2015 Session

2015 Session
6:20 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Conservative Groups Oppose New RFRA Language

Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law last Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Some of the staunchest supporters of Indiana’s religious freedom bill say the “clarification language”  crafted by Republican legislative leaders will destroy religious protections the controversial law created. The legislative fix comes after concerns the  measure would be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

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Opinion - Politics
11:00 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Homeowner Association Bill Could Limit Political Activity

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

On March 23rd, the Committee on Elections in the Indiana Senate voted 6-0 to send House Bill 1236 to the full Senate for consideration.  Back on January 27th, HB 1236 cleared the Indiana House of Representatives on a vote of 70 to 28.  These are indicators that this bill will become a law. 

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Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Pence Promises Legislative Clarification for RFRA

Gov. Mike Pence gave a statement and took questions from the press on RFRA Tuesday in Indianapolis.
Credit Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants to see legislation on his desk by the end of the week that clarifies the intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The governor says RFRA is meant to protect people’s religious liberties and does not allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.

“No one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe,” Pence said.

He added that much of the criticism Indiana has been receiving is because of a misunderstanding about what the law actually does.

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Politics & Government
2:58 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Bosma, Long Say RFRA Clarification is in the Works

Senate Pres. Pro-Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (right) say the intent of RFRA was never to allow discrimination. The legislative leaders spoke Monday morning.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republican legislative leaders say they want to help turn the tide against the backlash that’s erupted over Indiana’s so-called religious freedom bill.  They say that will involve making it clear the law does not allow discrimination.

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Politics & Government
4:03 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Pence Signs Controversial RFRA Measure into Law

Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday. Opponents worry the measure could be used to sanction discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers and others.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says concerns about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act come from a misunderstanding of the law, for which he at least partly blames the media.  Pence signed the controversial bill into law Thursday.

RFRA establishes a judicial test that courts will use to decide when the government can infringe on a person’s religious beliefs and practices. 

Many groups say they’re concerned it will be used to sanction discrimination, particularly against LGBT Hoosiers. 

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Committee Decision Delays Implementation of "Baby Boxes"

Indiana Rep. Casey Cox (left) and Sen. Jim Merritt (right) spoke before an Indiana Senate committee Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Senate lawmakers Wednesday added a hurdle to a bill that would have allowed newborn incubators, or “baby boxes” to be placed at Safe Haven sites.  The legislature would now have to pass another bill next year to authorize the boxes.

Baby boxes are installed into the walls special locations – like hospitals and police and fire stations. They’re meant to provide mothers an extra layer of anonymity when dropping off unwanted newborns. 

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Politics & Government
5:36 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

RFRA Passes House, Heads to Governor's Desk

The Indiana House overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Monday. Gov. Mike Pence says he will sign the bill into law.
Credit Andrew Downs / For WBOI News

The Indiana House Monday approved a bill that supporters call a shield protecting people of faith.  But opponents believe the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, commonly known as RFRA, a license to discriminate.

RFRA creates a judicial test for Indiana courts that ensures a government can only restrict religious practices if it has a compelling reason and does so in the least restrictive way. 

Supporters, such as Inglefield Republican Representative Tom Washburne, say the bill helps ensure Hoosiers live in harmony with each other.

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

RFRA Debate Raises Questions About LGBT Civil Rights Protection

Indiana civil rights law does not currently bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which some lawmakers want to change.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that’s being debated in the Indiana legislature is sparking another debate: whether state law should protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

RFRA’s supporters say the proposed law only ensures the government can’t restrict a person’s religious practices unless it has a compelling interest to do so. They believe the state’s civil rights statute qualifies as a compelling interest. 

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Bill Would Include Guard, Reserves in Military Financial Protections

A bill currently in the Indiana Senate would give Indiana National Guard members and reservists the same financial protections as other servicemembers.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Legislation approved by a Senate panel Tuesday aims to bolster financial protections for active duty National Guard members and reservists.

The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act doesn’t necessarily extend to members of the Indiana National Guard or reservists.  And the Attorney General’s office made a state-level protection bill part of its agenda for the session. 

The measure helps protect Guard members and reservists who’ve been on active duty for at least 30 days from foreclosures and default. 

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Politics & Government
4:42 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Senate Approves Experimental Drugs for Terminally-Ill

The Indiana Senate approved a bill Tuesday allowing experimental treatments to be given to some terminally-ill patients.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Senate lawmakers unanimously approved the Right to Try bill Tuesday that its sponsor says will give “hope to the hopeless.”

The Right to Try bill would allow terminally-ill patients to receive experimental drugs as long as they meet three standards.  

Valparaiso Republican Senator Ed Charbonneau, the bill’s sponsor says, first, the medications must have passed through the first of three phases in the FDA’s approval process.

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