11/01 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference:

If you requested an absentee ballot, but never received it or changed your mind and now want to vote in person instead of by absentee ballot, follow these rules from the State of Indiana: https://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2402.htm
“On Election Day, a voter who requested an absentee ballot but never received it in the mail may complete the PRE-5 affidavit at their polling location and vote a regular ballot, if otherwise qualified; ORA voter may surrender their absentee ballot to the Inspector, who can then issue a regular ballot, if the voter is otherwise qualified; ORA voter who had their absentee ballot rejected by county officials may appear before the county election board not later than 5PM on Election Day to request an ABS-21 form and then go to their polling place to vote a regular ballot, if otherwise qualified.”

If you want to return your mail-in ballot, YOU MUST RETURN IT TO YOUR COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE BY NOON ON NOVEMBER 3. Finally, pursuant to state law, only the voter, the voter’s attorney-in-fact, a bonded courier, or a member of the voter’s immediate household may hand-deliver a completed absentee ballot to the county election board. Any person other than the voter doing so is to complete the ABS-19 affidavit. County election officials must receive an absentee-by-mail ballot not later than noon (local prevailing time) on Election Day, November 3, 2020. County election officials must have possession of the ballot by this deadline; postmarks – even if dated on or before the date of the election – cannot be considered timely.

Find your polling place: https://indianavoters.in.gov/ From there, click on ‘Find Your Polling Place’.

Protect the Results-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.

The Fight Continues Post Election Day Rally
Join the rally at Harrison Park in Hammond on Saturday Nov. 7th in defense of our democratic rights and the struggle against racism. The rally will include an open discussion about how best to advance our collective fight, whatever the election results are. No matter what happens on Nov. 3rd, our struggle for a better world must continue. https://www.facebook.com/events/275220163798092/

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

Get involved in the Biden campaign: https://joebiden.com/ . Click on ‘action center’ to learn how.


Actions in Congress

The status of potential coronavirus relief legislation is precarious. Mitch McConnell said such legislation is needed, but it will be January at the earliest. He still says it needs to be far more narrow than the latest House bill or the $2.1 trillion Speaker Pelosi has proposed. Speaker Pelosi says such relief must come much sooner than January. Trump predicted a bill shortly after the election, predicated presumably on his victory. (Dolcourt, Jessica and Clifford Colby. “Elections are on Tuesday. What happens next will shape stimulus negotiations for another check, more.” CNET. 01 November 2020: https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/elections-are-on-tuesday-what-happens-next-will-shape-stimulus-negotiations-for-another-check-more/)

Without a stimulus bill there will be more unemployed, more evictions, more small business closings, a precipitously declining economy. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are gambling they won’t be blamed. Really? (Egan, Matt. “How Washington’s stimulus gamble could backfire.” CNN Politics. 27 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/egRo1wW)

Speaker Pelosi and Mark Meadows continued to negotiate a coronavirus relief bill early in the week, although negotiations were tense with accusations being made against both sides. Realistically there is no chance that such a bill will pass in the week before the election. (Duster, Chandelis, Rebecca Grandahl and Nicky Robertson. “Pelosi and Meadows trade accusations over stimulus talks in sign deal remains elusive.” CNN Politics. 25 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/Igm1keE.)

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed and sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Monday.
(Lisa Mascaro. “Barrett confirmed as Supreme Court justice in partisan vote.” APNews. 27 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/vgWUVgZ)

Congress has adjourned until Nov. 9 for the Senate and Nov. 16 for the House. For legislation that is trending and of interest, particularly in terms of election law and changes to the courts, see govtrack.us

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

In Other News

During the Trump administration, Canada replaced the United States as the number one country to offer sanctuary to refugees. Trump has severely limited the number allowed into the United States just as nearly 80 million are fleeing life threatening situations. Biden will expand refugee protections if elected. He will raise the current cap of 15,000 to 125,000. (Snow, Anita and Julie Watson. “Under Trump, US no longer leads world on refugee protections” AP News. 27 October 2020: https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-politics-virus-outbreak-immigration-immigration-policy-1f8c91e31fba158126f8e91c1453b13f)

DeVos says she’ll let religious groups seek charter grants
It’s the first shot fired in what’s likely to be a lengthy legal battle over charter schools and religion in the wake of two recent Supreme Court decisions. According to the law charter schools can not be associated with religious institutions.

Stanford University economists have published a paper detailing a study concluding that 700 coronavirus deaths and 30,000 infections have been linked to Trump rallies between June and September, including those held outside. (Lim, David. “Study links Trump rallies to more than 700 Covid deaths.” Politico. 31 October 2020: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/31/trump-study-coronavirus-rallies-433760)

Exclusive: Russian hackers targeted California, Indiana Democratic parties Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The group of Russian hackers accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election earlier this year targeted the …

The results of the election will have a number of real consequences for local schools. (Belsha, Kalyn and Matt Barnum. “8 big consequences next week’s elections could have for K-12 schools.” Chalkbeat. October 2020: https://www.chalkbeat.org/2020/10/28/21538687/eight-big-consequences-2020-elections-could-have-for-schools.)

Fact check the final arguments of the candidates:
Biden: https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/oct/27/fact-checking-joe-bidens-closing-arguments-2020-ca/ Trump: https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/oct/27/fact-checking-donald-trumps-closing-arguments-2020/
I really like that Biden attributes his statements to the source, backing up what he is saying, so we know it is not his opinion, but fact. The President does not do that, at most citing, “I’ve heard.” or ‘Many people say.”

The Courts:

The all Republican Texas Supreme Court has denied the effort to invalidate 127,000 votes cast by drive through voting in Harris County, a predominately democratic county. The fight will continue in federal court with a hearing scheduled for Monday morning. (McCullough, Jolie. “Texas Supreme Court rejects Republican-led effort to throw out nearly 127,000 Harris County votes.” Texas Tribune. 01 November 2020: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/11/01/texas-drive-thru-votes-harris-county/)

The Supreme Court approved counting the ballots after election day in Pennsylvania, but not in Wisconsin. (de Vogue, Ariane. “Supreme Court rejects Democratic attempt to extend Wisconsin mail-in voting deadline.” CNN Politics. 26 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/0gWRaMb)

The Associated Press details what’s ahead for the Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett on the bench. (Isherman, Mark. “Issues important to Trump await Barrett on Supreme Court.” AP News. 27 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/BgWIxSS.) and
(Biesecker, Michael and Bfrian Slodysko. “Barrett ads tied to interest groups funded by unnamed donors.” AP News. 26 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/tgWIA4m.)

After the court found that Trump was not acting in his official capacity as president when he denied allegations of rape brought by E. Jean Carroll, the Justice Department sought to substitute itself in place of Trump. That moved was also denied. (Orden, Erica. “Judge denies DOJ effort to end E. Jean Carroll defamation suit against Trump.” CNN Politics. 27 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/EgEz0M8)


Takeaways from Tuesday’s final Indiana governor debate
South Bend Tribune
Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb participates in the final gubernatorial debate with Democrat Woody Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater, …
In the second gubernatorial debate, Republican incumbent Eric Holcomb, Democrat Dr. Woody Myers, and Libertarian Don Rainwater answered questions concerning a number of issues including jobs, rural broadband, legal marijuana, vaccines, and infant mortality.  (Indy Politics)

What to know about Indiana’s Attorney General race
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Attorney General is seen as one of the most powerful positions in the state, but the role of the AG can be up to …
What to know about Indiana’s Attorney General race – Fox 59

Indiana education chief bucks party politics to try to oust officials who stood in her way
Republican Jennifer McCormick has endorsed Democrats who she believes would help improve education in Indiana. McCormick is finishing her term as state education chief.

Governor candidates announce secretary of education nominees for 2021 Statehouse File

Only four school corporations in Indiana (including the Gary Community School Corporation) are seeking voter-approval on funding referendums in the Nov. 3 general election.  (WFYI)

McCormick asks Indiana lawmakers to avoid school funding cuts, restrict charter schools
State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick is making policy recommendations for Indiana lawmakers and whoever becomes the state’s next top education official.

Frank Mrvan, Democrat running for retiring Pete Visclosky’s seat in Congress greeted each voter waiting in line to vote early at Wicker Park Social Center. He introduced himself and explained some of his accomplishments and what he hopes to do in Congress. The last day to vote early will be Monday from 8:30-12. All mail in ballots must be returned to the county election office by noon on Tuesday. (Carden, Dan. “Mrvan hustles for every vote in waning days of 2020 election campaign.: NWI Times. 30 October 2020: https://cutt.ly/agIQ6Ex.)

Gov. Eric Holcomb has a comfortable lead heading into the Nov. 3 election, according to a poll released Tuesday from Washington, D.C.-based Cygnal.  (Indy Star)

Big money has been pouring in for a closing days rush to protect the legislative seat for one of the top Republicans in the Indiana Statehouse.  (AP Indiana)

Indiana voters cannot ask state courts to extend polling hours on Election Day if there are problems at the polls.  (WFYI)

The flood of Indiana voters choosing mail-in ballots or heading to early voting sites has kept up as the final votes are being cast in this year’s election.  (AP Indiana)

Indiana’s 1.5M-Plus Early Votes Expected to Delay Results
NBC Chicago
The flood of Indiana voters choosing mail-in ballots or heading to early voting sites has kept up as the final votes are being cast in this year’s election.
Indiana’s 1.5M-plus early votes expected to delay results – CT Post

Watch Indivisible NWI’s final townhall with Congressman Pete Visclosky. He offered important insights into Washington politics and the future. Go to the Facebook page of Indivisible Northwest Indiana, https://www.facebook.com/indivisiblenorthwestindiana/videos/837740997041369.

Indiana has received federal approval to extend its Healthy Indiana Plan, which provides health insurance for more than 572,000 low-income Hoosiers, through December 2030.  (IBJ)

Officials Break Ground on Commuter Rail Expansion
In a video statement, U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky said he hopes it will also lead to further expansion. “Remember that there remains a great …
US Transportation Department funds to aid Indiana transportation project
Transportation Today
Indiana officials said the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) West Lake Corridor Project is funded through a mix of federal, state, …

Indiana depends on federal government money more than most
Indiana receives $1.37 in federal money for every dollar of taxes paid. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 33% of the state’s total revenues came …
The states receiving the most federal funds are all Republican leaning, including Indiana, which likely will see a 12% drop in federal monies in 2021.

Indiana Gets Federal Money To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water
Indiana received a federal grant to help update water infrastructure and keep children safe from lead. Among other things, children exposed to lead …
Indiana Gets Federal Money To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water – Northeast Indiana Public Radio
Full Coverage

The Purdue Ag Economy Barometer continues to show optimism recovering in the agriculture industry after a record drop this spring in response to COVID-19. However, farmers are less optimistic on the trade front than earlier this year.  (WFIU)

Indiana Governor Extends Public Health Emergency Declaration 30 Days
Eagle 99.3 FM WSCH
The public healthy emergency declaration was set to expire on Sunday. (Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has extended the state’s …
Holcomb extends Indiana COVID-19 emergency until at least Dec. 1 – nwitimes.com
Occam’s razor and Indiana’s COVID comeback – KPCnews.com
Occam’s razor and Indiana’s COVID comeback – The Elkhart Truth

Indiana coronavirus: IN reports 3505 COVID-19 cases, 46 deaths
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is reporting more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases for the third straight day as the state’s new COVID-19 cases and …
Over 3500 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Indiana – Evening News and Tribune
Indiana reports 3505 new cases of COVID-19, 46 additional deaths – wpta21.com
Indiana reports 3000-plus new COVID-19 cases for 3rd day – Quad-Cities Online

53 Indiana counties labeled higher-risk for COVID-19 spread
Fox 59
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana State Department of Health on Wednesday again increased the number of counties designated as higher-risk …

National Guard to deploy to long-term care facilities across Indiana, limited vaccine supply …
Fox 59
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said members of the Indiana National Guard are set to deploy to long-term care facilities across the …
The Indiana National Guard is being deployed to help with testing, reporting test results, screening employees and simple infection control practices in long-term care facilities. A limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine is expected in late November. It will be distributed to the most vulnerable populations and healthcare workers. Fifty-five percent of the deaths in Indiana were people who lived in long-term care facilities. Dr. Box said that a widely available—for all people of all ages—vaccine is still months away. The state is also adding more contact tracers.

Indiana provides first look at COVID-19 vaccination plans Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials have released a first look at Indiana’s plan for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, whenever one becomes …

Indiana coronavirus updates: Schools seeing an increase in cases; U.S. Dept. of Health sending millions of antigen tests the state WTHR 13
More than 600 quarantined throughout NWI schools as cases around Indiana continue to climb Post-Tribune

Holcomb Defends Virus Response, IOSHA Issues COVID-Related LTC Citations
Indiana Public Media

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