INDIANAPOLIS- State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) authored Senate Bill (SB) 182 to give Hoosiers the option of accessing their driver’s license on a mobile phone, both for convenience and to keep Indiana present in this ever-growing digital age. However, this morning the bill was hijacked by House Republicans and amended into an attack on some of Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens with no regard to the devastating effects this will have on the very people lawmakers are meant to protect.

On Wednesday, House Republicans approved an amendment to SB 182 that undoes the recent BMV policy change to offer individuals a non-binary option for the gender section of IDs. Because of this surprise attack, Hoosiers wanting to change their gender marker on their driver’s license would have to go through the emotionally and financially taxing process of first changing their gender on their birth certificate.

Sen. Melton provided the following comments on the amendment to his bill:

“The process of changing your gender on your birth certificate is lengthy and overwhelming including multiple doctor and therapist visits, hiring of lawyers, meeting and paying for court dates, and some even have to pay a local newspaper to print their name and the fact that they changed their gender. This process can cost thousands of dollars and can cause severe emotional trauma to an individual.

“This was never my intent for this bill, and it was already properly vetted in the Senate for its original purpose. I wanted to create a pathway to help Hoosiers with the convenience of a mobile license, but this amendment will only hurt individuals.

“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.”

SB 182, with this gut-wrenching amendment passed this morning in the House Roads and Transportation Committee, but there is still time to restore the bill to the Senate-approved version. Representative Chris Chyung (D-Dyer) is authoring an amendment that will allow citizens to use a birth certificate or a doctor’s note to change their gender on a driver’s license.

Sen. Melton encourages all Hoosiers to call their House Representatives at (800) 382-9841 to urge them to vote in favor of Rep. Chyung’s amendment. Now is the time for Indiana to rise in support of the people that need it most.