groups collectively worked to defeat the bill.

Another positive outcome this week was an amendment unanimously added to SB 419 in House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. Representative Ed Clere (R - New Albany) added an amendment to address a problem experienced by DACA youth. Until recently when application forms were revised, DACA youth after proper training and meeting other qualifications were allowed to be certified or licensed for particular jobs/careers. The state application form was changed to require citizenship for license or certification; because DACA was not listed, DACA recipients were denied. DACA does provide work eligibility under federal law; state law needed to be changed. The amendment does that. Governor Holcomb among many others supports the change. ICC supports the bill. It is eligible for third reading next week.

SB 203, Crimes resulting in loss of fetus, authored by Senator Aaron Freeman (R - Indianapolis), passed 96 -0 on Tuesday. The bill provides for enhanced sentencing should a fetus be killed during a crime against the mother. Current Indiana law allows for this if the fetus has reached viability. SB 203 changes the law to provide a crime at any point during pregnancy. This recognizes the child in the womb and that life begins at conception. The House made a few minor word changes in the bill. We expect the Senate to concur and the bill to be passed on to the Governor next week.

SB 340, Regulation of abortion, passed the House 67 - 26. The bill also includes SB 123, Newborn safety devices at fire departments. The primary focus of the bill is to update abortion regulations regarding abortion clinics and require annual inspections. It also added to the informed consent requirements that women be told that if she cannot care for the infant, it could be surrendered at firehouses via the safety device; hence, SB 123 became germane to the bill. The bill returns to the Senate and it is expected that Senate will concur with the additions and changes made in the House. 
SB 65, Instruction on human sexuality, passed the House 69- 27. The bill was modified in the House and no longer requires parents to opt into the class. It does provide parents two opportunities to either opt in or opt out of the instruction after receiving information about the materials and curriculum and an opportunity to inspect the materials used. If the parent does not respond the student remains in the class. It is likely that this will go to conference committee. ICC supports the bill.

HB 1203, Qualified egg banks, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7 -1. The bill expands the source of gametes (ova) for use in IVF.  Committee members were sympathetic to persons who cannot conceive naturally and desire a family. ICC opposed the bill on moral grounds in addition to the potential for abuse and the commodification of human beings by choosing from among a variety of donors. It will be on second reading on Monday and third on Tuesday next week. 

SB 33, Houses of worship and firearms, has received lots of attention19 amendments were filed. Current law prohibits guns on school grounds, except for authorized persons. Churches can authorize or prohibit guns on its property. Where churches and schools share the same campus, guns are prohibited. The bill's purpose is to allow persons, with a permit to carry a gun, to have a gun on these campuses during non-school activities, provided the church approves. Amendments are quite diverse; one attempts to change the bill to an earlier House bill that did not get a hearing in the Senate. Others reduce further the restrictions on gun owners and access to guns. Consequently, the bill was not called for second reading and dies for lack of movement to third reading. 

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