2015 Indiana General Assembly

Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

After a week consumed by a fix to Indiana‘s religious-objections law, legislators get back to other business next week.

Thursday is the deadline for the House and Senate to bring bills to the floor. Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley will unveil the Senate version of the budget that day, and the Senate is also expected to move a common construction wage repeal forward.

There may also be action on bills which have already reached the floor, but stalled there while leaders focused on finding a solution to the RFRA issue.

Easter, Final Four Shortening Timeline To Fix RFRA

Apr 1, 2015
Frankie Leon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/16671230120

If Statehouse Republicans hope to meet Governor Mike Pence’s end-of-the-week deadline fix the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, they’ll have to make those fixes Thursday.

That’s because the Easter holiday weekend and the culmination of the NCAA basketball tournament Monday mean lawmakers are about to take a four-day weekend.

House Speaker Brian Bosma maintains the bill never allowed discrimination, but says new language will clarify that point.

Senate President David Long says the language is still in discussion and nothing has been decided.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants to see legislation on his desk by the end of the week that clarifies the intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA.

The governor says RFRA is meant to protect people’s religious liberties and does not allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.

“No one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe," Pence says.

Pence says much of the criticism Indiana has been receiving is because of misunderstanding about what the law actually does.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Republican leaders announced Monday they will introduce legislative language to clarify that Indiana’s religious freedom bill will not allow discrimination against anyone.  But Democratic leaders Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) say full repeal of the law must be the first step…with the second being legislation to specifically protect LGBT Hoosiers through the state’s anti-discrimination law.  But Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says with only four weeks left in the session, now isn’t the time for that debate:

Legislators Criticize New Energy Efficiency Plan

Mar 26, 2015
Claudio Schwarz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/purzlbaum/131322462/

 Indiana is on the brink of enacting a new energy efficiency plan to replace one repealed last year.

The House has approved a bill requiring electric companies to submit plans every three years for how they‘ll encourage more efficient energy consumption.

Utilities and Energy Chairman Eric Koch (R-Bedford) says the state had some form of efficiency requirement from 2004 until this year, when Governor Mitch Daniels‘ "Energize Indiana" program was formally abolished.