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Monday, February 17, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Indiana Senate vote on HJR-3 planned for Monday"

From Barb Berggoetz's story this morning in the Indianapolis Star:

After hours and hours of testimony, legislative maneuvering and intense lobbying, Monday is expected to be the final day of debate about the now-weakened constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Indiana — at least for this legislative session.

The Indiana Senate is scheduled to vote on House Joint Resolution 3, without the portion that would have banned civil unions, during its session beginning at 1:30 p.m. * * *

But unless there are many last-minute changes of heart, the outcome appears to be clear: The revised HJR-3 will pass the Senate with a majority of Republicans supporting it and nearly all Democrats opposing it. The Senate has 37 Republicans — only two of whom have publicly said they oppose HJR-3 — and 13 Democrats. * * *

If the Senate approves the revised amendment already passed by the House, the three-step process of amending ­Indiana’s constitution restarts.

Amendments must be approved, in the same form, by two separately elected legislatures before going to voters. That means November 2016 is the earliest the measure could be on the ballot. * * *

After the Senate’s expected approval Monday, can a legal case be made that the first sentence of the amendment has passed twice?

Theoretically, Long said, one could say it has passed twice. But he said this premise has never been tested in the courts, and legal opinions from the Legislative Services Agency, a legal advisory body to the legislature, and others suggest they would be “playing with dynamite” to try to put the amendment on the ballot this November.

“Why would we send something to the voters that’s constitutionally questionable?” Long said. “It’s the right thing to do to send it to another vote before the General Assembly. If it passes again, it will be put before the voters in 2016.”

See also this ILB post from Feb. 13th.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 17, 2014 08:52 AM
Posted to Indiana Government