Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Diet HJR-3 Passes Indiana Senate Rules Committee

House Joint Resolution 3 passed out of the Indiana Senate Rules Committee to the full Senate unchanged from how it passed the House.

If amendments restoring the second sentence of HJR-3 can be avoided on the floor of the full Senate, the resolution will not appear on the ballot in 2014 or 2015.

Yesterday's decision came after a great deal of passionate testimony on both sides, three hours in total, which rehashed many of the same arguments for and against the resolution.

The big showdown on the resolution now gets pushed to Thursday where the big debate on the floor will be whether or not to put that second sentence back into the bill.  All it takes is for one of the 50 Senators to adopt it and 26 members of the Senate to support it.  The Senate is currently split at 37-13 with the Republicans holding the majority.  In 2011, HJR-3, then known as HJR-6, passed the Senate 40-10 gathering a few Democratic votes.

The Indianapolis Star says that the measure's entire future is up in the air in the Senate as several Republicans have said they will vote against the resolution.  I can't imagine that the Senate won't pass one version of the bill or another, but the Star writers are more attuned to the Senate than I am.

If I were a betting man, I bet the stripped down version of the resolution passes the Senate without the second sentence.  That would be at least a partial victory for opponents of HJR-3 because another separately-elected General Assembly would have to pass the resolution through both the House and Senate again in 2015 or 2016.  A statewide vote would not happen until 2016.

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