INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many religious organizations have had to alter their services to the public. One bill making its way through the Indiana Statehouse aims to limit the restrictions that can be imposed on religious activities, deeming those activities ‘essential’.
The bill limits the ability, by the state or a political subdivision, to impose restrictions on a religious organization if they are not being imposed on other businesses and organizations that provide essential services to the community.
A religious organization will be permitted to comply with a neutral and generally applicable health or safety requirement, such as capacity limits or a mask mandate, as long as the requirement is allowed under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law.
The bill is currently under review in a House committee after passing through the state Senate in February.
Another bill now making its way through the House addresses police officers and use of force, specifically the firing of warning shots and methods of self defense.
The bill would ban state and local law enforcement officers from firing warning shots, but does make an exception for officials working at penal facilities in the case of an attempted escape by an inmate.
The bill also stops a law enforcement agency or merit board from taking adverse employment action, such as suspension or termination, against an officer who lawfully exercises the right of self defense.
An officer could even be compensated under this legislation, if expenses were incurred from fighting a legal battle over disciplinary actions or employment consequences stemming from lawful use of self defense.
From law enforcement practices to transportation methods, a bill that passed the House and is now under review in the Senate would expand permits for overweight trucks on state highways.
The bill removes the list of limitations for those trucks, allowing the Indiana Department of Transportation to gives out permits to eligible trucks carrying resources along Indiana highways.
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce said in its weekly legislative update that the bill could lead to economic development for the region due to the number of manufacturing facilities in operation in West Central Indiana.
The loads can also be taken on local roadways if a local authority applies for a permit.
Under the proposed legislation, Indiana State Police would be required to submit crash reports and annual data on the number of wrecks involving these overweight trucks.