Weekly Statehouse Update: Gender Non-Binary State IDs, AG Hill Disciplinary Complaint

Mar 22, 2019

Lawmakers made it harder for Hoosiers to change the gender on their driver's license. A House panel revived gun regulation changes. And Attorney General Curtis Hill's law license is in jeopardy.

Here's what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

BMV Gender Non-Binary Option

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles recently gave Hoosiers a non-binary gender option on state IDs. In response, House Republicans crafted new rules for gender changes at the BMV.

Now, Hoosiers would have to get their birth certificates amended first, which requires a court order. Currently, a gender change on state IDs only requires a doctor's note.

Guns In Churches On School Property

A House committee revived language that would allow guns to be brought into churches that are on school property. The provisions let the property owner – either the school or the church – decide whether that's allowable.

The legislative language stalled at the session's halfway point over concerns about the definition of school property, which has since been simplified.

Attorney General Curtis Hill Disciplinary Complaint

And the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Attorney General Curtis Hill over his alleged groping of four women last year. The commission says Hill's conduct violated the state's rules of professional conduct for attorneys.

The Indiana Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether Hill will face punishment. That could include suspension of his license – which would make him ineligible to continue serving as Attorney General.

Appointed Superintendent Bill

Lawmakers in the Senate gave final approval on a bill Tuesday to make Indiana's next schools chief an appointed one. Now the bill heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk for his signature.

The General Assembly changed state law in 2017 to replace Indiana's elected superintendent of public instruction, with an appointed education secretary by 2025.

The move came shortly after current Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick took office, and left room for her to run for a second term. But McCormick announced last year she won't seek re-election, prompting lawmakers to speed up the timeline.

Gaming Bill Testimony

A House committee took hours of testimony Wednesday on a bill that makes major changes to Indiana's gaming industry.

The bill allows a Gary casino to move to a more desirable location in the city, creates a new Terre Haute casino, and legalizes sports wagering.

Much of the discussion is unchanged from the debate that's taken place over the last few months. In favor are leaders from Gary and Terre Haute. Opposed are those from communities with casinos around Gary, who worry about the negative impact on revenue.

Abortion Ethical Exemption Sent To Governor

Legislation to allow Indiana pharmacists to refuse to provide abortion-inducing drugs is a step away from the governor's desk.

Existing law already allows physicians and hospital employees to refuse to provide abortion services if they have ethical or religious objections. The new bill expands that to nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists.

'Stand Your Ground' Expansion

Supporters of a bill expanding Indiana's Stand Your Ground law insist it won't encourage vigilante justice.

The state's Stand Your Ground law offers people immunity from criminal charges if they use reasonable force to defend themselves, their property, or another person. Proposed legislation would create that immunity in civil court, too.

Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Centers

A bill to create three comprehensive addiction recovery centers is making its way through the Statehouse. The proposal would fund centers in northern, central and southern Indiana and address numerous components involved in recovery.

Care may include detoxification, a place to live while in recovery, medication-assisted treatment, counseling and outpatient services. The state would set aside grant funding to establish the three centers. All would need to be accredited.