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Panel backs religion-based hiring by Indiana contractors

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An Indiana legislative panel has endorsed a bill allowing religious institutions that receive state and local government contracts to make hiring decisions based upon religion.

The Senate Civil Law Committee voted 7-0 Monday to advance the bill to the full Senate.

Republican Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle says he sponsored the measure to restore the ability of Indiana Wesleyan University to receive state workforce training grants. The university hires employees on the basis of religion.

The (Munster) Times reports the state attorney general’s office recently determined the university’s religious lifestyle mandate violated state contracting requirements against employment discrimination.

Holdman says that without the change, Indiana could lose the services of religious-affiliated entities such as hospitals, schools and adoption agencies.