SB 344 is 'bout as dead as it gets, and reaction is hitting the NUVO inboxes. The bill — an attempt to expand civil rights to at least some subset of LGBTQ Hoosiers, was hung up on the inclusion — or, more accurately, the exclusion — of some of those groups, notably transgender citizens.
Here's a recap of what happened from NUVO's Amber Stearns.
Here are the statements we've gotten so far:
Freedom Indiana on Senate Bill 344
INDIANAPOLIS — Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization fighting to update existing Indiana laws against discrimination to include gay and transgender people, released the following statement in response to the news that Senate Bill 344 will die without a vote in the Indiana Senate.
"The fact that Senate Bill 344 won't be heard on the Senate floor is incredibly disappointing given strong statewide support for updating our civil rights law and all the work that has been done thus far at the Statehouse to keep this conversation going.
"This bill and others introduced this session were deeply flawed, but we were working hard to fix Senate Bill 344.
"We've said from the outset that doing nothing was not an option. Today, lawmakers did nothing to help protect LGBT people in our state, but our work is only just beginning.
"The issue of legal discrimination against hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers will not go away, and we will continue to fight this session to update our civil rights law and undo the damage done to our state last year.
"The legislative process is just that — a process. The conversation should continue in the coming weeks and months, not be shut down without a vote on the Senate floor.
Indy Chamber Statement on Senate Bill 344
"Senate Bill 344, while not perfect, was a major step forward in extending protections to LGBT Hoosiers - and ultimately helping Indiana remain competitive for top talent and investment. Despite its failure in the Senate, the expansion of statewide non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity remains squarely on the pro-business agenda. An open and inclusive culture is part of a healthy business climate and we've worked hard to encourage that kind of environment here. Inaction, or any bill that does not advance the issue, only serves to put roadblocks in the way of advancement, a price our economy cannot afford to pay.
We appreciate the leadership of senators David Long and Travis Holdman on this issue and for allowing this thoughtful debate."
- Michael Huber, President and CEO, Indy Chamber
ACLU of Indiana Statement Regarding Senate Bill 344
Indianapolis -Today lawmakers in the Indiana General Assembly failed to allow a vote on a measure, Senate Bill 344, which while fundamentally flawed, would have opened the door for updating Indiana's civil rights law to protect Hoosiers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The following statement may be attributed to Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana:
"It is extremely disappointing that lawmakers did not allow a vote to occur on the Senate floor today regarding an update to our civil rights law, an update that could have finally put to rest the question of equal protection for LGBT people in Indiana. Lawmakers left this crucial issue unanswered despite our tireless efforts to help fix the deeply flawed legislation, and despite strong support across the state from faith leaders, business leaders and public officials interested in moving Indiana forward.
As Hoosiers and as Americans, we need to stand against discrimination and resolve this issue that has divided our state and inflicted real and persistent damage. Doing nothing has never been an acceptable option. Hoosiers need full protection from discrimination now. As important members our community, gay and transgender people need to be able to work, live and take care of themselves and their families without fear of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. We will continue to fight during this legislative session to update our civil rights law and undo the damage done to our state by last year's RFRA."
GREGG: INDIANA STILL NEEDS FOUR WORDS AND A COMMA
INDIANAPOLIS – Today John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor, released the following statement in reaction to Governor Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans ending debate on expanding Indiana’s civil rights statute (Senate Bill 344):
“Never has the intolerance of so few, hurt the reputation of so many. The failure of Governor Pence to provide any leadership to address the crisis he created is inexcusable. Until we update Indiana’s civil rights statute our economy and reputation will continue to suffer. I remain committed to adding four words and a comma to our civil rights code so, together, all Hoosiers can move forward.”
Statement from Indiana Competes on Senate Bill 344
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (February 2, 2016) – The statement below is to be attributed to Peter Hanscom, initiative director of Indiana Competes.
“The Hoosier business community is deeply disappointed by the actions of the Indiana Senate today. From the outset, companies large and small organized together to work with lawmakers to find a sensible solution that provides equal protections for LGBT Hoosiers and tells the true story about the negative effects of RFRA on our state's economy. Indiana’s economic competitiveness and the Hoosier brand have potentially been compromised again. Failure to continue working toward a remedy casts doubt on the sincerity of the Senate’s effort.
“SB 344 was a flawed bill, but it generated the most substantive conversation Indiana has seen regarding anti-discrimination legislation for the LGBT community.
“This issue will not disappear. The economic damage from RFRA still persists as equality plays a critical role in our economic success. A clear majority of Hoosiers support robust protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Business leaders remain committed to passing such protections in this legislative session and call loudly for leadership in the Statehouse to seriously address the issue.”