Pence Wants To Ban All Same-Sex Unions: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is urging lawmakers to place a constitutional amendment before voters this fall that would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Hoosier State. The House passed a bill to ban same-sex marriage (HJR 3) on Jan. 28, but stripped a provision that would have also barred civil unions. Pence said last week he wants to see the measure go to voters in November, but by state law a constitutional amendment needs to pass two separately-elected legislatures before it can be voted on by the public during a referendum. Lawmakers passed a same-sex marriage ban in 2011, but that measure also banned civil unions. Should lawmakers ultimately leave the current resolution intact, it would have to pass again in 2016 before it could go before voters that fall. The resolution is now in the Senate. (COURIER-JOURNAL [LOUISVILLE], FORT WAYNE JOURNAL GAZETTE).
The Virginia House approves HB 706, a bill that would let any member of the General Assembly defend an Old Dominion law in federal court if the state attorney general refuses. The measure, which is intended to counter Attorney General Mark R. Herring's (D) decision not to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in federal suits seeking to overturn it, moves to the Senate (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH).
The Kentucky Senate approves SB 8, a bill that would require doctors offering abortion services to first conduct an ultrasound and simultaneously describe what is seen to the patient or face fines up to $100,000 for a first offense and up to $250,000 for subsequent offenses. It moves to the House (LEXINGTON COURIER-JOURNAL).
The Washington House approves HB 2148, legislation that would require health insurers whose plans cover maternity care to also offer abortion services. It moves to the Senate (STATE NET, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER).
The West Virginia House approves HB 4284, a measure that would require Mountain State employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow pregnant employees to continue to work. It is now in the Senate (CHARLESTON GAZETTE).
The Indiana Senate unanimously approves SB 326, a bill that would allow Hoosier State schools to decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with another religious or secular symbol and permit lessons on the history of winter holidays and traditional holiday greetings, such as "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah." It is now in the House (NORTHWEST INDIANA TIMES [MUNSTER]).
— Compiled by RICH EHISEN
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