11/29 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference:

Control of the Senate will depend upon the results of two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5. Here’s how you can help flip the Senate:

Send postcards with Flip the Westhttps://www.mobilize.us/flipthewest/event/362341/?fbclid=IwAR3beXw-Wlt__TDzaogNbSh1iQrPUtadlqF3egHhYJRJh_vBXdKWE80IvsM 
Sign up and you will be furnished with names and addresses as well as a script to use. You will need your own postcards.
Postcards can be purchased anywhere.
Through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Postcards/b?ie=UTF8&node=1069672

If you are able, one of the best ways to help is to donate:

New Georgia Project
Black Voters Matter
Indivisibles in GA
and/or to the candidates’ campaigns:
Raphael Warnock
Jon Osoff

Let’s do our part to help alleviate food insecurity, which is especially dire during these times and without any additional help from Congress.
Donate to or volunteer at Food Bank of NWI
Food Bank of NWI received a $100,000 donation to match money contributed so that each contribution will be doubled, now through Dec. 31. 
More about efforts of Food Bank of NWI to alleviate hunger this holiday season: https://foodbanknwi.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2020/11/Hope-For-The-Holidays-Flyer.pdf
For a list of local food pantries: https://www.foodpantries.org/st/indiana
Meals on Wheels, NWI: https://mownwi.org/


Trump’s lies are fueling the end of our democracy and unless Republican leaders and lawmakers speak out, he could be successful. The courts have spoken and have thrown out case after baseless case. But Trump’s rhetoric is, as always, drowning out the truth. Contact our senators and governor to demand that they speak out in the name of democracy, unless they want to be complicit in the end of this country’s form of government. Their silence may already have placed our democracy on shaky ground for years to come. 
Forbes and Axios published a list of Republicans who have acknowledged Biden’s victory. Indiana’s top Republicans were not among them.

Braun, Mike
374 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4814

Contact: www.braun.senate.gov/contact-mike

Young, Todd
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5623

Contact: www.young.senate.gov/contact

And the Governor:
Eric Holcomb
200 W. Washington St., Rm. 206, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone Number: 317-232-4567
To send an email click on
http://www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm then select “To contact the governor with questions or comments unrelated to the above, click here.”

In Congress

December 11 is the deadline for reaching a deal on funding the government for 2021.
For a detailed, easy-to-read summary about avoiding a government shutdown,, see Causes.com.

Top ranking appropriators in the House and Senate have reportedly reached a deal on spending levels; lawmakers can now draft a spending package to fund the government for 2021. A funding package must be passed by Dec. 11 to avoid a partial government shutdown. (Revell, Eric. “Bipartisan, Bicameral Deal on Spending Levels Reached as Lawmakers Work to Approve Omnibus Before December 11th Deadline.” Causes. 25 November 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46575-bipartisan-bicameral-deal-spending-levels-reached-lawmakers-work-approve-omnibus-december-11th-deadline.)

Legislation coming up:

H.R. 3884: Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019
Govtrack.us: “To decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, to provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, to provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses, and for other purposes.”

H.Res. 17: Expressing concern over the detention of Austin Tice, and for other purposes.
GovTrack.us: “This resolution expresses concern about the capture and detention of journalist Austin Tice near Damascus, Syria. It encourages the Department of State, the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and other U.S. government entities to engage with Syria to facilitate Tice’s safe release.”

S. 199: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act (passed the Senate, may be considered in the House in this coming week)
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the Department of Agriculture to transfer to the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to approximately 11,760 acres of identified federal land in the Chippewa National Forest in Cass County, Minnesota. Immediately upon transfer, the federal land shall be held in trust for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and considered as a part of its reservation. The federal land shall not become eligible or be used for gaming activities under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

S. 945: Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (passed the Senate, may be considered in the House in this coming week)
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires certain issuers of securities to establish that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government. Specifically, an issuer must make this certification if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to audit specified reports because the issuer has retained a foreign public accounting firm not subject to inspection by the board. Furthermore, if the board is unable to inspect the issuer’s public accounting firm for three consecutive years, the issuer’s securities are banned from trade on a national exchange or through other methods.”

H.R. 3571: City and State Diplomacy Act
GovTrack.us: “Should foreign policy be the exclusive dominion of the executive branch and Congress?…The federal government has the sole power to undertake certain actions in foreign affairs, such as make treaties or declare war. The Supreme Court held 7–1 in the 1968 decision Zschernig v. Miller that a state couldn’t intrude into the federal realm of foreign affairs.
But cities and states have increasingly been taking other actions that aren’t solely in the federal government’s realm of foreign affairs. These include “negotiating and signing trans-border agreements, forming international coalitions, and lobbying for certain policy changes at the United Nations,” writes the Rand Corporation.” Read a thorough summary at govtrack.us.

H.R. 4153: Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to enter arrangements for the sharing of medical facilities and services with urban Indian organizations. The VA and DOD shall reimburse an urban Indian organization where services are provided to beneficiaries eligible for services from either department.”

H.R. 4403: Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act of 2019
GovTrack.us: “To amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to restrict the debt collection practices of certain debt collectors.”

H.R. 5517: Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act
GovTrack.us: “To affirm the friendship of the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of India, and to establish a bilateral partnership for collaboration to advance development and shared values, and for other purposes.”

H.Res. 958: Condemning the practice of politically motivated imprisonment and calling for the immediate release of political prisoners in the Russian Federation and urging action by the United States Government to impose sanctions with respect to persons responsible for that form of human rights abuse.
GovTrack.us: “This resolution condemns political imprisonments in Russia and calls on Russia to release its political prisoners. The resolution also urges the United States to advocate for the release of such prisoners and to identify the Russian officials responsible for their imprisonment.”

H.R. 7903: To amend the Small Business Act to establish the Community Advantage Loan Program.
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes through FY2025 a Community Advantage Loan Program under which the Small Business Administration (SBA) may guarantee loans made by covered institutions to small business concerns in underserved markets.”

H.R. 8211: 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: “To amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to improve the loan guaranty program, enhance the ability of small manufacturers to access affordable capital, and for other purposes.”

More bills than those listed may be considered in Congress during the coming week. Find a list and links to the text of these bills at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/.
Expected activity in the Senate includes judicial nominees and once again the controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, Judy Shelton. For more on Senate activities along with brief summaries of bills the House will consider see causes.com.

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

In Other News

President-elect Biden has announced several nominations for posts in his cabinets. It’s a diverse slate of nominees who bring deep experience to their roles. Most will need Senate confirmation, which may well hinge on the results of the Georgia election on Jan. 5. ( Revell, Eric. “President-Elect Joe Biden Announces Nominations to Cabinet, Administration Posts.” Causes. 23 November 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46565-president-elect-joe-biden-announces-nominations-cabinet-administration-posts.)
For a list of who has been selected so far, see CNN Politics.

Trump pardoned convicted former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who lied about connections to and conversations with Russia during the 2016 Presidential transition. (Herman, Josh. “IT: Trump pardons Flynn & ? Thanksgiving during COVID.” Causes. 26 November 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46582-trump-pardons-flynn-thanksgiving-covid.)

Vaccine priority will be given to healthcare workers first, likely followed by essential workers.
(Branswell, Helen. “‘Essential workers’ likely to get earlier access to Covid-19 vaccine.” Stat. 24 November 2020: https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/23/essential-workers-likely-to-get-earlier-access-to-covid-19-vaccine/.) 

The Courts:

The Supreme Court ruled against New York’s restrictions on religious entities to limit gatherings in areas of high COVID cases. It’s a reversal of a similar case from California that was decided in favor of such restrictions. (“Coronavirus News: Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls Supreme Court ruling against NY COVID restrictions on houses of worship ‘irrelevant’.” ABC Eyewitness News. 26 November 2020: https://abc7ny.com/supreme-court-cuomo-scotus-new-york-covid-restrictions/8267465/.)

Trump wants to exclude undocumented immigrants from the final census count. That would be unprecedented and would reallocate federal funding from cities to less populated areas. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the argument. (Williams, Jordan. “Supreme Court to hear arguments on Trump administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census.” The Hill. 28 November 2020: https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/527810-supreme-court-to-hear-arguments-on-trump-administrations-attempt-to.)

Cases that will be argued before the Supreme Court in December include the above and others. (Revell, Eric. “Unauthorized Immigrants in the Census, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, and More on the Supreme Court’s December Docket.” Causes. 28 November 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46584-unauthorized-immigrants-census-foreign-sovereign-immunities.)

Progress of election lawsuits

The Trump campaign’s appeal to contest the results of already certified results in Pennsylvania has failed. The federal court upheld the results of a lower court ruling. The campaign say they will appeal to the Supreme Court. (Coleman, Justine. “Trump campaign loses appeal over Pennsylvania race.” The Hill. 27 November 2020: https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/527733-trump-campaign-loses-appeal-over-pennsylvania-race,)

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Rep. Mike Kelly and other republicans charging that absentee ballots should be invalidated. (Polantz, Katelyn. “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses another election case brought by Republicans.” CNN Politics. 28 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/1hjgxBi.)

The Trump campaign financed recount of the two most populous—and Democratic—counties in Wisconsin finished Sunday with a net gain of 132 votes for Joe Biden. Trump and other Republicans say they will file lawsuits tomorrow claiming illegal ballots were counted during the process. (“Completed Wisconsin recount confirms Biden’s win over Trump.” AP News. 29 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/4hjnosN.)


Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced that 65%, or 3,068,542 of Indiana’s 4.7 million registered voters, cast a vote in the Nov. 3 General Election. (My Wabash Valley)

Indiana issued an appeal to the Supreme Court to a Federal Court decision allowing same sex couples to be listed of the birth certificates of their children. Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to rule that states have the right to deny same-sex parents legal recognition as parents to their own children. (Guerilus, Stephanie. “Indiana asks US Supreme Court to deny parental rights to same-sex couples.” Yahoo News. 25 November 2020: https://news.yahoo.com/indiana-asks-us-supreme-court-201000259.html.)
Indiana’s attorney general submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that it should reverse a federal appeals court’s ruling that allowed both members of same-sex couples in Indiana to be listed as parents on the birth certificates of their children.  (South Bend Tribune)

Indiana lawmakers look to expand broadband Fox 59
INDIANAPOLIS – The pandemic is illustrating the importance of a stable internet connection in Indiana. Many Hoosiers have been without it as they try …

Indiana investigation could imperil new casino projects Fox 59
The Indiana Gaming Commission has more than 10 people under investigation for possible financial misconduct that would violate state casino laws …Indiana investigation could imperil new casino projects – MyWabashValley.com
Indiana investigation could imperil new casino projects – Seymour Tribune

Critics: Indiana panel’s report could lead to coal bailout nwitimes.com
The 21st Century Energy Task Force, formed by Indiana’s General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session and co-chaired by Rep. Ed Soliday, R- …

Indiana AG files multistate brief against using public nuisance laws against power companies
Indiana Environmental Reporter
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to finally decide whether public nuisance laws can be used to sue …

Indiana cigarette tax proposal raises questions on spending Evening News and Tribune
Indiana’s 21.8% adult smoking rate is one of the highest in the nation, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has …
Indiana cigarette tax proposal raises questions on spending WLKY Louisville
Indiana legislative leaders are willing to increase the state’s cigarette tax but say any measure must include specifics on how the new revenue will be …

A Gary, Indiana, ordinance that limited how city officials could cooperate with federal immigration authorities was struck down recently by a Lake County judge.  (WFYI)

School funding issue persists as Indiana lawmakers reconvene Huron Daily Tribune
Members in the House of Representatives listen as Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston speaks during Organization Day at the Statehouse, Tuesday, …

Caesars gets year extension for selling Indiana casino Fox 59
The Indiana Gaming Commission voted this past week to give the Nevada-based company an extension from what had been a Dec. 31 deadline.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing officials at a northern Indiana school, alleging that they violated a Black student’s constitutional rights by sending him home for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the text, “I hope I don’t get killed for being Black today.”  (AP Indiana)

Lisa Montgomery is now the fourth federal death row inmate to have an execution date scheduled in the final five weeks of President Donald Trump’s term. The Department of Justice rescheduled Lisa Montgomery’s execution for January 12th, 2021.  (WFIU)

No slowing of Indiana COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths WKRC TV Cincinnati
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients has remained at record levels during the Thanksgiving weekend as the …COVID-19 Update: Indiana Reports 4535 New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, 66 Deaths – CBS Chicago

Indiana coronavirus deaths continue to rise – Local News DigitalIndiana is in need of more traveling nurses with the rising number of coronavirus cases.  Almost 1,000 positions are open across the state. (WIBC)

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