With only two days left in the legislative session, Republicans are using a loophole in Indiana law to try and take away a license plate awarded to Indiana Youth Group. The plate is the first in the nation to honor an LGBT youth group.
Rep Ed Soliday, the Republican sponsor of House legislation to reform how the state issues specialty license plates had previously withdrawn his bill claiming it "became too politicized" after the religious right attempted to use the legislation to target IYG. Now Senate Republicans are attempting to revive the bill by attaching it to other legislation. This sends the wording to a conference committee of House and Senate members that brings both houses legislation in line with each other - therefore allowing the language to skip a full House or Senate vote.
The attempt to resurrect the bill has Democrats charging that this is an improper end-run about legislative rules and traditions, aimed at mollifying conservatives who are upset that one of those specialty plates has been given to a support group for gay youths.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said last week that "to my knowledge, there is no plan for it to pop up" in another bill.
On Tuesday, Soliday said that "this came out of nowhere. I thought the thing was over. . . . It all blew up in the Senate." But, he said, he did not know what had happened.
It was not clear Wednesday who prompted the issue to be revived, and Soliday said he did not know.
House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer said legislative rules traditionally have been interpreted as barring any issue from being inserted into another bill in the session's final days if it had not passed either the House or Senate.
Soliday said he'd been told that wasn't a rule, just a "gentleman's agreement."
Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, retorted that must mean "there are no gentlemen left" in the legislature.
If you want to help save the license plate, call 1 (800) 382-9842 to leave a message for House leadership. Call state senate leadership at1 (80) 382-9467. DO IT NOW since time is of the essence.