RFRA, Civil Rights Back in Statehouse Spotlight

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Lawmakers will consider three bills today. Lawmakers will consider three bills today.

Indiana lawmakers will take up what will likely be the most hotly-debated issue of the session today at the Statehouse. The House and Senate will consider multiple bills concerning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and expanding civil rights protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The debate comes in the wake of Visit Indy saying the fallout from RFRA cost the city around $60 million in convention business.

proposal from Senator Mike Young (R-35) that would have repealed RFRA died in the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. Our partners at WTHR-TV in Indianapolis report committee chair Brent Steele (R-44) called the timing of the bill "incorrect." He said the bill had been mischaracterized in the overall debate over civil rights.

Opponents called the idea "Super RFRA," saying it would also eliminate the so-called legislative fix put in place last year and allow for religious discrimination.

Another bill, SB 100, calls for statewide LGBT civil rights protections, but also offers provides protections for "religious liberty and conscience." A third bill, SB 344, calls for protections based on sexual orientation and calls for a study of civil rights issues related to gender identity.

The two remaining civil rights bills will be heard beginning at 4:00 p.m.

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