Social issues dominate debate during IN House deadline day

With a deadline looming, the Indiana House debated social issue bills. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As the deadline to pass Indiana House bills loomed, several controversial pieces of legislation were debated.

One of those bills targeted abortion issues. “I’m tired of the old white men in this room talking to women, and the state of Indiana, about what we need to be doing with our bodies,” State Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) said. “It’s not your business. This is not a political event.”

The abortion bill forces doctors to tell patients after they started abortion, that there is a way to reverse it. “I think we’re overstepping the bounds of doctor, patient relationship with everything I have read,” State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) said.

The bill narrowly passed by a 53 to 41 margin. A good thing its authors say because it gives women more options.

“Without that information these women will leave not knowing that they had an alternative, and have to live with their initial decision was that they came to regret for the rest of their lives,” State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) said.

Another bill that grew debate, school prayer. It gives protections to those looking to pray, it allows students to leave, and create a religion course.

“To me, this brings clarification, and when you talk about people, nobody is asking for it,” State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) said. “I have constituents ask for this, that’s why I asked the good representative if I could be on this bill.”

The bill overwhelming passed by an 83 – 12 vote. But some worry if these social issues are going to last if they leave statehouse.

“It will add nothing to anyone’s prayer life,” State Rep. Ed Delaney (D-Indianapolis) said. “All it will do is cause intention, controversy and litigation.”

Of course, the only bill lawmakers have to pass this session was voted on Monday. The House debated a budget bill.

The $31 billion republican proposal focuses on education, and gives Indiana State Police a 12 percent raise, and focuses on fighting the drug epidemic.

“We’re doing so many things in this budget that are helping everyday Hoosiers to get up and go to work every day,” State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) said.

Democrats proposed alternatives last week, including changing the education formula. Their proposals were shot down.

Minority leaders are also concerned with republicans relying on a cigarette tax increase to fund part of the budget.

“We can’t forget that there’s a tax increase in this budget,” House Minority Leader Scott Pelath said. “Call it what you want. Call it a user fee. Call it an assessment, but there is one in here.”

The budget bill passed by a 68 to 29 vote. The House bills will now move to the State Senate.

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