Two Bailiffs, Shooter Dead at Michigan Courthouse

     ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (CN) — Hours after an inmate killed two bailiffs at the Berrien County Courthouse, Sheriff Paul Bailey expressed shock and grief Monday evening at a press conference.     The shooting took place around 2:25 p.m. Monday afternoon, as deputy sheriff James Atterberry Jr. and a bailiff escorted inmate, Larry Darnell Gordon, from a holding cell to a courtroom.     In a hallway on the way to the courtroom, Gordon – who was not handcuffed at the time – attacked Atterberry and wrested control of Atterberry’s gun.     He then shot Atterberry in the arm and shot and killed court bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle.     Sheriff Bailey said Gordon then went into the back area of a courtroom and took several hostages from among court personnel and civilians who were in the immediate vicinity. The hostage situation lasted approximately five minutes before two other court bailiffs shot and killed Gordon.     Gordon also shot and wounded the deputy officer and a civilian, who happened to be in the hallway where the deadly scuffle took place.     When questioned by reporters about the lack of handcuffs on Gordon during his movement from the holding cell to the courtroom, Sheriff Bailey explained that the decision to use handcuffs is made on a case-by-case basis. Although being held on several felony charges, Gordon “gave no indication of violence while in jail,” Bailey said.     Deceased bailiffs Zangaro, 61, and Kienzle, 63, were 30-year law enforcement veterans. Zangaro was head of courthouse security.     Gordon was a 45-year-old white man from nearby Coloma, Michigan. Police have not released details about the felony charges that were pending against him at the time of the shooting.     Bailey described Zangaro and Kienzle as “loving guys” who were well-respected.     Speaking for all county officers, Bradley said, “Our hearts are torn apart.”     Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder traveled to St. Joseph in the aftermath of the shootings and urged all Michiganders to “be supportive of law enforcement [officers] and their families.”     St. Joseph is located in far southwestern Michigan’s Berrien County, which borders Indiana.

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Indiana Abortion Law Blocked by Federal Judge

     INDIANAPOLIS (CN) — Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail on claims that a new Indiana law threatens women’s right to get abortions, a federal judge ruled.     Meant to take effect today, House Enrolled Act No. 1337 makes it illegal for a woman to have an abortion, even in the first trimester of pregnancy, if the reason for the abortion stems from the race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or disability of the fetus.     The law, which also requires abortion providers to follow state-mandated burial and cremation requirements, was signed into law back in March by Gov. Mike Pence.     Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union quickly filed suit, calling it “clearly unconstitutional” to make clinic employees quiz women about their motivations.     Rounding out a week in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down unconstitutional abortion limits in Texas, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted the Indiana challengers an injunction Thursday.     The 31-page ruling says Indiana’s new law “directly contravenes” the principle established in Roe v. Wade: that a state may not prohibit a woman from making the ultimate decision to have an abortion prior to fetal viability.     “The state is [attempting] to accomplish via HEA 1337 precisely what the Supreme Court has held is impermissible,” Pratt wrote. “For this court to hold such a law constitutional would require it to recognize an exception where none have previously been recognized.”     Pratt explained that, while the Supreme Court has consistently recognized that states have legitimate interests in protecting the life of a fetus that may become a child, it has balanced the states’ interests with those of a woman seeking a pre-viability abortion and determined that the state’s interest are not strong enough to lawfully prohibit such abortions.     “Yet,” Pratt wrote, “HEA 1337 does just that.”     Pratt emphasized that “the right to a pre-viability abortion is categorical,” and “leaves no room for the state to examine the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice.”     To affirm Indiana’s position under HEA 1377 would undermine the “central holding” of Roe v. Wade — that a woman’s right to choose a first-trimester abortion, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, is superior to the state’s interest in protecting fetal life.     Pratt also blocked HEA 1337’s requirement that abortion providers follow state-mandated burial and cremation requirements.     Because the law does not recognize the fetus as a person, there is no legitimate state interest in treating an aborted fetus the same as a deceased human, according to the ruling.     A spokeswoman for Pence said the governor was “disappointed” in the ruling but “remains steadfast in his support for the unborn, especially those with disabilities.”

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Indy Fights to Restore Flood Insurance

     (CN) — Indianapolis and the Indiana County in which it is located are challenging a federal decision to suspend their participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.     In a complaint filed in the Indianapolis Federal Court, the municipalities claim the Depart of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency kicked them out of the program because of minor, easily corrected blemishes in a report submitted to the federal agencies in February.     The National Flood Insurance Program is a federally-subsidized initiative that makes flood insurance more affordable than similar coverage purchased at market rates.     FEMA had demanded that the city     city adopt certain floodplain management regulations in order to remain eligible to participate in the insurance program.     The city submitted an updated draft ordinance intended to satisfy federal regulators, but FEMA was far from happy with the ordinance.     Citing ten instances of noncompliance within its provision, the federal agency on April 22 immediately suspended the city’s eligibility for the insurance program.     According to Indianapolis attorneys Andrew Mallon and Donald Morgan, who are representing the city, FEMA’s conclusion is incorrect, and represents an abuse of discretion in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.     Three days after the suspension, FEMA conceded that more than half the items it had identified as noncompliant were, in fact, compliant.     While Indianapolis maintains that its ordinance satisfies all necessary legal requirements, it nevertheless asked the regulators to stay the suspension of the city’s eligibility until the other four disputed errors can be corrected.     The attorneys argue that because only the joint City-County Council can make changes to the ordinance, and it does not convene until May 9, Indianapolis and Marion County homeowners face substantial risk, consider that the Midwest is at the height of its spring rainy season.     And the economic consequences, for the county, city, and individual homeowners could be disastrous, the complaint says.     The city says the consequences of suspending federally-subsidized flood insurance could include decreased property values, decreases in the city and county’s property tax base, and a diminished ability to attract new business and residents to the Indianapolis area.     For many of the low-income homeowners within the county flood plain, damages from a flood could result in mortgage defaults and irreparable financial harm.     According to the Indianapolis Star, representatives from the city and FEMA were in settlement talks Thursday and the court was notified that federal regulators will work with Indianapolis to identify a solution that assures a reinstatement of the city’s coverage.     From 1978 to February, 2016, Marion County had more than 2,031 insurance claims stemming from floods, the second largest amount in Indiana. Those claims cost insurers more than $15,000,000. Presently, 7,000 homeowners live in the Marion County flood plain.

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Bill Aims to Rein in National Security Council

     WASHINGTON (CN) — Indiana congresswoman Jackie Walorski proposed new legislation that, if passed, will bring the U.S. National Security Council back under the Freedom of Information Act.     Walorski drafted H.R. 4922, also known as the Transparency in National Security Act, in response to rising concerns about the National Security Council’s exponential growth and expanding role, as well as the widening scope of its decision-making power.     Established by the National Security Act of 1947, the NSC is “mandated by statute to advise the president with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security and to perform such other functions as the president may direct,” according to Walorski’s bill.     The NSC operates under the chairmanship of the president, with the secretary of state and defense secretary as additional key members.     The council actively complied with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) until 1996, when the D.C. Circuit found that the NSC did not “exercise substantial independent authority” and set aside its FOIA requirements. At the time of the ruling, the NSC had a staff of about 150 people.     The concern that Walorski and others share is that, in the 20 years since the ruling, each president has expanded the NSC’s role and decision-making authority far beyond what the National Security Act intended.     Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, NSC staff has doubled from 200 to 400 people, according to Walorski.     “The increasing micromanagement from the White House directly reduces the amount of oversight that Congress can have and undermines the authority of the Department of Defense,” Walorski said in a statement. “This legislation is critical for this and future administrations and serves as a public reminder that presidents cannot avoid public scrutiny or accountability by consolidating authority in the White House.”     In an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both former secretaries of defense under Obama, criticized the NSC and the growth of its influence.     Panetta said NSC advisors shade their views in order to please the president and “try to influence the direction of policy through the back door.”     “[This] undermines the very process that a president needs in order to get the best discussion and information possible to be able to make the right decision,” Panetta said.     According to Gates, the NSC oversteps its boundaries by practicing “operational micromanagement” and “second-guessing [military] commanders.”     Walorski, who represents Indiana’s Second Congressional District, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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New Indiana Abortion Limits Called Irrational

     INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – Indiana’s new abortion law places unprecedented restrictions on women’s health care rights, as well as the rights of abortion providers and their staffs, groups claim in a federal complaint.     Effective July 1, Indiana House Enrolled Act No. 1337 prohibits abortions, even in the first trimester of pregnancy, if the sole reason for the abortion is the fetus’ race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis of a statutorily-defined disability, or “potential diagnosis” of a disability.     The law also dictates that Indiana’s abortion clinics must not dispose of fetal tissue in the same manner as other discarded medical material and must instead follow state-mandated burial and cremation requirements.     Such restrictions are not required, however, if the woman assumes control of the fetal tissue after an abortion.     Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, a doctor and a nurse filed a federal complaint to halt the legislation Thursday, saying it imposes an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion, “even if the pregnancy is in its early stages and the fetus is not viable.”     “Because women have a right to choose a first trimester abortion for any reason, PPINK does not inquire of its patients why they are obtaining abortions,” the complaint states, abbreviating Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. “However, PPINK is aware that some of its patients seek abortions for a reason banned by the Enrolled Act [No. 1337]. PPINK has performed abortions for patients who have been referred to PPINK solely because genetic anomalies or potential genetic anomalies had been detected in the fetus and PPINK anticipates performing such abortions in the future.”     Compelling abortion clinic employees to inform women of something that is “clearly unconstitutional” is, in turn, unconstitutionally compelled speech that violates the First Amendment rights of both the clinic and its employees and patients, according to the complaint.     “The government cannot compel persons to provide patently unconstitutional information,” the complaint states.     PPINK calls the law’s restrictions on the disposal of fetal tissue “irrational.”     In holding abortion providers to different requirements for the disposal of fetal tissue than a woman who chooses to dispose of the fetal tissue herself, the law violates the 14th Amendment rights of due process, equal treatment and equal protection, according to the complaint.     Planned Parenthood says it complying with Indiana’s burial and cremation laws requires “significantly greater efforts to dispose of the fetal tissue” for clinics and other health care facilities that perform abortions.     Under the new law, PPINK will have to obtain a burial-transit permit for the fetal tissue, then make arrangements with a mortuary to receive and handle the fetal tissue.     PPINK must also assume responsibility of the remains once they are cremated, and arrange for their permanent interment or committal.     By contrast, a woman who chooses to assume control of the fetal tissue after an abortion that is less than 20 weeks after fertilization may dispose of the fetal tissue any way she chooses.     PPINK says “virtually all” woman who have abortions at one of its facilities choose to let the facility dispose of the fetal tissue. Such disposal presently involves having a contractor remove and dispose of it the same way as other medical material.     “This law is clearly another attempt by the governor to end access to safe, legal abortions by imposing more unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on women, our health care centers and our staff,” PPINK CEO and President Betty Cockrum said in a statement. “The law limits women’s rights and shames them during this deeply personal decision by calling their motives into question.”     The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to veto the bill, telling the governor in a letter that “it threatens both the health and the constitutional rights of women in Indiana.”     The letter, dated March 11 and signed by 24 Indiana obstetrician-gynecologists, says the law will create a “don’t ask-don’t tell” standard of conduct for doctors and patients in Indiana, and will “force us [doctors] to lie.”     Performing an abortion in violation of the prohibitions contained in Enrolled Act 1337 places PPINK and its staff at risk of prosecution, civil liability, and loss of licensure.     PPINK is represented by Kenneth Falk, Gavin Rose and Jan Mensz of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, as well as Jennifer Dalvin, with ACLU New York, and Helene Krasnoff, with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.     PPINK has 25 health care centers in Indiana and performs abortions at three locations in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville.

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Private School Police Record Access Weighed

     (CN) – The Indiana General Assembly is considering a bill that will require police departments at private universities across the state to disclose records related to arrests and incarcerations to the public.     House Bill 1022, authored by state Rep. Patrick Bauer and introduced on Jan 5, would effectively make private schools with private police forces subject to the same public disclosure laws that public police departments must abide by. On Tuesday the bill passed out of committee by a 13-0 vote.     The bill comes in the wake of a January 2015 lawsuit filed against the University of Notre Dame by ESPN to compel access to campus police records pertaining to student-athletes. The St. Joseph Superior Court case, which the university won, has since been appealed by sports network.     It is scheduled to be heard by the Indiana Court of Appeals on Feb. 24.     Bauer, a Notre Dame alumnus, has said the bill is not a direct consequence of the ongoing litigation, but grew out of concerns he heard from fellow Notre Dame graduates after it was filed.     In court, attorneys for the university maintained that a private university is not subject to the state’s public records requirements.     But in a statement published in the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said the university “offered its support, perspective and assistance to the leaders of the Independent Colleges of Indiana as they worked with Rep. Bauer to craft revisions to the Access to Public Records Act to open police records, while still maintaining compliance with federal regulations regarding student privacy.”     Some, however, believe that while Bauer’s effort is a step in right direction, House Bill 1022 doesn’t go far enough.     Among them is Stephen Key, executive director and general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, an organization that has filed an amicus brief in the ESPN case, backing the network’s position.     “When we consider that, under the authority of state power, police officers at private colleges and universities are authorized to conduct traffic stops and criminal investigations, to assist in emergencies and even use force when necessary, then holding these police departments to the same disclosure standards as municipal police forces makes it possible to better inform the public, to make people more aware of the extent or lack of crime in a certain area,” Key told Courthouse News.     “This is the kind of information people use to make crucial decisions — such as where to live, or whether to send their son or daughter to this school or that one … For these reasons and many others, transparency is vital,” he said.     Others who filed amicus briefs in the ESPN case are Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the South Bend Tribune newspaper.

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Legislators Push Anti-Microbead Bill Forward

     (CN) – Lawmakers say that microbeads, the miniscule plastic spheres cosmetic companies put in their products for smoother skin, have become a menace to the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater system.      Last week, members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously voted to advance the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, or H.R. 1321, a bill that would ban manufacturers from putting the tiny abrasives into their health and beauty products.     Although they were patented in the 1970s, the use of microbeads in facial scrubs, body washes, toothpaste, soaps and over-the-counter drugs did not became widespread until the 1990s.     Today, more than 100 products contain microbeads, and some of these products contain as many as 350,000 microbeads per container, according to a written testimony from Molly Flanagan of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.     Because these tiny plastic particles do not dissolve, they flow down sink and bathtub drains – bypassing sewage treatment plants because of their small size and buoyancy – and flow into rivers and lakes.     Microbeads are similar in size to fish eggs, so fish and other aquatic organisms mistake them for food. Microbeads also soak up toxins, making the effects of consumption detrimental to the animals that eat them.     Committee chair and bill co-sponsor Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement that microbeads “are big time pollution, especially for our Great Lakes.”     The congressman said he was encouraged by last week’s vote to push the Microbead-Free Waters Act forward.     “Today’s unanimous approval of this critical bipartisan bill will protect Lake Michigan and all of our waters from these pesky pieces of plastic,” Upton said. “Microbeads are causing mega-problems, and we’re going to fix it.”     If passed, H.R. 1321 will ban the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products. The ban on the manufacture of microbeads would begin July 1, 2017, followed by a ban on the sale of cosmetics containing microbeads beginning July 1, 2018.     The final phase, the ban on sales of over-the-counter drugs containing microbeads, would begin July 1, 2019, if the bill gets final approval.     Flanagan asserted in her testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee that a microbead ban is the most efficient way to deal with the pollution they cause.     “At a time of limited funding for wastewater treatment plants and other water infrastructure, the potential cost and time necessary to upgrade wastewater treatment plants with yet-to-be-developed technologies that could filter these plastic microbeads far outweighs the cost of preventing their introduction in the system by banning their use in cosmetic and personal care products,” Flanagan wrote.     Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., co-sponsored the bill.     Several states, including Illinois, New Jersey and Maine, have banned plastic microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products, according to Flanagan. She also said that Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and other states are currently working to get bans in place.     In addition, industry giants Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, The Body Shop and L’Oreal have all made recent commitments to phase out the use of microbeads in their health and beauty products, but the timeframes for doing so vary.     A pair of environmental studies released in September found that the San Francisco Bay was being contaminated by plastic microbeads and clothing fibers. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last month limiting the amount of plastic in cosmetics.

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Bizarre Forced-Sex|Scandal at Notre Dame

     SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CN) – A Notre Dame employee made “racially charged comments” about the sexual prowess and genitalia of a black student she forced to have sex with her daughter, the student claims in court.     The lawsuit filed anonymously on Oct. 30 in St. Joseph County Superior Court also redacts the name of the Notre Dame employee and her daughter.     Their names are all redacted as well in an Oct. 16 letter by Notre Dame – provided by attorneys for the student with Anderson, Agostino & Keller – which announces the employee’s firing in response to the student’s allegations.     John Doe, as the student identifies himself in the complaint, says it all started during his first year at Notre Dame, where he was admitted on academic scholarship.     Doe says the university assigned Jane Roe as his academic coach in spring 2015 and that Roe “immediately … coordinated a sexually and racially motivated inappropriate and demeaning relationship” between Doe and her daughter.     The complaint specifies that Roe is white but offers very little detail about the daughter. A press release that Doe’s attorneys issued along with their complaint meanwhile notes that the daughter was “a student at a nearby school” who also worked at Notre Dame.     Notre Dame’s letter says this daughter “was not found to be in violation of any university policy,” but it said the academic coach’s behavior violated both school values and the university’s policy against sexual and discriminatory harassment.     Doe says the coach arranged for his “sexual liaisons” with the daughter, conduct that included “providing lodging, transportation, hotel rooms and condoms for sexual excursions across state lines.”     In addition to the racially charged comments about Doe’s genitalia, Roe also had a habit of “interrogating [him] about the nature, frequency, and quality of the sexual activities,” the complaint states.     Doe says Roe pressured him into keeping up the relationship “against his will,” even threatening him when he tried to break it off.     The Associated Press quotes university spokesman Paul Browne as saying that the school denies responsibility for the academic coach’s behavior.     Though Doe claims that he was one of many young black students and student-athletes whom the coach had a “routine” of targeting, Browne reportedly called these allegations “unfounded,” “an allegation that is nothing more than a cynical attempt to attract publicity.”     Doe says the conduct quickly took a toll on his grades and emotional state, and that Roe pressured him into seeking counseling from a friend of hers at the university.     In this vein, “university personnel sought to medicate plaintiff John Doe to keep him passive, cooperative, and under control to forestall any exposure of this exploitative and perverse conduct and hostile environment,” the complaint states.     Topping it all off, Roe also pressured Doe “to convert to Catholicism against his will,” the complaint states.     Doe seeks damages and an injunction preserving his scholarship and financial aid, as well as an independent investigation.     The complaint alleges racial discrimination in violation of Title VI, sexual harassment and discrimination in violation of Title IX, negligence and other wrongs.     Doe’s attorneys at Anderson, Agostino & Keller noted that they are still waiting on a demand for a relief given to the university two weeks before the suit was filed.     “The failure to respond and react reflects a double standard by some at the university, as the objectification would not have been tolerated under any other set of circumstances,” the firm said in a statement. “The student fell prey to a manipulative and predatory scheme.”

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Indiana Christmas Spectacular Prompts Suit

     SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CN) – An Indiana high school’s “Christmas Spectacular,” complete with a live nativity scene, Bible narration and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” has prompted a federal civil rights lawsuit.     Represented in the Oct. 7 complaint by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Freedom From Religion Foundation notes that the performances in question have been produced for “several decades” at Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.     “This event is set to be staged again in early December of 2015,” the complaint states. “The plaintiffs – a nonprofit membership organization devoted to the separation of church and state, the father of a student at the high school who will attend the event, and a student at the high school who will participate in a separate segment of the event – all object to this portion of the ‘Christmas Spectacular.’”     The Freedom From Religion Foundation notes that “attendance and performance at the Christmas Spectacular is mandatory” for hundreds of students enrolled in the school’s performing-arts department.     Emphasizing that the Nativity scene and the story of the birth of Jesus are well-recognized symbols of the Christian faith, the presence of these tropes “at the ‘Christmas Spectacular’ is coercive [and] represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation.”     The foundation notes that complaints from its members caused it to warn Concord Community Schools this summer about its violations of the establishment clause.     “It is illegal for a public school to endorse a religion to students by organizing a religious performance, such as acting out the exclusively Christian legend of Jesus’ birth,” the foundation’s attorney Sam Grover wrote. “The performance has a clearly devotional message and thus would be appropriate in a church setting, but not in a public school.”     Though a representative for the school has not returned a request for comment, superintendent John Trout responded to the foundation’s letter back in August that the foundation had not given “an accurate statement of the law.”     “Concord Community Schools disagrees with the FFRF’s assertion that any school celebration occurring during the Christmas holiday season must be purely secular,” Trout wrote.     The superintendent went on to say that the live Nativity scene, the Scripture readings and the Christmas carols do not violate the First Amendment.     “As always, if a student or parent finds objectionable any portion of the spectacular – or any school assignment, for that matter – that student is free to opt out of the assignment or performance,” Trout wrote. “Nativity scene participation is purely voluntary and is only practiced after school hours.”     Practices are held after school, the foundation concedes, but it notes that “run-throughs” – in which the entire Christmas Spectacular is rehearsed from beginning to end – happen during school hours.     Annie Laurie Gaylor, the group’s co-president, said making participation in the live Nativity scene presentation voluntary does not “make it OK.”     “Schools should not be putting on events in which students would feel compelled to absent themselves due to inappropriate religious content,” Gaylor said in a statement earlier this week. “FFRF is suing to ensure that nonreligious and non-Christian students are able to fully participate in their school’s winter concert. The Nativity represents the pinnacle of Christian belief and its most holy day. The spectacle … is a blatant and egregious promotion of religion in a public school setting.”     U.S. District Judge Jon DeGuilio has been assigned to the case. The foundation seeks injunctive relief and nominal damages of $1, as well as legal fees.     Madison, Wis.-based Grover represents the group does ACLU attorney Gavin Rose of Indianapolis.

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EPA Can Level Gas Prices, Indiana Rep. Says

     INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – To keep gas prices stable during the next supply disruption, retailers need more freedom from regulation, a congresswoman in Indiana said.     Since the EPA currently requires different blends of gasoline to be sold in different parts of the country, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski says this can complicate the supply chain and drive up prices when fuel is in short supply.     The Republican congresswoman introduced legislation Tuesday that she says will make spiking gas prices a thing of the past.     Principally the Gas Accessibility and Stabilization Act would expand the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to waive fuel mandates, Walorski’s office says.     The move comes at the end of a summer in which northern Indiana saw gas prices rise by as much as $1 more per gallon after a BP refinery in Whiting shut down the largest of its three crude-oil distillation units because of a small leak in one of its pipe distillation units.     The disruption in production caused gas prices to jump in just a matter of days, forcing drivers in some parts of Indiana to shell out in excess of $3 per gallon.     “It’s unfair for hardworking families to constantly worry about unpredictable spikes each time they pull into the gas station,” Walorski said in a statement. “While we can’t prevent natural disasters or unforeseen disruptions like the emergency maintenance at Whiting, we can try and do everything in our power to mitigate the ripple effects to consumers by waiving fuel mandates to stabilize gas prices.”     BP has not returned a request for comment.     Walorski says the EPA’s waiver authority needs more wiggle room for petroleum retailers to buy and sell any fuel blends during times of disruption in supply.     Walorski represents Indiana’s Second District.     Reps. Robert Latta and Steve Stivers, of Ohio, Billy Long, of Missouri and Pete Olson, of Texas, co-sponsors of the GAS Act bill, H.R. 2823.

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