Hearings Scheduled on Three Pieces of LGBT Legislation Today—First, SB 66 RFRA 2.0, Does Not Advance January 27, 2016

After a 9AM hearing on the first of three LGBT bills on today’s legislative docket, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to bring SB 66 to a vote, meaning the bill will not advance.

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Indiana Competes lauds legislators’ SB 66 decision, which could have cost the state tens of millions of dollars in losses. Also known as RFRA 2.0, this bill would have allowed sweeping religious exemptions that go beyond the original RFRA, creating opportunity for legal discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

After a report released this week attributing $60 million in losses to the passage of RFRA in 2015, business leaders are reinforcing their position in opposition to religious exemptions bills and urging lawmakers to protect LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination.

Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber said:

We’ve been clear from the beginning that [SB 66 RFRA 2.0] does nothing to solve the problem of discrimination against LGBT people, but instead sent the message that some Indiana lawmakers are still not serious about making certain that all people have equal rights. Moving forward, we must focus on real solutions to our real problems.

This afternoon, lawmakers could begin to work towards those “real solutions” in hearings on two LGBT non-discrimination bills—SB 344 and SB 100. However, both bills need significant amendments to ensure comprehensive non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

A joint statement released today with Freedom Indiana details the specifics of each bill and the ways in which businesses and advocates are pushing to have them improved.

In brief, SB 100 would nullify existing local non-discrimination ordinances and prevent the enactment of future local protections. And the bill provides extensive RFRA-style carve-outs and exemptions that would leave hundreds of thousands of LGBT Hoosiers open to discrimination.

SB 344 is a non-starter—it provides zero protections for tens of thousands of transgender people in Indiana, in addition to including many of the same problems as SB 100.

Our own Peter Hanscom said on this afternoon’s hearings:

Moving forward, we expect our state’s elected officials to focus their efforts on eliminating legal discrimination, not enabling it. Later this afternoon, members of the Senate Rules Committee have the opportunity to begin to set things right by amending existing bills to include full protections for the LGBT community – putting an end to legal discrimination against Hoosiers on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Click here to join with more than 400 businesses in urging lawmakers to pass nothing short of comprehensive LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections to ensure a prosperous future for the Hoosier State.