It has been a busy and chaotic week over here at our house, so I appreciate the other contributors picking up and posting all week to cover for my lack of posts. One thing I wanted to make sure made it on the site was a quick roundup of news out of the Indiana Statehouse this week.
If you're not familiar with some of the bills discussed here, use the search box on the left or the tags at the top to get more info.
SJR-7 - Marriage Discrimination Amendment
I've heard that SJR-7 will get assigned to a House committee sometime the first week of March. Rep Eric Turner (R-Marion) and Rep Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) will be the sponsors in the House. The key to the amendment being killed or amended is Speaker of the House Pat Bauer. If you haven't already e-mailed Rep Bauer (and even if you already have!), be sure to send him a message stating your opposition to SJR-7. It doesn't have to be fancy - in fact short means it has a better chance of being read!
SB 65 - Definition of "family or household member"
Sen Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield) is up to his old tricks again. Follow the logic: First he tries to get public funding taken away from universities that offer domestic partner benefits. When that didn't float, he introduced his version of the marriage discrimination amendment - which conveniently will also outlaw domestic partner benefits for publicly funded institutions. Senator Hershman denies that this will happen, but a similar amendment in Michigan did just that - even though the same scholars testifying on behalf of SJR-7 also testified there and in both states they denied this will happen. When Ohio's issues with domestic violence laws under their amendment were pointed out, Hershman and his "scholars" denied that this would happen in Indiana. Quietly though, Hershman has stripped a "Vehicle Bill" of it's language and inserted a definition of "family or household member" that domestic violence laws can refer to.
Synopsis: Amends the definition of "family or household member" in IC 35-41-1-10.6 to include (1) a person who lives or formerly lived in the same household as the other person or (2) is the present spouse of a former spouse of the other person. Amends definition of domestic battery to provide that the offense is committed if the prohibited behavior results in the bodily injury of a family or household member of the person engaging in the behavior.
SB 199 - Gay adoption
Senator Jeff Drozda (R - Kokomo) apparently thought that Sen Hershman was stealing his thunder as "Most Homophobic Legislator of the Year." Not only has Drozda signed on to SJR-7 as a co-author, now he's introduced an amendment to SB 199 that would ban gay adoption. The original bill deals with adoption issues at least, so it's not a bait-and-switch like Hershman's... Drozda's amendment isn't going anywhere more than likely. Even if it made it through the Republican-controlled Senate, it would die in the House. I doubt even the Republicans would want to look that hateful and biased with everything else LGBT on the menu looking rather rotten.
HB 1459 - Hate crimes
Author Greg Porter (D - Indianapolis) decided not to pull HB 1459 down for second reading after Rep Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville) attached an anti-abortion amendment to the bill. Walorski (who has one of they biggest cases of female gay-face possible) is a long-time lackey of Eric Miller's right wing agenda. She tacked this on and demanded a debate about it solely as a way to kill the bill. With only the far right wingnuts up in arms over a hate crimes bill - "homosexuals and crossdressers!" - I'm sure this isn't the last we'll see of this issue. Porter is resourceful, he'll find a way to bring it back.
HB 1716 - Civil rights
Yeah, well. It's not going to be. Rep Jeb Bardon (D - Indianapolis) authored the bill and Rep David Orentlicher (D - Indianapolis) signed on as a co-author, but it never got a hearing. Always the dark horse of this year's LGBT-positive bills, it looks like HB 1716 is down for the count.
That just about does it from my end. Know anything more than what I posted? Leave it in the comments and help everyone to stay connected.