INDIANAPOLIS—After a celebration by Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, who spoke in the Senate chamber after retiring earlier this session, a bill to control the restraints of pregnant women in prisons was passed by the Indiana Senate on Tuesday.
House Bill 1294 would require jail and prison officials to use the lowest level of restraint necessary for women who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy. It would also prohibit the restraint of a woman in labor or undergoing a medical emergency related to her pregnancy.
During Tuesday’s Senate session, Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange, said the bill’s focus was the humane treatment of women. She said pregnant women in their second or third trimester cannot be detained under the bill unless they pose a danger to themselves or others.
Bill author Rep. Rita Fleming, D-Jeffersonville, is a obstetrics health doctor.
Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, rose to support the bill, but said he did so hesitantly.
“It still allows them to hold these women back when they’re in their third trimester with their stomachs exposed,” Taylor said. “That should be criminal.”
Overall, Taylor said it was a good bill and he wished the law was not needed.
The Senate also voted House Bill 1248 written by Rep. David Abbott, R-Rome City, which prohibits owners of certain animals from letting people touch the animals in public.
The bill would also require owners of specified animals to obtain a dealer, breeder or exhibitor license from the US Department of Agriculture. The bill would make violation of this law a Class B offence.
The sponsor, Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Goshen, said the purpose of the bill was to prevent the owners of apex predators from letting people in public manipulate them.
“This bill seeks to ban owners of specific animals, apex predators – lions, tigers and bears. Oh my god,” Doriot said.
That’s not all. Doriot said the bill would also apply to leopards, jaguars, cougars and more. If the bill passes, private citizens will no longer be able to handle these animals in public unless they are zoo workers, use the animals in the film industry or are veterinarians.
Under the bill, the only body that would be able to add to the list of exempt persons is the Indiana General Assembly.
Doriot said the bill was supported by the Indianapolis Zoo, the Humane Society of the United States and the American Zoological Society.
The chamber had no discussion of the bill, and it passed with a vote of 43-4.
Isaac Gleitz is a journalist at TheStatehouseFile.coma news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.