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Monday, February 24, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - More on: Ways & Means amendment to SB 367 allows state contracts to discriminate on the basis of religion

Updating this ILB post from earlier today, the Indianapolis Star is now reporting [8 PM: here is the link to the latest version of the Star story]:

House Speaker Brian Bosma put the brakes on a measure that would allow some state contractors to discriminate against employees based on religion.

Republican state lawmakers slipped the provision into an unrelated bill during a House Ways and Means Committee meeting earlier today.

But within a few hours, Bosma announced that the measure would be re-committed to the Ways and Means Committee for further discussion.

“There was a lot of confusion about the purpose and intent of the amendment, so I thought it best for it to come out so it wasn’t a distraction,” he said.

Bosma said the measure was intended to address a state contracting issue with Indiana Wesleyan University, but that some people felt it went beyond that purpose.

The change to Senate Bill 367, a property tax bill, would allow any school, college, or religious institution affiliated with a church to hire employees based on religion, even if they have a contract with the state.

Tom LoBianco of the AP reports:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A measure designed to restore Indiana Wesleyan University's workforce training contract with the state unexpectedly raised debate in a General Assembly already energized by this year's gay marriage debate.

Republican State Rep. Eric Turner proposed amending Indiana's civil rights law to allow religious institutions doing business with the state to employ people based in part on their religious affiliation.

Turner filed the measure shortly after the state rejected a longstanding workforce training contract with Wesleyan. A lawyer with the attorney general's office determined language allowing the Christian university to hire in part based on religion violated state law.

The measure narrowly passed the House Ways and Means Committee Monday but Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma spiked the measure shortly after the issue erupted into a heated religion debate on Twitter.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 24, 2014 04:48 PM
Posted to Indiana Government