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Statehouse Update: LGBT Rights, Road Funding, Deer Hunting

Governor Mike Pence this week made as many headlines for what he didn’t say in his State of the State speech as what he did say. And major parts of Pence’s agenda advanced with no resistance.

Governor Pence in his State of the State finally commented on the LGBT rights/religious freedom debate, after months of putting off questions.  But his statement still left many wondering where he stands on specific proposals.  Pence’s remarks did give more weight to protecting religious liberty than providing LGBT Hoosiers with protection from discrimination, even questioning whether the two could or should coexist.  Religious conservatives hailed the governor’s comments; LGBT rights advocates decried them.  And lawmakers are split on what impact Pence’s speech will have on the legislative debate.

Two Senate committees this week advanced major road funding legislation.  Pence’s plan to spend half a billion dollars on state road work cleared committee, while the Senate GOP’s four hundred million dollar local roads plan went to the Senate floor.

And a Senate committee approved a bill to regulate high fenced deer hunting after years of failing to address the industry.  The measure mandates things such as fence height, total acreage, and reporting escape and disease.  Environmental groups say the restrictions aren’t strict enough; hunting organizations oppose the industry entirely.  For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Brandon Smith at the Statehouse.

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