10/25 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference:

Early voting began on Tuesday, October 6th and ends at Noon on Monday, November 2nd,
Find locations for early voting in Lake County: https://www.lakecountyin.org/cms?type=doc&name=/lcportal-cms/voters/IN_PERSON_VOTING_LOCATIONS.pdf
Find locations for early voting in Porter Country: https://porterco.org/1111/Early-Voting

If you are voting by mail, mail your ballot asap. It is due by noon on Election Day, November 3. An earlier court ruling allowing more time has been reversed. 
Court of Appeals reverses district judge’s order for Indiana to count absentee ballots through …Fox 59

Listen to what an elections debate can be for helping voters make decisions, full of content and respect. Listen also for the fantastic viable alternative Dr. Woody Myers makes to our current governor.

Listen to the second and final gubernatorial debate on Lakeshore Public Radio or TV at 6pm on October 27

Join us for a Virtual Town Hall with Pete Visclosky on October 29. He’ll give us an update before he leaves office. Register via our facebook page,

Check out this one-on-one interview with Dr. Woody Myers on Eric On Airhttps://cutt.ly/YgjSWS3

https://protecttheresults.com/ Please check out : www.protecttheresults.com in the event that Donald Trump refuses to accept the results. We will mobilize for action all across the country.


Signed into law:

Signed by the President on October 17 and enacted into law:

S. 743: Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act 
GovTrack.us: A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the soldiers of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly known as “Merrill’s Marauders”, in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service in the jungles of Burma during World War II.

S. 785: Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019
GovTrack.us: This bill makes updates related to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) transition assistance, mental health care, care for women veterans, and telehealth care.

S. 2661: National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to designate 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs must jointly report on how to make the use of 9-8-8 operational and effective across the country, and HHS must develop a strategy to provide access to competent, specialized services for high-risk populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth; minorities; and rural individuals.”

Signed by the president on October 20 and enacted into law:

S. 294: Native American Business Incubators Program Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes a grant program to provide business incubation and other business services to Native American entrepreneurs and businesses.
Specifically, the bill requires the Department of the Interior to establish a grant program in the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development for establishing and operating business incubators that serve Native American communities. A business incubator is an organization that (1) provides physical workspace and facilities resources to start-ups and established businesses, and (2) is designed to accelerate the growth and success of businesses through a variety of business support resources and services. Grant applicants may be institutions of higher education, private nonprofits, Native American tribes, or tribal nonprofits.”

H.R. 2372: Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires the Government Accountability Office to report on all memoranda of understanding and memoranda of agreement entered into by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with non-VA entities relating to suicide prevention and the provision or coordination of mental health services.”

S. 1321: Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill broadens the definition of protected computer, for purposes of computer fraud and abuse offenses, to include a computer that is part of a voting system.”

H.R. 4779: To extend the Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers beyond Borders Act of 2006, and for other purposes.
GovTrack.us: “This bill reauthorizes through FY2027 the U.S. SAFE WEB Act of 2006, which permits the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take certain actions to protect consumers from cross-border fraud and deception occurring over the internet. The bill further requires the FTC to report on its activities concerning cross-border, online fraud and provide any policy recommendations to address such fraud.”

H.R. 6168: Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase, as of December 1, 2020, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. The percentage increase in benefits shall be the same as the cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients.

Signed by the President on October 21 and enacted into law:

S. 209: PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill replaces the Tribal Self-Governance Demonstration Project with the Tribal Self-Governance Program. Under the program, Native American tribes or organizations may receive grants to plan for participation in self-governance and to negotiate the terms of participation.”

S. 881: PROSWIFT Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill sets forth provisions concerning improving the ability of the United States to forecast space weather events and mitigate the effects of space weather.”

S. 1380: Due Process Protections Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires a federal judge in criminal proceedings to issue an order confirming the obligation of the prosecutor to disclose exculpatory evidence.”

Actions in Congress

In the Senate:
On Tuesday the Senate Democrats prevented a $500 billion coronavirus bill from advancing to the floor for debate and vote. (Revell, Eric. “Senate Dems Block PPP Small Business Funds & Pre-Existing Protections Bill as GOP Rejects Schumer Adjournment Motion.” Causes. 20 October 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46313-senate-dems-block-ppp-small-business-funds-pre-existing-protections-bill-gop-rejects-schumer-adjournment-motion)
The bill failed again on Wednesday. (Hayes, Christal and Nicholas Wu. “Senate fails to pass $500 billion COVID-19 relief package as talks continue.” USA Today. 21 October 2020: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/21/covid-19-senate-take-up-500-billion-coronavirus-stimulus-bill/3713066001/)

On Thursday, the Republican majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate floor despite a boycott by all the Democratic members of committee . (Pecorin, Allison and Trish Turner. “Democrats boycotted the Judiciary Committee vote.” ABC News. 22 October 2020: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/senate-republicans-poised-move-barrett-nomination-final-vote/story?id=73738969)

A vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as an associate justice of the Supreme Court is expected Monday night. Only one Republican is expected to vote no, virtually assuring Barrett’s confirmation. (Revell, Eric. “Senate Sets Timeline for Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.” Causes. 24 October 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46344-senate-sets-timeline-confirming-judge-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court)

“The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and how it applies to big tech companies, featuring testimony from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.” (Revell, Eric. “This Week in Congress.” Causes. 24 October 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46344-senate-sets-timeline-confirming-judge-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court)

More on coronavirus relief:
Speaker Pelosi and the administration are still in negotiations over a coronavirus relief bill. The administration’s proposal is reportedly up to $1.9 trillion. Sticking points that remain are believed to be the final figures for unemployment support, educational funding and national testing, along with funding to local and state governments. In addition, democrats oppose liability protections contained in the package. (Colby, Clifford, Shelby Brown and Alison DeNisco Rayome. “What’s in the $1.8 trillion White House stimulus bill, anyway? What we know and don’t.” CNET. 25 October 2020: https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/whats-in-the-1-8-trillion-white-house-stimulus-bill-anyway-what-we-know-and-dont/)Read about bills that are trending on govtrack.ushttps://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/.

The House is in recess and isn’t expected to return until November 16, but may be recalled with 24 hours notice if coronavirus relief legislation compromise is reached.

To find and contact your Members of Congress:  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

In Other News

Trump’s rule to end food stamps for many unemployed has been stopped by the courts, for now.
(Weber, Peter. “Judge strikes down ‘arbitrary and capricious’ USDA rule ending food stamps for 700,000 unemployed. The Week. 19 October 2020: https://theweek.com/speedreads/944607/trump-reportedly-invited-waiter-into-secret-intelligence-briefing-room-order-milkshake.)

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a hastily called press conference that Iran and Russia were attempting to interfere in the election. He claimed that these were efforts meant to harm Trump despite reports of emails being sent from a group saying it was the Proud Boys and threatening democrats if they didn’t vote for the current president. FBI Director Wray assured voters that every measure to prevent foreign interference in the election is being taken and that their votes will count. This morning Google said it had blocked 90 percent of the purported emails.
(Alexander and Luke Barr. “Russia, Iran have obtained voter data in election interference campaign: DNI.” ABC News. 22 October 2020: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fbi-russia-iran-obtained-voter-data-election-interference/story?id=73750385)

A series of recent Supreme Court decisions suggest that “the high court… is poised to block election-related changes ordered by federal courts, while allowing state officials to make adjustments even without clear buy-in from the state legislature.” (Gerstein, Josh. “Supreme Court restores ban on curbside voting in Alabama.” Politico. 21 October 2020: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/21/alabama-curbside-voting-supreme-court-431130)

Key points and moments from the presidential debate from Causeshttps://www.causes.com/articles/46328-watch-comment-final-2020-presidential-debate-live-coverage

Lies, falsehoods and misleading statements during the debate, a rundown
from Politifacthttps://www.politifact.com/article/2020/oct/23/fact-checking-donald-trump-joe-biden-final-preside/
From the Associated Presshttps://apnews.com/article/ap-fact-check-final-debate-trump-biden-4d304cf7ce7dee9c228f48bd9b76e8f7
and from CNNhttps://www.cnn.com/2020/10/22/politics/fact-check-final-presidential-election-debate/index.html


See the top search engine results for justices on the ballot for Lake and Porter County.

Indiana’s unemployment rate dips slightly, but nearly 20000 drop out of labor force The Indianapolis Star

Indiana’s unemployment rate decreased slightly to 6.2% in September, but the number of people working or looking for jobs dipped by nearly 20,000 …Indiana’s unemployment continues decline WISHTV.com

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the state’s labor force had a net decrease of 19,691 over the previous month. The DWD says …
Indiana unemployment rate inches lower, ending string of big strides – Indianapolis Business Journal

Indiana providing rental assistance during virus outbreak nwitimes.com 
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Rental Assistance Portal is accepting applications for a program that provides eligible renters with up to six months in …

Study: Pandemic Learning Loss ‘Chilling’ For Indiana, Other States Indiana Public Media An average student in Indiana may have lost the equivalent of more than one year of learning during the pandemic’s first months when school …

Record 1M-plus Indiana voters requested early ballots Associated Press

At the 2016 Republican State Convention, it was Yorktown School Superintendent Jennifer McCormick versus Ft. Wayne educator Dawn Wooten in the race for the nomination of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Fast forward four years later, and it looks like there’s a rematch of sorts.  (Indy Politics)

The seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in Northwest Indiana increased 250% within the past month, and the seven-day positivity rate rose — even as a record number of tests were administered.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Gov. Eric Holcomb insists there is no need to reimpose statewide COVID-19 restrictions.  (WFIU)

The Republican candidate seeking to represent Northwest Indiana in Congress appears to endorse white supremacy in an item posted late Friday night to his Facebook page.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

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