I write informing readers about proposed legislation allowing government to regulate church outreach ministries in Indiana. Similar legislation, which would regulate activities and food served at church day care centers, was introduced last year by my own State Representative, Rebecca Kubacki.
Seeking to address my concerns about that 2013 bill, I arranged a meeting with Rep. Kubacki, with disappointing results. My pleas fell on deaf ears, and I was treated a good deal less cordially than I would expect from my own elected representative.
Thankfully, that bill was not passed by the Senate last year.
The legislation to regulate church day care centers has been submitted again this year as HB1036. This bill has already passed the full House, with Rep. Kubacki’s vote, her support as co-author, and with approval by the House committee she chairs.
Those supporting HB1036 argue that since these church day care centers receive some government funding they should have their activities regulated by the state. However, these churches have not asked for subsidies from the government. Instead, many low-income families who qualify for vouchers from the state are choosing church day care centers for their children.
The government money is tied to parental choice and simply follows the child to the day care center. Moreover, these centers already comply with health and safety regulations.
I urge the Senate to not pass HB1036, since it represents unnecessary government regulation of church outreach ministries.
Rev. John B. Lowe II
New Life Christian Church