Lawmakers to discuss churches in regards to emergency restrictions

("Indiana Statehouse" by Shawna Pierson, CC BY 2.0)

INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana) — Legislators will decide later this week how far to go in exempting churches from emergency restrictions.

The House passed a bill last month banning any restrictions on churches. The Senate deleted that provision, and passed its own bill saying churches can’t face limits any tighter than those on essential businesses. That’s the standard spelled out in court rulings in other states. A House committee is discussing whether to keep that language or restore its original version.

Conservative groups differ on whether emergency restrictions should apply to churches:

The Senate passed a bill saying restrictions on houses of worship can’t go any further than the loosest restrictions on businesses. Indiana Family Institute executive director Ryan McCann says it’s important to put it in law:

Advance America executive director Eric Miller argues the bill doesn’t go far enough. He contends mask and social distancing orders infringe the right to worship, and wants a ban on any restrictions. A House committee expects to vote later this week.