Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the vote count on the amendment. It is 9-4, not 5-4.By Erica Irish TheStatehouseFile.com INDIANAPOLIS — One day after a Republican lawmaker withdrew an amendment to change gender identification rules for Indiana motorists, a colleague succeeded in passing a separate proposal that accomplishes a similar goal. Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, provided an amendment to
when it was heard in the House Roads and Transportation Committee Wednesday. The committee approved the amendment in a 9-4 vote and advanced the amended bill 10-3. In its original form, the bill, authored by Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, Hoosiers would be allowed to register for “mobile credentials” through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) as a digital version of their driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID. [caption id="attachment_37128" align="alignright" width="440"]
Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, authored Senate Bill 182 that allows for mobile credentials for IDs such as driver's licenses but argued against changing the rules for gender identity. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com.[/caption] Sullivan’s amendment requires those who apply to change their gender on a state-issued ID to present their birth certificate. This could reverse a near-decade old policy by the Indiana BMV that allows applicants to submit a physician’s note when requesting a gender change. Melton responded to the news just a few hours later with a statement that condemned the decision. He also noted that freshman Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, is preparing an amendment to restore the policy that allows doctor’s notes to excuse gender changes on IDs. The senator noted that the amendment could force constituents to undergo lengthy and costly legal proceedings to change the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate. “This was never my intent for this bill, and it was already properly vetted in the Senate for its original purpose,” Melton said. “This amendment was offered at the last second with little notice for the General Assembly and the public to weigh in. I will fight to prevent this bill from becoming a piece of legislation that devalues someone.” On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Fort Branch, filed a similar amendment to change an unrelated bill —
— to clarify that gender designations on disabled Hoosier veteran parking placards are either male (“M”) or female (“F”) instead of the newly allowed “X” designation for people who don’t conform to traditional gender classifications. After an hours-long meeting behind closed doors with House Republicans, Hostettler
for review. He said his colleagues did not feel the amendment was appropriate for the bill. The ACLU of Indiana said Tuesday’s attempt would harm people who identify as gender non-conforming or transgender by discriminating against them. The civil rights organization also issued a
, encouraging constituents to reach out to their state representatives and to House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. Katie Blair, the organization’s director of advocacy and public policy, maintained this position after SB 182 advanced. “It appears Indiana legislators will attempt to amend any bill related to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in order to add hurdles for [transgender] Hoosiers seeking to update the gender marker on their drivers’ licenses,” Blair said in a statement. “The ACLU is urging Indiana elected officials to stop interfering with [transgender] and non-binary Hoosiers’ access to accurate government issues identification.” Erica Irish is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.