March 11, 2005

Several bills important to the Church
still alive in the legislature

By Brigid Curtis Ayer

The Indiana General Assembly has reached the halfway point of this session, and the Indiana Catholic Conference is working for the passage of several bills involving pro-life issues, family life and legislation that could affect parishes.

Senate Bill 268, the cloning ban bill, passed the Senate by a vote of 48-0. The bill prohibits human cloning and provides for adult stem cell research. The Church is opposed to fetal stem cell research, but supports adult stem cell research.

The bill moves to the House of Representatives for consideration, where it is expected to get a hearing.

Senate Bill 76, the abortion requirements bill, passed the Senate 40-8. The bill would require abortionproviders to inform clients of the availability of ultrasound images of the fetus and the ability to hear the baby’s heartbeat.

The bill moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. Its chances in the House are good for a hearing and passage.

Senate Joint Resolution 7, the same-sex marriage amendment, passed the Senate by a 42-8 vote. The measure prohibits same-sex marriage in Indiana.

The bill moves to the House for consideration and is expected to be passed.

House Bill 1083, earned income tax credit, passed the House unanimously. The bill extends Indiana’s earned income tax credit program indefinitely.

The Senate will now consider the bill. It is expected to be passed this year.

Three measures to improve options and access to long-term care for disabled children, individuals and the elderly have moved forward. The goal of these bills is to provide more flexibility for home- and community care rather than only institutional care, which would save the state money.

House Bill 1069, home- and ­community- based services, passed the House 94-0.

House Bill 1326, CHOICE funding, passed the House 94-0.

Senate Bill 615, CHOICE board, passed the Senate 47-1.

There are also several bills that could affect parishes.

Senate Bill 132, the premise liabilitybill, which passed the Senate, wouldreduce civil suits against the Church.

House Bill 1056, a food handlerbill, which passed the House, exempts certain nonprofit groups, including parishes, from having to use certified food handlers for activities when food is served.

Senate Bill 140, the charity gamingbill, which passed the Senate, clarifies and maintains current charity gaming laws.

Four bills, which were on the Indiana Catholic Conference’s priority list, died in the House.

Those bills were an abortion clinic regulation bill, a Medicaid cash and counseling waiver measure, a study committee to address Hispanic issues and a school choice measure.

“While several important bills died this year, the concepts from these bills can be resurrected in existing bills that are still moving through the process,” said ICC executive director Glenn Tebbe. “The process starts over again; existing Senate bills will crossover to the House to be considered by the House and House bills will crossover to the Senate to be considered by the Senate.

“If all goes well, these bills will be assigned to a committee, scheduled for a committee hearing, be passed by the committee, then get a second and third reading for final passage. During this process, almost anything can happen. A bill can be amended, remain the same, die or pass.”

To learn the positions of the Church on a particular bill, issue or public policy matter, check the Indiana Catholic Conference’s web page for policy statements and position papers at

(Brigid Curtis Ayer is a correspondent for The Criterion.) †


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