I-CAN Update - April 23, 2015                      pdf version



Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in Indiana regarding state and national matters.


The session is in its final days; dozens of conference committees are meeting to finalize bills and iron out differences or adding bills that failed to pass one or the other chambers during the second phase of the session. Also concurrence motions, agreeing with the changes made by the other chamber, are being approved daily.


SB 329, Disposal of aborted remains, passed concurrence on a bipartisan vote of 41 – 6. SB 329 requires abortion providers to notify the mother of appropriate disposition of the remains and allows the mother to choose a method. ICC supports the bill as its effect is greater recognition, value and respect for the unborn human person. The bill now will go to the Governor for signature.


The House concurred with the changes made in the Senate to HB 1004 , Safety PIN grant program,; the vote was 86- 0. The bill establishes a program for prenatal care. This program was one of Governor Pence’s priorities and now goes to him for signature.  ICC supports the bill.

Budget negotiations continue following a daylong hearing last Friday. While adjustments will be necessary in part due to reduced income projections, there are sufficient funds for government operations and to support modest increases in social needs. Expect to hear outcome of budget discussions after the weekend. Budget must pass by Wednesday, April 29th, the last day of the session.


Conference committee on SB 465, Human services and health matters, convened to consider removal of the drug testing requirement for TANF recipients added in the House. The author of the amendment, Representative Terry Goodin (D - Austin) asked that it be removed as it would not have the effect he intended. Rather, a group of many organizations, including ICC, has agreed to work with him and the legislature to address the growing problem of drug abuse. Also considered at the hearing was the addition of HB 1616, Eligibility of child care vouchers. ICC supports the addition of this bill to SB 465.


Conference committee dealing with SB 532, Human trafficking, promoting prostitution and property forfeiture, met to make a technical change in a drafting error and to consider adding SB 296, Adult entertainment performers. SB 296 passed the Senate 48 – 1, but did not get a hearing in the House; time was cited as the reason. This bill also addresses human trafficking; it places additional restrictions on owners of adult clubs to ensure that performers are of age, and provides other requirements for them to assist in thwarting human trafficking.


Conference committee regarding SB 559, Various criminal law matters, met and discussed including SB 385, Murder sentencing, aggravating circumstances. SB 385 provides that

murders committed on school or college campuses would be considered eligible for the death penalty. This bill was heard but did not pass the House Court and Criminal Code Committee because its provisions were too broad and therefore could be unconstitutional. The conference committee is considering making changes in the language to remove this concern. SB 559 deals with punishment for crimes against police and emergency and safety officials and sentencing for other crimes. ICC is opposed to the inclusion of SB 385 in the bill.


Conference committee process
After the initial conference committee hearings, the committees are recessed and do not necessarily return for a public hearing
. Discussion is held among the members and agreement is reached based on what was discussed in the hearing. Then a report is produced that the four conferees, one from each caucus, sign or agree to after the caucus agrees. Hence, the report may become public only after the conferees agree or there may be hearing to announce what has been agreed to and then signatures affixed.


It will be early next week, when we hear the outcome of the above and other committee reports. On the other hand, most of the bills we are following have completed the process. A few we wanted to die, have and others, while worthwhile, did not make the cut this year. Several others such as SB 329 and HB 1004 above are on their way to the Governor.

In addition to the Update, one can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org




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