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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Pence Seeks RFRA Followup Making Clear Indiana Does Not Discriminate"

Eric Berman of WIBC has just posted a comprehensive story covering Gov. Pence's press conference this morning and the responses of Democratic leaders Rep. Pelath and Sen. Lanane. Here from the conclusion:

The governor also won't say whether the followup bill will clarify the status of local ordinances in Indianapolis and other cities which offer such protections. Opponents charge the RFRA law overrides those ordinances, while supporters say they're misreading the law. Pence says his sole focus is on making clear that discrimination won't be tolerated.

Pelath and Lanane endorse the call to add gays and lesbians to the civil rights law, but they say it should be in addition to repeal of RFRA, not instead of. Lanane says Democrats would "take a look at" the proposal. But he says he has doubts about the religious-freedom bill even if protections for gays and lesbians were ironclad. He questions whether the law and its federal and state counterparts adequately define what constitutes religious belief. And he objects to Indiana's inclusion of protections for businesses, along the lines of last year's Hobby Lobby decision from the Supreme Court.

With the wording of the followup bill still undetermined, Pence's goal of passing a fix by the end of the week appears unlikely. Legislators' only remaining session day this week is Thursday -- it would require a two-thirds vote in both houses to suspend normal procedures and pass the bill in a single day. Calling the House and Senate into session Wednesday would conflict with committee hearings on other bills. And legislators had already announced a four-day Easter weekend, because out-of-town legislators are losing their hotel rooms to Final Four visitors.

Pelath and Lanane say unless Republicans change their mind and endorse repeal, the process shouldn't be rushed. Pelath says the followup bill needs careful review to ensure it doesn't have to be fixed a second time.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 31, 2015 03:10 PM
Posted to Indiana Government