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I-CAN Update for April 6

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A few committees got in one last meeting on Monday morning. In addition, this week brings an end to this phase of the legislative process. Each chamber has completed its review of the other's bills and passed and altered those it found worthwhile. Hence, the remaining weeks are devoted to either concurring with the changes made in the bills or working out compromises regarding the differences made by each body in conference committees.
 
House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle), and sponsored in the House by Representative Martin Carbaugh (R - Fort Wayne). SB 246 addresses concerns raised by Department of Child Services regarding baby safe devices.  The device allows a mother to surrender a baby (within 30 days of birth) should she be unable or unwilling to provide care. Although Indiana's Safe Haven law allows a parent to surrender an infant to emergency personnel; many babies are left to die rather than giving the child to someone. If anonymity is necessary, the baby safe device provides it. The bill authorizes these devices at hospitals, who voluntarily agree to host it.However, because two such devices are operational at firehouses in northwest Indiana, a second reading amendment by Representative Dave Heine (R - New Haven) passed to grandfather them and allow continued operation. The House passed the bill 92 - 4 on Thursday. Senator Holdman is expected to concur with the grandfathered devices.  ICC supports SB 246 as amended.
 
SB 404, Abortion, child abuse, and human trafficking, passed the House 75 - 23 on a bipartisan vote. It now allows judicial bypass without parental notice but does contain parental notice of a bypass request that is denied. This was the topic of debate prior to the vote. Parental rights are protected by requiring that those consenting to an abortion for an adolescent prove parentage. Also, aspects of HB 1128 are included in the bill. These include licensing requirements for abortion clinics providing RU 486 and codification of abortion reports to the state. The abortion pill reversal information (in HB 1128) was removed. The bill returns to the Senate where its author, Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), must decide if she and the caucus accept the changes to the bill. Concurrence is expected. ICC supports SB 404 as amended.
 
The House unanimously accepted (97 - 0) SB 154, Asset limitation for SNAP eligibility. SB 154 updates the asset test for SNAP benefits by increasing the savingsp amount to $5000 and adding prepaid funeral and burial expenses to the exemption list. The bill now returns to its author, Senator James Merritt (R - Indianapolis), to decide if the changes are acceptable. The changes are significant reducing the limit to $5000 from $10,000 and eliminating the self-attestation rather than the submitting multiple documents. While the Senate version is preferable, the House version is an improvement. We should know Senator Merritt's decision next week.  ICC supports SB 154.
 
House also passed SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary institutions, 72 -26. It returns to its author, Senator Michael Young (R - Indianapolis), for concurrence or dissent. The bill was amended in committee and removed much of the objectionable sanctions language. The amendment was vetted with Senator Young and he is expected to concur.
 
The Senate made many changes to HB 1001, Budget bill, before passing it along party lines. Along with the changes made by the Appropriations Committee, over 30 amendments were filed during second reading. Committee changes negatively affected the choice scholarship program; these included a separate line item for the choice scholarship rather than inclusion in the general tuition support budget andelimination of the escalator for the scholarship tax credit program. (It did retain the $3 million increase for the scholarship tax credit.) The line item has the potential effect of capping the program; hence, our opposition. Also, the scholarship tax credit has run out the last two fiscal years and limits the funds available to supplement the choice program. The increase is helpful but may not be sufficient to meet the donations offered. Both topics will be addressed during conference committee in the coming weeks and are important to the long term viability of the choice (voucher) program. HB 1001 passed the Senate 39 - 9.
 
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


 

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Pro Life Committee Art Contest

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The St. Luke Catholic Church Pro Life Committee is sponsoring an Art Contest open to all students grades 3-8 who are registered members or enrolled in the parish school.  The theme for the 2017 Art Contest is Life is a Family Affair.  Besides the love and supportive care given to a new member of the family, this also applies to parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins etcetera.  Think back about all the good things they have done for you.  None of them should be forgotten.  What kind thing could you do for one of your relatives?  Draw your idea on your art entry.
 
You may download an entry form by clicking here.  Applications will also be available in the school office and parish office.  All completed art entries should be turned in to the school office or to the parish office by Friday, April 21 at 4:00 pm.  Please contact Nancy Cummins at gcummins21@comcast.net if you have any questions about the contest.




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I-CAN Update for March 31

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Unless there are last minute morning hearings on Monday, committee hearings ended this week.  All committee reports must pass the floor this coming Monday afternoon.  Committees were busy this week; all bills must pass respective houses by next Thursday.
 
Although the Senate Judiciary Committee did not hear HB 1128, Abortion matters, the House Public Policy Committee amended major parts of it into SB 404, Abortion, child abuse and human trafficking.  It removed the abortion pill reversal portion but included abortion facilities' licensing and reporting information.  In addition, SB 404, as amended excludes the parental notice of all judicial bypass requests.  This feature drew the most opposition and the threat of a court challenge.  Contact your legislator here.
 
The bill still contains provisions that strengthen parental rights and protects adolescents from exploitation.  The proposed law increases the age for reporting child sex abuse to age 16 from age 14 and it requires adults to prove parentage in giving consent for an abortion on a girl younger than 18 years of age.  Because of changes to SB 404, the Senate will have to concur or convene a conference committee to resolve all acceptable changes.

Despite assurances that SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, would be heard; we learned early this week it would not be considered.  Chairman David Frizzell (R - Indianapolis) reported that leadership asked that it not go further and that drug related bills this year would concentrate on treatment and rehabilitation.  This is disappointing because SB 9 would help with addiction and released prisoner rehabilitation.  Because the bill passed the Senate it is eligible for inclusion in another bill in conference committee, however, because of leadership position this is unlikely.
 
As expected, SB 154, Asset limitations for SNAP, was amended and passed House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee 7 - 0.  The amendment reduced the asset limit from $10,000 to $5,000 and only provides prepaid funeral and burial expenses as exempt from the limitation.  The bill is reduced from the preferred Senate version.  The bill is expected to pass the House next week.  House will have to concur or dissent on the changes.
 
House Judiciary Committee amended SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary educational institutions, to eliminate the unnecessary restrictions and penalties for universities.  Universities now must comply with Indiana Code prohibiting sanctuary policies in the same manner as Indiana cities and towns. SB 423 will be on third reading on Monday.  It returns to the Senate for concurrence or dissent.  Senate is expected to concur.

HB 1024, Prayer in schools, passed third reading in the Senate 44-5 today. The bill now goes to the House for concurrence or dissent.
 
HB 1004, Pre-kindergarten education, also passed third reading in the Senate 38-11 today and now goes to the House for concurrence or dissent.  We expect the House to dissent and the bill to be a topic for conference committee consideration.

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

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Clothing Donations Needed for SVdP

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St. Vincent DePaul Experiences Growing Demand

Clothing donations are needed for men, women and children. Because of this demand, St. Vincent DePaul has provided St. Luke with a donation bin to provide clothes and shoes to the poor and homeless.  This bin (pictured) has been placed on the Illinois Street side of the church near the entrance to the Kindergarten and will be periodically serviced by our SVdP Conference members.  The bin will become a semi-permanent structure at St. Luke, as the demand for clothes and shoes keeps growing.

Help St. Vincent DePaul Help the Poor

St. Vincent DePaul is expanding its clothing donation center in order to keep up with the demand.  All types and seasons of clothing and shoes are needed now.  Please consider donations of clothing (new and gently used) and bring them to St. Luke to place them in the bin.  Thank you!



 

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I-CAN Update for March 9

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March 9, 2017
  
 INDIANA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS (1967-2017)  
 
House is now considering Senate bills and Senate is dealing with House bills. Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting daily to listen to state agencies and other state entities such as universities regarding their needs and the House version of the budget, HB 1001. House Ways and Means Committee is also busy considering the Senate's bills regarding appropriations and fiscal matters.
 
Committees have begun hearings but primarily on the less controversial bills. And some committees are awaiting all their assignments before determining which bills to hear and in what order. Hence, this week fewer committees met and fewer bills were heard.
 
Senate Family and Children Services Committee met Monday and unanimously passed HB 1287, CHOICE program, following two technical amendmentsdealing with definitions. It passed second reading on Thursday without amendment. It will be eligible for third reading next week. HB 1287, authored by Representative Ed Clere (R - New Albany), updates the program that helps elderly and disabled persons to access community resources and assists with financial assistance to enable these individuals to remain in their homes and with family. ICC was involved with the initial CHOICE bill which enabled elderly and others remain in their homes rather than the only option of a nursing or long term care facility. ICC supports this update and expansion of the program.
 
Senate Education Committee heard seven bills on Wednesday. Senator Dennis Kruse (R - Auburn), Committee Chair, listens to testimony regarding the bills one week and amends/votes on them the next. Several bills were of interest were on the docket; these included HB 1004, Pre-kindergarten education; HB 1024 Prayer in schools; and HB 1079, School safety.
 
HB 1004 provides an expansion of the On My Way pre-K program by adding five additional counties to the pilot program. It also provides that a child with a pre-K voucher is eligible for a school scholarship (voucher) beginning in kindergarten. The program is supported by ICC because it provides help for low income children and families; and it supports parental choice and provides alternatives from which parents can choose the appropriate and best fit for their child. HB 1004 is substantially different from the Senate version passed last week. In addition, most of those opposed to the bill centered on the voucher connection. Amendments are expected next week to make it conform to the Senate version of the program expansion, SB 376.
 
The  hearing for HB 1024, Prayer in schools, also generated opposition from many who see the bills as either unnecessary because constitutional case law has set parameters for religious expression in public schools; or they are concerned that it will single out minority students to self-identify in order to be excused from classes or events. Some administrators see problems with extraneous cults being able to exploit the law. There is no doubt that implementing religious civil rights and constitutional rights requires prudence and is not simple. Proponents see the bill as providing protection of religious rights that often are denied by school officials in order to err on the side of making sure government does not endorse religion. The bill does codify much of case law established by the courts. ICC supports the law in hopes that it will provide guidance and balance to allow students to express their faith in appropriate manner and protect religious civil rights of everyone.
 
Also heard was HB 1079, School safetyThis bill passed the House 99 - 0; it covers the issues studied and recommended by the interim study committee regarding school employees and child sex abuse. HB 1079, as the Senate bills dealing with this topic, requires extended background checks and child protection index check of all employees every five years, to be conducted on a rotating basis. Catholic schools already have this policy. The bill will be voted on next week.
 
House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee will hear SB 154, Asset limitation for SNAP eligibility. The bill updates the eligibility criteria by increasing the asset limit to $10,000 and exempts child savings and burial arrangements. The increase helps encourage savings to a level of several months' needs for a family of 4. ICC supports the bill.  It is expected that SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, will be heard later this month. 
 
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
 


 

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I-CAN Update for March 2

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March 2, 2017
  
 INDIANA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS  (1967-2017)
 
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


 

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I-CAN Update for Feb 23

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February 23, 2017
  
 INDIANA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS (1967-2017)  
 
All bills had to clear committee this week. In the House, all bills must clear second reading on Thursday and third reading next week Monday. The Senate's schedule is second reading on Monday and third reading on Tuesday. This will conclude the first part of the session and is known as crossover. All bills that pass each chamber will be considered by the other beginning March 6. The process starts over with only those bills that have passed going through committee hearings and floor votes.
 
HB 1128, Abortion matters, was reassigned to committee in order to clarify the amendments added last week. Concerns were raised about requiring ultrasound for determining gestational age of the fetus. Hence, this was removed; another amendment also required redacting identifying information on the abortion report should the report be released to the public. The amendments were acceptable and the bill was voted out of committee 7 -5.  Three amendments were considered on second reading; one would have stripped out the reversal information; it was defeated.  Two amendments were accepted; one to provide a different timeline for abortion reports, the second adds provisions to protect patient privacy. The bill will be on third reading on Monday. ICC supports the bill as it provides helpful information to a woman who regrets her decision and seeks to reverse it.  Contact your representative here.
 
House Education Committee passed (10-2) HB 1024, Prayer in schools, authored by Representative John Bartlett (D -Indianapolis). The title overstates the bill and its effect. The bill primarily affirms a student's right to express religious views in assignments and other activities in appropriate ways; it also provides that religious clubs and religious speakers should be given the same consideration as secular associations and events. It also encourages the study of world religions in high school. Case law has already established this; however, there is inconsistency in application in schools.  The Carmel High School student whose adoption/abortion poster was removed this fall spoke in favor of the bill citing a need for protection of religious expression within the same guidelines as all other organizations. She was eventually able to display the poster after several months with the involvement of attorneys. The bill was amended to provide that schools do have right to limit behaviors that violate citizenship and moral code.  ICC supports the bill as affirming the protection of conscience and religious liberty.

Senate Family and Children Services Committee amended and unanimously passed SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle). The bill's title does not fully explain the content of the bill. A couple of years ago the legislature provided for an additional manner in which a baby may be given up should a parent be unable to provide care. Indiana law allows for parent to surrender a baby to be given to a hospital, police or fire personnel without being charged with neglect of a child. In some other countries another possibility allows someone to surrender a baby in a safe place with anonymity. Hence, Indiana passed such a law, and there are two "baby boxes" at fire stations in northeast Indiana. However, Department of Child Services is concerned about the well-being of the baby and that the surrender should be made to an individual. SB 246, as amended, would allow these baby boxes to be installed at hospitals near emergency rooms.  The baby boxes are wired with alarms to ensure that the baby is attended to immediately. ICC supports the bill as it provides another alternative to save the life of a child.
 
The two boxes in fire houses have not had one baby surrendered but a hotline that is connected to the baby box campaign has received over 1000 calls resulting in 142 referrals to pregnancy centers, 4 adoptions and 6 face to face surrender of the child. The boxes thru the hotline are helping to save lives. Cost of the boxes as well as the hotline and PR campaign is financed by private funds; in particular the Knights of Columbus has been very instrumental.
 
Senator Rodric Bray (R - Martinsville), chairman of Senate Public Policy Committee did not bring SB 155, Capital punishment and severe mental illness, to a vote last week and did not have a vote this week. He believes that due to concerns raised by committee members the bill would not pass and hence held the bill. Several Senators raised concerns regarding inclusion of PTSD and bi-polar diagnoses; they believed these could be misused by defendants. By not taking a vote and holding the bill, it is dead for this session. However, the content or parts of it could be amended into other bills dealing with the same code cites in other bills. While theoretically possible it is difficult and given the topic not likely. It is hoped that over the summer by working with legislators this topic can return next year and address the concerns raised to give it better chance of passage.
 
SB 404, Abortion child abuse and sexual trafficking, authored by Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), passed Senate Judiciary Committee 6 - 4. However, it is expected to be amended on second reading in order to address several concerns raised during testimony regarding court procedures and questions of what constituted aiding and assisting an unemancipated pregnant minor. The ACLU testified that it would file suit regarding this under First Amendment rights and that the notification of the parent may cause an undue burden to access to abortion. An amendment did clarify that aiding and assisting a juvenile to seek a judicial bypass was exempt. The intent of the bill is to address the person who takes the juvenile to the abortion clinic. The other part of the bill requiring ID for parental or guardian consent was not challenged; and raising the age of notification of child abuse to 16 was not challenged by witnesses. ICC supports the bill. Contact your senator here.
 
SB 467, Public safety funding, returned on Tuesday but was drastically amended. All references to safety fees were eliminated. The only provision calls for insurance payments to voluntary fire departments as well as full time/ professional fire department.
 
SB 423, Enforcement of federal immigration laws, authored by Senator Mike Young (R - Indianapolis), passed Senate Corrections and Criminal Code Committee 7 - 2. SB 423 prohibits state universities from establishing policies that restrict their cooperation with federal immigration officials. The bill was prompted because following the presidential election, some students asked universities to declare sanctuary status. However, university officials confirmed that universities have no such policy and will cooperate with all lawful requests by law enforcement agencies. Testimony by many opposed the bill fearing that it would cause further fear and misunderstanding among students. SB 423 was amended to make clear that DACA students were exempt from the intent of the bill. Because the bill is not needed and is perceived by many to be targeting immigrant community. ICC opposes the bill.
 
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


 

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Celebrating 50 Years!

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February 16, 2017
  
 INDIANA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS (1967-2017)  
 
Committees have one more week to hear bills. After next week any bill not heard cannot be considered during this session.  This week many bills moving through committee and on the floor.
 
This week Monday, the House and Senate passed unanimously HCR 23, a resolution congratulating ICC on its 50th anniversary. Bishop Timothy Doherty of Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana and Bishop Charles Thompson of Diocese of Evansville were at the Statehouse for the recognition on the House and Senate floors. Bishop Thompson also offered the invocation to begin the Senate session. Many Catholic legislators of both parties joined Representative Pat Bauer (D - South Bend) in sponsoring the resolution. It can be seen here.   
 
On Wednesday Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 155, Capital punishment and severe mental illness, authored by Senator James Merritt (R - Indianapolis). Testimony regarding prior bills took several hours and the committee ran out of time for a vote on SB 155. Chairman Rod Bray (R - Martinsville), held the bill for a vote next week. Prosecutors and the State Attorney General Office opposed the bill. Mental health organizations, veterans and ICC supported it. Several members of the committee raised concerns that this would eliminate death penalty completely and others believed that this defense could already be raised. However, current law does not provide for this.  SB 155 would allow determination ahead of the trial if severe mental illness was a factor and, if so, the death penalty would not be a punishment. Currently, the determination of mental illness is after the trial and during the sentencing phase of the trial. The bill is specific to specific severe mental illnesses and not widely applicable. Those who opposed suggested a study committee on the topic rather than passing the billNext week, the bill could be amended or voted upon as is. 
 
SB 245, Long term small loans, was defeated 4 - 5 in Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee. Despite an amendment that reduced the rate from 240% APR to 216% APR, and a reduction in total $ loaned and length of the loan, committee members were not convinced that this product was good for Hoosiers.Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle),  recognized that the bill needed more work and offered to work on further compromise on second reading and would not move the bill unless he could get committee support. Two of the four affirmative votes, indicated that they voted yes to give the author an opportunity to work on the bill but not convinced of the merits of it at this time. But five members recognized the effects of these loans on families. In addition to the Catholic Conference, many other organizations opposed the bill; these included Indiana Institute of Working Families, Indiana Community Action Association, United Methodist Church, Christian Legal Aid, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Indiana Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, several veterans groups and pastors from Evangelical Churches and others. The topic could be resurrected and amended in a bill after crossover during March. ICC and the others will be diligent to stop it, if necessary.
 
HB 1128, Informed consent requirements for abortion drugs, authored by Representative Ron Bacon (R - Chandler),  was voted out of the House Public Policy Committee 7 - 6. The bill deals with information regarding the possible reversal of the abortion drug, RU 486; it also codifies the report forms and establishes separate licensure regulations for surgical and medical abortion facilities. The bill will be on second and third reading next week. Amendments to weaken the bill are likely. Bills dealing with abortion are always contentious. ICC supports the bill. You can contact your representative here.
 
Senate Judiciary is expected to hear SB 404, Abortion, child abuse and sexual trafficking, next week. The bill seeks to address the concern of adults taking minor across state lines for an abortion as well as ensuring that a parent is notified when a minor receives an abortion. The bill would require the court to hear evidence from the parent before granting a waiver for the abortion and it creates a penalty if an adult, other than parent, takes minor across state lines.  It also raised the age to 16 (from 14) defining abortion on a minor and that these be reported to Department of Child Services. It raised the level of penalty for health officials if reports are not made. ICC supports this bill.
 
Senator James Buck (R - Kokomo), announced that SB 467, Public safety funding, will return next week; he is preparing an amendment, but at this time there is no word on what he intends to do.
 
After attempts to amend the bill on second reading failed, SB 34 passed the Senate 49 - 1. SB 34 requires background criminal history and expanded child protection index checks of all school employees every five years. SB 298, School employee background checks, passed Senate 48 -0. it deals with the same topic but changes current law for newly hired teachers to be checked within two months of beginning employment rather than the current three months. The House version regarding the same topic, HB 1079, passed earlier this month. The House bill provides for all these issues within one bill. There are minor differences and these will be ironed out after March.
 
SB 276, Early education grant pilot program, was amended in Senate Education Committee and passed 8 - 3. The amendment was significant and calls for additional eligibility for the family and child. In addition to income qualifications the parent, unless home with a child under five years of age, must either be working or seeking employment or attending job training.  Other requirements include taking part in engagement or involvement activities offered by the pre-K program and agreeing to allow the child to participate in an external evaluation to assess kindergarten readiness and measuring developmental and academic progress.
 
SB 154, Removal of asset limits for SNAP benefits, authored by Senator James Merritt, passed Senate Family and Children Services 6 - 1 and passed second reading without amendment. The bill expands eligibility for families. The bill would allow families with meager savings to maintain small savings accounts rather than spend down before eligibility, which only exaggerates the problems and poverty. It is eligible for third reading next week. ICC supports the bill.
 
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
 
 
 



 

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Conscience Protection

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  Today we pass along an important Action Alert from Human Life Action (HLA); it follows:

The Conscience Protection Act of 2017 was recently introduced in both the House and the Senate. This legislation is identical to the bill of the same name passed in the House last July. However, as you know, last year’s bill was never enacted into law. Therefore, with a new Congress in session, we are beginning anew to advocate for conscience protection for those who choose not to participate in abortion.  We are hopeful that with a change in the White House our efforts will meet with success this year.

Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori have written to the members of Congress to urge them to enact this much-needed, common-sense, legislation which will address the deficiencies that block the effective enforcement of federal laws designed to protect the conscience rights of those who provide health care and health care coverage.

The full text of the alert is found here on our website. The alert is also available in Spanish here. We have refined the suggested message so that those who have already cosponsored the bill will get a slightly different message from members who have not yet signed on. The alert requires senders to input their address as the first step so that the appropriate message is selected for each member.

Click here to send your message. 
 
Thank you.


 

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Support House Bill 1004

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HB 1004 would expand early education matching grants, and expand the pre-k pilot program to 10 counties, up from the original five counties. HB 1004 also allows for a grant or pilot recipient to also receive a Choice Scholarship for kindergarten the following year if the family meets the Choice Scholarship guidelines.

If a family enrolls in a school's pre-k program with the help of a pre-k pilot scholarship, that student should not have to change schools for kindergarten in order to access a Choice Scholarship in first grade.

HB 1004 will be heard on the House Floor this week and has many amendments trying to eliminate the proposed pre-k scholarship linkage to the Choice Scholarship in kindergarten. Please email your representatives letting them know you support HB 1004 and want the kindergarten Choice provision kept in the bill.



Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/Ga5CzuVuc74rcmwr885vWw 

 

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