- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The latest on Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State address (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

Indiana’s Democratic legislative leaders say they are disappointed in the stance Gov. Mike Pence took on LGBT civil rights protections in his State of the State speech.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (LAN’-in) of Anderson says he believes Pence would be perfectly happy if the Legislature didn’t pass a LGBT protections bill of any kind. Lanane says he thinks Pence is proud of the religious objections law that led to a national uproar last spring.

Several bills proposed this year aim to prohibit LGBT discrimination. Pence said in the speech he wouldn’t support such a bill if he believes it would diminish religious freedoms.



The Democratic leaders also said they were frustrated that Pence didn’t mention any concrete plans to raise wages or address the state’s infrastructure.

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9 p.m.

The Republican leader of the Indiana House says Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State speech gave his clearest stance yet on the question of adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to state civil rights laws.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said after Tuesday night’s speech that the governor set clear parameters but legislative leaders need to have more discussions with Pence on what he’ll support.

Pence said in the speech he wouldn’t support adding LGBT rights protections if he believes that step would diminish religious freedoms.

Bills are pending in the Legislature to extend LGBT protections, and Pence has previously avoided taking a position on the issue. He didn’t say in his speech whether he believed those bills would infringe on religious freedoms.

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8:40 p.m.

Leaders of the gay-rights group Freedom Indiana say they will be redoubling their efforts in the Legislature to push for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law.

Several dozen people gathered at a Freedom Indiana-sponsored event to watch Gov. Mike Pence give his State of the State speech Tuesday evening. Pence said in the speech he wouldn’t support adding LGBT rights protections if he believes that step would diminish religious freedoms.

Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen called Pence’s comments a “complete letdown.” Paulsen says the group believes a majority of people in the state support extending civil rights protections so that people can’t be fired from jobs, denied housing or turned away from public spaces because they are gay or transgender.

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7:50 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s likely re-election challenger says his State of the State speech shows a lack of leadership.

Democrat John Gregg says in a statement that Pence’s refusal to support extending state civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity is “unconscionable.” Gregg says the religious objections law that Pence signed last year continues to damage Indiana’s economy and reputation.

Pence said in Tuesday night’s speech he opposes discrimination against anyone but won’t support adding extend LGBT protections if he believes that step would diminish religious freedoms.

Pence didn’t say in his speech whether he believed LGBT rights bills pending in the Legislature would infringe on religious freedoms.

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7 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he won’t support adding state civil rights protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity if he believes that step would diminish religious freedoms.

Pence said in prepared remarks for Tuesday evening’s State of the State speech that constitutional rights to religious freedom in worship, service or work are “too precious.”

Bills are pending in the Legislature to extend LGBT protections, and Pence has previously avoided taking a position on the issue. He didn’t say in the prepared remarks whether he believed those bills would infringe on religious freedoms.

LGBT rights have become a major debate following the national uproar last spring over the state’s religious objections law that critics argued sanctioned discrimination against gay people.

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6:15 p.m.

State schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz is missing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State speech after undergoing a medical procedure.

Ritz spokesman Daniel Altman confirmed the reason for her absence from Tuesday evening’s speech but didn’t provide any specifics.

Ritz has joined other statewide office holders in the Indiana House balcony for previous State of the State speeches by Pence. She is the only Democrat holding a Statehouse office and who has frequently clashed with Pence.

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5:30 p.m.

Republican Sen. Dan Coats is skipping his final State of the Union address as a member of Congress to attend Gov. Mike Pence’s State of the State speech.

Coats is included on the list released by the governor’s office of special guests who’ll be seated in the Indiana House balcony for Tuesday evening’s speech.

But missing from the list of State of the State attendees is state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, who is the only Democrat holding a Statehouse office and who has frequently clashed with Pence.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Coats was attending Pence’s speech and Ritz was not. The Associated Press left messages for representatives of both seeking comment.

Coats announced last year that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the Senate in the November election.

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4:30 p.m.

Gov. Mike Pence is still hours away from delivering his fourth State of the State address, but already the campaign for his Democratic rival John Gregg is attacking.

Gregg campaign manager Tim Henderson says Pence has been a “national embarrassment” for Indiana.

He points to Pence’s refusal to offer a position on extending civil rights protections to gay people, and Pence’s support for education changes that led to the state’s ISTEP test troubles. And he said Pence has failed to properly fund state government agencies in ways that have put vulnerable people at higher risks.

Indiana Republican Party spokesman Robert Vane disputed Henderson’s remarks about Pence. He says Democrats are too quick to dismiss the state’s 4.4 unemployment rate and $2 billion budget surplus.

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1 a.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is set to deliver his fourth annual State of the State address to lawmakers.

Pence will address a joint audience of both chambers of the Legislature on Tuesday evening.

The speech offers a chance to turn the corner after a tumultuous year during which his policies drew negative attention to the state, most notably his support for a religious objections law that critics say sanctioned discrimination against gay people.

With an eye to his re-election bid, Pence will likely focus on job creation, an improving economy and low unemployment numbers. But he could also break his silence on the possible extension of civil rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

So far he has not taken a position on the matter.

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