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Amendment to ban gay unions advances

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 10:33 am

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday to ban gay marriage and civil unions – a step opponents said was unnecessary since same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state.

Supporters say the amendment would add an extra layer of protection for traditional marriage in case courts later overturn Indiana's law. The Republican-controlled House voted 70-26 to advance the proposal, which must clear two separately-elected Legislatures to get on the ballot for a public vote.

Opponents said the proposal would write discrimination into the state's constitution.

A similar amendment passed the General Assembly in 2005 when Republicans controlled the House and Senate. But in 2006, Democrats won control of the House and the proposal didn't clear the chamber again, so the process had to start over.

Now that the House has approved the measure, it moves to the GOP-ruled Senate, where it is expected to pass. If the Senate passes the proposal this year, the amendment would have to pass both the House and Senate again in 2013 or 2014 to be on the ballot in 2014.

Senate committee backs drug bills

INDIANAPOLIS — A state Senate committee on Tuesday backed having the state crime policy panel study whether Indiana should legalize marijuana after hearing a legislator with multiple sclerosis say he wished he could legally try the drug to relieve pain.

The committee also approved a bill requiring computerized tracking of cold medications used in making methamphetamine rather than mandating prescriptions, as some law enforcement groups urged.

The Senate's criminal law committee voted 5-3 to advance to the full Senate the bill directing the criminal law and sentencing study committee to examine Indiana's marijuana laws next summer and make recommendations.

Several law enforcement groups said the fight against methamphetamine production would be helped by requiring prescriptions to buy cold medicines with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

State police reported nearly 1,400 meth labs were seized in Indiana last year, up more than 70 percent since 2006.

The committee voted 9-0 to advance the electronic tracking bill.