The Indiana General Assembly is underway, and I am at the Statehouse this morning testifying on a religious freedom bill.
Each session of the Indiana General Assembly sees over 1,000 bills filed for consideration during the three-to-four-month term. Here are a few bills we are watching that you may want to track online (www.in.gov/legislative) or contact your legislator with your view. (My opinion of some of these will be obvious.)
Senate Bill 32 is an unconstitutional effort of the far left to ban speech regarding human sexuality. Senator J.D. Ford’s bill is a gag order on therapists and clients who seek counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion. The truth is that thousands of people have chosen to leave homosexuality. This fact undermines the civil rights and genetic arguments homosexual activists have tried to make in equating their behavior to skin color, race, or the civil rights movement. Several cities and states have passed this kind of legislation, but some courts have struck them down as a violation of free speech and the freedom of association. Passing SB 32 would be an invitation to a lawsuit at state expense.
Senate Bill 33 is also authored by Senator J.D. Ford. It requires K-12 public, charter, and state accredited private schools to hire an “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer” who would oversee inclusivity and diversity training and make reports on this politically correct stuff. Indiana already has the 47th highest state ranking for the number of non-teaching and administrative staff. The reality is that while there are very important non-teaching staff, like principals, janitors or cafeteria cooks, these positions compete with the money pool used for teachers’ salaries.
Senate Bill 34 is authored by Senator Jim Tomes concerning rioting and looting. It states that a person convicted of rioting is not eligible for employment by the state or a local unit of government; and is not able to receive certain state and local benefits. Senator Tomes drafted his bill after numerous cities were looted and burned and public property was vandalized last summer. It will be interesting to see how Democrats view this legislation following the riot last week in Washington, DC.
Senate Bill 49 caught our attention because our credit card processor recently blocked our ability to do donations, claiming we had violated their policy due to content on our website. (This was false.) Discover Card also refused to allow donations to go to us.
SB 49, by Senator Tomes, says it is “an unlawful discriminatory practice for a financial institution or a governmental entity to refuse to do business with, or otherwise discriminate against, a person because the person supports or is engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition.” This is a bill on viewpoint discrimination which is a growing problem in America.
Senate Bill 74 is the bill I am testifying in support of today. This bill by Senator Dennis Kruse states that is it not lawful for an employer to require, as a condition of employment, an employee to be vaccinated if that would violate the employee’s religious beliefs or conscience. I am not against vaccinations. Yet, our state recognizes religious exemptions in this area. That exemption should not be erased out of fears of Covid-19.
Senate Bill 75 is an interesting bill involving the separation of powers. Authored by Senator Jim Buck, it states that any order, rule, or edict of any kind from the executive branch or the judicial branch that invades the constitutional or lawful authority of the legislative branch is null and void until approved by the General Assembly. This may be a different approach to the thought that the Governor’s nine months of 30-day emergency orders are an overreach.
Senate Bill 256 authored by Senator Aaron Freeman is a strong reign-in of a Governor’s emergency powers cutting an executive order from 30 to 7 days unless otherwise allowed by statute. It requires the General Assembly to convene by the 6th day and approve or disapprove an extension of the order past the 7th day.
Senate Bill 263 is a response to churches being treated differently during Covid than a local Wal Mart, for example. Senator Eric Koch’s bill prohibits the state from imposing restrictions on a religious organization that are more restrictive than the restrictions imposed upon other businesses and organizations that provide essential services to the public.
Senate Bill 289 by Senator Tomes requires that a birth certificate must record the names of a child’s biological parents. Homosexual activists have sued to change this to allow two women, for example, to be both listed as the child’s parents, even though neither are the father and it is against the law to name as father, a man who is not the child’s father because of the parental legal obligations involved.
Read about this here: https://thefederalist.com/2020/12/10/no-recognizing-the-rights-and-obligations-of-biological-fathers-is-not-anti-gay/
House Bills 1026, 1028 & 1046 are all bills authored by Rep. Jim Lucas to legalize marijuana to one degree or another. HB 1117 is a legalization bill by Rep. Heath VanNatter. HB 1154 is one authored by Rep. Vanessa Summers. SB 233 is another by Sen. Karen Tallian. These proposals would be bad for families, schools, employment, addiction issues, and highway safety.
Read more about this here: http://afain.net/factsheets/marijuana_social_costs.pdf
House Bill 1073 would help home school families with issuing a recognized diploma for their graduating high school student. It is authored by Rep. Tim Wesco.
House Bill 1133 authored by Rep. Pat Boy, requires all Indiana elections be conducted by mail starting in 2024. Anyone who supports this is either an idiot, or was born after November 2020.
House Bill 1205 by Rep. Wendy McNamara addresses the problem of law enforcement not enforcing the law during a riot. It also includes several increased penalties for rioting, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
Senate Bill 1213 by Rep. Sue Errington is the same as Senate Bill 32.
House Bill 1310 is an abortion bill authored by Rep. J.D. Prescott. It states that a should the US Supreme court overturn Roe v. Wade or the abortion regulation case of Pennsylvania v. Casey, an immediate session of the Indiana General Assembly shall be called in order consider legislation to further regulate abortion as allowed by the court ruling.
House Bill 1323 is a zoning bill that allows a microbrewery to locate close to a school, church, or daycare unless the school or church objects. It is authored by Rep. Brad Barrett.
House Bill 1366 is a sex education bill authored by Rep. Sue Errington, a former Planned Parenthood director. This bill is an attack on any abstinence-based sex education program.
House Bill 1370 is a free speech bill by Rep. Jack Jordan. It ties state funding to allowing academic and speech freedoms on Indiana college campuses. This is an important and much-needed bill as liberals across our nation move to squelch conservative speech everywhere and every way they can.
Only a little over half of the filed bills have been made public, and these are just a few we are watching. You can review any of these bills and find your legislator at the Indiana General Assembly web site here: www.in.gov/legislative.