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Senate backs allowing religion-based hiring by contractors

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Religious institutions that receive state and local government contracts would be allowed to make hiring decisions based upon religion under a bill approved by the Indiana Senate.

Senators voted 39-11 on Tuesday in favor of the bill, advancing it to the House for consideration.

Republican Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle says he sponsored the measure to restore the ability of religious institutions such as Indiana Wesleyan University to receive state workforce training grants. The state attorney general’s office determined last year that the university’s religious lifestyle mandate violated state contracting requirements against employment discrimination.

Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage argued that the bill’s language allowing religious institutions to require all employees to conform to their faith tenets was too broad and could lead to lawsuits.