8/24 Weekly Legislative Update


Passed the House

H.R.: Delivering for America Act 
GovTrack.us: “To maintain prompt and reliable postal services during the COVID-19 health emergency, and for other purposes.”
See the summary from GovTrack and more details from Countable.us.
Passed the House on Aug. 22 and goes to the Senate next. See your congressman’s vote.

In other news

A House hearing about interruptions of postal services will be held on Aug. 24 with USPS officials, including Postmaster General DeJoy expected to testify. (Bohn, Kevin. “Democrats say they are ramping up USPS investigation and call on top officials to testify.” CNN. 17 August 2020: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/16/politics/democrats-usps-postal-service-investigation/index.html.)

On August 21 Postmaster DeJoy apperared before the  GOP-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. (Desiderio,,Andrew, Marianne Levine and Daniel Lippman. “ DeJoy defends proposed changes amid Postal Service furor.” Politico. 21 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/Zfo24jW)

Koenig, Lauren, Gallagher and Kristen Holmes. “Several states considering legal action against Trump administration over USPS and mail-in voting.” CNN Politics. 16 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/TforJJt

Postmaster DeJoy says he will suspend changes to the postal service that many claim is slowing down the mail and a ploy to interfere with the election. Unclear is whether or not changes already implemented, like the removal of sorting machines, will be reversed. At least twenty states attorneys general are launching legal efforts to …”push back on the recent changes that disrupted mail delivery across the country and triggered accusations that Trump and his appointees are trying to undermine mail-in voting.” Speaker Pelosi said the House will still meet to pass a bill to fund the postal service and to prohibit operational changes that impede mail delivery. (Cohen, Marshall and Kristen Holmes. “Postal Service backs down on changes as at least 20 states sue over potential mail delays ahead of election.” CNN. 18 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/JfeUy0i)

The Department of Veterans Affairs has shifted its delivery of medications from the USPS to UPS due to delays in mail service..(Cohe, Zach. “US Postal Service delays force Department of Veterans Affairs to shift prescription delivery methods’” CNN. 19 August 2020:https://cutt.ly/YfeU47o)

“How Much Could Americans Receive Under President Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral?” Countable. 21 August 2020: https://www.countable.us/articles/45974-americans-receive-president-trump-s-payroll-tax-deferral

“The Senate Intelligence Committee released Tuesday the most comprehensive and meticulous examination to date explaining how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign adversary’s help, revealing new information about contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump during and after the campaign.” ((Herb Jeremy, Marshall Cohen and Katelyn Polantz. “Bipartisan Senate report details Trump campaign contacts with Russia in 2016, adding to Mueller findings.” CNN. 18 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/yfeONcr.”)

A federal judge has put an hold an HHS rule that overturned Obama-era sex discrimination protections for transgender people in health care. The rule was declared disingenuous in light of the June Supreme Court decision that barred sex discrimination against LGBTQ individuals on the job. (Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo. “Trump rule on transgender health blocked at the 11th hour.” AP NEWS. 18 August 2020: https://apnews.com/52715601e10bfd01f48b8aa10cf22925?utm_source=piano&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningwire&pnespid=gO49ralAWFCNjwqJ4Oz_x0pc6TL7hKCl2V_Th_.D)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday announced plans for an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, clearing the way for drilling in the remote Alaskan area. Bernhardt said future leases of the federally-owned land will make the entire 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain area available. Bernhardt said the announcement “marks a new chapter in American energy independence” and predicted it could “create thousands of new jobs.” Drilling in these controversial areas of the Alaskan arctic has long been controversial and the plans are certain to be met with legal challenges.” (Wallace, Gregory and Chandelis Duste. ”Trump administration announces plans to drill in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” CNN. 17 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/6faPAqD

This ruling ends six decades of protections for the largest remaining stretch of wilderness in the United States. (Plumer, Brad and Henry Fountain. “Trump Administration Finalizes Plan to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling.” The New York Times. 17 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/wfor5zV.)

The Trump administration significantly weakened an Obama era ruling intended to reduce climate warming methane emissions. The new rule from the EPA would no longer require oil and gas companies to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines, storage facilities and wells. (Newburger, Emma. “Trump lifts Obama-era regulations on methane, a potent climate-warming gas.” CNBC. 14 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/Td4vaZ2)

President Trump has announced the repeal of the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation, an Obama era regulation meant to help ensure equity in housing opportunities in support of the 1968 Fair Housing Act and viewed as a critical tool in desegregating communities. This move was widely perceived as an appeal to the President’s suburban base and a watering down of the law. (Richardson, Brenda. “Fair Housing Advocates Decry Repeal Of Regulation Aimed At Diversifying Suburbs.” Forbes. 30 July 2020: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2020/07/30/fair-housing-advocates-decry-repeal-of-fair-housing-law-aimed-at-diversifying-suburbs/#69c55fb569be)

On Monday, August 3, President Trump directed that states pay 25% of the tab for the deployment of National Guard forces for coronavirus response. Two states that will be spared will be Texas and Florida, a move many are saying has political motivations. (Ollstein, Miranda Alice. “Trump spares only Texas and Florida in cutting funds for National Guard.” Politico. 04 August 2020:https://cutt.ly/6d7R5rU)

To find and contact your Members of Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members


Indiana’s law that limits voting by mail to 13 categories is constitutionala federal judge ruled Friday.  (WISH-TV)
Federal judge won’t force expanded Indiana mail-in voting.
Judge James Patrick Hanlon ruled that “While COVID-19 undisputedly presents new and serious challenges, Plaintiffs have not explained why those challenges trigger constitutional protections when the challenges of working mothers, medical personnel, and those working two jobs do not,” Hanlon was nominated for his seat on the bench by President Donald Trump. Hanlon’s decision allows the lawsuit to proceed, but he ruled that those who filed the suit were unlikely to prevail and denied their request for an order that would force the state to allow no-excuse mail-in voting. William Groth, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he and other lawyers involved were reviewing their legal options.”

Earlier in the week another lawsuit held that Indiana can no longer throw out ballots because signatures on ballot envelopes don’t match those on file. The judge in that case, Judge Sarah Barker, a Reagon appointee, “faulted the state for disenfranchising voters without any process for notifying them that their mailed-in ballots had been rejected, which would allow them to appeal the decision or cast a ballot in person.” (Associated Press. “Federal judge won’t force expanded Indiana mail-in voting.” Fox 59. 21 August 21 2020: https://fox59.com/news/federal-judge-wont-force-expanded-indiana-mail-in-voting/)
A federal judge says Indiana’s signature-match requirement for absentee ballots is unconstitutional.  (WIBC)

Learn more about voting mail in Indiana, including current restrictions and procedures to follow if you qualify. Indiana is one of eight states that will not allow coronavirus as a reason to vote by mail. Research shows that voting by mail is free of fraud and that voter turn out significantly increases in states that routinely allow it. (Depompei, Elizabeth. “What you need to know about voting by mail in Indiana.” Hoosier Times. 16 August 2020: https://www.hoosiertimes.com/herald_times_online/news/covid19/what-you-need-to-know-about-voting-by-mail-in-indiana/article_da87233a-df1f-11ea-ad07-7bb611f1216a.html)

County clerks and election officials, who are expecting a surge in absentee voters in the November general election, are changing polling locations and recruiting poll workers to deal with the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  (The Statehouse File)

Starting 2021, ultrasound must be performed 18 hours before having an abortion in Indiana The Indianapolis Star 
A 2016 Indiana law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before the …
Planned Parenthood dropped the lawsuit in exchange for an agreement that Indiana would not enforce the law until January. Lawsuit Over Indiana Abortion Ultrasound Requirement Is Over – WFYI

To find and contact your Indiana legislators: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/