8/30 Weekly Legislative Update


Congress is not in session until after Labor Day.

Bills in the news:

John Lewis’s final bill, Juvenile Incarceration Reduction Act, would ban ‘risk and needs assessments’ when sentencing children. It was introduced the day before he died. Read more about this bill: https://govtrackinsider.com/john-lewiss-final-bill-juvenile-incarceration-reduction-act-would-ban-risk-and-needs-93f190a855cThe Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is companion legislation to a bill previously introduced by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Bill Cassidy, M.D. of Louisiana, is supported by the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Osteopathic Association.” (“Upton supports bill to prevent suicide, burnout in medical pros.” WHTC. 24 August 2020: https://whtc.com/news/articles/2020/aug/24/upton-supports-bill-to-prevent-suicide-burnout-in-medical-pros/1051820/ ) 
GovTrack: S. 4349: A bill to address behavioral health and well-being among health care professionals.

Friday’s March on Washington demanded a legislative and presidential response to police brutality against Blacks and the systemic racism prevalent in this country. Highlighted were two competing bills that address police brutality. The first was passed by the House in June, but has not been brought up in the Senate: the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bill includes outright bans on chokeholds and no-knock warrants for all federal law enforcement agencies; creates a national registry of police abuses; and makes it easier to both prosecute and sue individual officers in cases of misconduct. (Johnson, Marty. “Sharpton, police reform take center stage at National Mall.” The Hill. 28 August 2020: https://thehill.com/homenews/news/514159-sharpton-and-george-floyd-police-reform-bill-take-center-stage-atThe Senate’s bill “aims to eliminate racial profiling and police brutality, not with federal bans and mandates, but with new studies and financial incentives for state and local police departments to adopt reforms on their own.” (Lillis, Mike and Julie Grace Brufke. “House passes police reform bill that faces dead end in Senate.” The Hill. 25 June 2020: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/504646-police-reforms-pass-house-headed-to-dead-end-in-gridlocked-senate)
The House Bill is H.R. 7120: George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: “To hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.”
The Senate Bill is S.3985: Justice Act. This bill failed a vote for cloture and is unlikely to be brought forward again. Democrats say this bill did not go far enough and urged Republicans to negotiate for a stronger bill.
A bill similar to the House Bill was introduced in June by Senator Booker, S. 3912: Justice in Policing Act of 2020

In other news

On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. ET, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by Rep. James E. Clyburn, will hold a hybrid in-person/remote hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on the Administration’s response to the country’s economic crisis. 
“The hearing will examine the urgent need for additional economic relief for children, workers, and families and the Administration’s implementation of key stimulus programs passed by Congress earlier this year.
Secretary Mnuchin will testify before Congress for the first time since negotiations over additional federal stimulus.”
Watch the hearing at https://coronavirus.house.gov/subcommittee-activity/hearings/hybrid-hearing-treasury-secretary-steven-t-mnuchin

“States Start Receiving Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits After Trump Executive Action.” Countable. 25 August 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46012-states-start-receiving-enhanced-federal-unemployment-benefits-trump-executive-action

Polantz, Katelyn. “ Federal judge gives Trump administration 10 days to answer questions about USPS slowdowns.” CNN Politics. 27 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/2fgWzfp

Polantz, Katelyn. “Iowa judge voids 50,000 absentee ballot applications, prompting county to send new forms.” CNN Politics. 27 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/yfgWmGo

Revell, Eric. “House Democrats to Launch Contempt Proceedings Against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.” Causes.com. 28 August 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46036-house-democrats-launch-contempt-proceedings-secretary-state-mike-pompeo-do-support-move

Just a few days after a different judge issued the same ruling, Secretary DeVos has been prevented from allotting coronavirus relief money from the CARES Act to private schools.

(Barnum, Matt. “Second judge orders halt to DeVos private school relief rule, saying she attempted to ‘rewrite’ law.” Chalkbeat Indiana. 28 August 2020: https://www.chalkbeat.org/2020/8/27/21403886/second-judge-orders-halt-to-devos-private-school-relief-rule-citing-potential-for-irreparable-harm.)

“Mail-in voting does not cause fraud, but judges are buying the GOP’s argument that it does.” The Conversation. 21 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/XfjStcZ

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


Nearly 720,00 Hoosiers are at risk of eviction. Indiana’s rental assistance program ended Wednesday, August 24. (Smith, Brandon. “With Moratorium Over, Housing Advocates Brace For Eviction ‘Tsunami’.” Indiana Public Radio. 24 August 2020: https://indianapublicradio.org/news/2020/08/with-moratorium-over-housing-advocates-brace-for-eviction-tsunami/ )

Read responses to questions posed during the debate between the candidates for Lieutenant Governor.(Henry, James. “Campaign 2020: Indiana Lieutenant Governor.” AgriNews. 24 August 2020: https://www.agrinews-pubs.com/2020/08/24/campaign-2020-indiana-lieutenant-governor/dkywp6q/ )

Three rulings will effect voting in Indiana this November.

Restrictions on mail in ballots has been ruled constitutional, forcing Hoosiers to decide between health risks and voting this November.

Another ruling requires Indiana election officials to contact voters before removing them from the registration list. If they can’t reach them— they must wait two federal election cycles before taking them off.

The third ruling holds that voters must be notified if their signatures on their mail in ballots don’t match signatures on file. Voters must be given the opportunity to resolve any problems with their mail in ballot. (Sullivan, Kayla. “Recent Federal Rulings Impact Indiana’s November Election.” Fox 59. 24 August 2020: https://fox59.com/news/recent-federal-rulings-impact-indianas-november-election/ ) 
“Indiana just 1 of 6 states that doesn’t consider COVID-19 pandemic valid reason to vote by mail.” Fox 59. 25 August 2020: https://fox59.com/news/indiana-just-1-of-6-states-that-doesnt-consider-covid-19-pandemic-valid-reason-to-vote-by-mail/

Smith, Brandon. “Judge Permanently Halts Indiana’s Illegal Voter Purge Method. IBP News NPR. 25 August 2020: https://indianapublicradio.org/news/2020/08/judge-permanently-halts-indianas-illegal-voter-purge-method/

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana election officials are bracing for perhaps 10 times more mail-in ballots for this fall’s election than four years ago. Officials …
Indiana forecasts 10-fold jump for mail-in voting South Bend Tribune

Indiana could use a tutoring session on vote-by-mail procedure.  The state has received a “D” grade in its process, according to a Brookings Institution report, but political scientists aren’t surprised and don’t anticipate the state to put much effort into improving.  (Chicago Tribune)

Indiana families may now have more options in finding childcare as they juggle changes made by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as closed schools and a move to virtual or hybrid learning this fall.   (The Statehouse File)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday that it has approved a grant for Indiana under President Donald Trump’s supplemental unemployment insurance program.   (Indy Star)

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