Sunday, January 31, 2016

SB344 Passes Committee Vote; Will Be Debated and Voted on in Senate

A bill that attempts to balance the civil rights lesbian, gay and bi-sexual individuals with religious freedom, SB344, passed out of a Senate committee last week (7-5) and will be debated in the full Senate this week. The deadline for the bill to be passed to the House for consideration is Wednesday. You'll note that rights for transgender individuals were not included; the bill calls for a study committee to consider those issues. Despite criticism from both proponents and resisters of LGBT rights, Senate President Pro-Tempore David Long, feels SB 344 marks major progress:
“Senate Bill 344 is a major step forward and an amazing proposal for change in Indiana. It fixes the issue of balance between strong religious freedom protections and civil rights protections for the LGB community and considering where we were a few years ago this is a big step in the right direction for Indiana.”
Meanwhile House Majority Leader Brian Bosma says whether the bill is heard in the House will be determined not by the chair of a committee, which is the usual practive, but by a caucus of all the Republican members. Bosma has also specualted on whether that any bill could meet the requirements of Governor Pence, who indicated in his State of the State speech that he would not sign any bill that did not completely protect religious rights. Bosma said, “I think [Pence's position] does make passage more difficult because I’m not certain there is a solution on the table that meets the requirements that the governor indicated he is looking for.”

You can learn more about the status of SB344 here.