01/10 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Read what’s next with Indivisible and how you can be involved:

The Indivisible Guide to what’s next: https://indivisible.org/democracy-guide

Indivisible NWI will have a The People Lead meeting with details for how you can work to fix our democracy, on impeachment and to influence important legislation. We will meet via Zoom on Wednesday, January 13 at 5:30. But before that you can start working. It’s easy. Look for information tomorrow in your email and on our Facebook page.

We MUST make our voices heard:
In order to unify the country, Republicans MUST speak up for truth. Constituents must strongly and repeatedly press their representatives and senators to speak truth now. (“Speak up now if you want to see change.” KPC News. 09 January 2021: https://www.kpcnews.com/opinions/article_bf915cc1-31bb-59a6-8f2d-b66a4dbd3e63.html.)
Contact Senator Braun:
Email: https://braun.senate.gov/contact-mike
Phone: 202-224-4814

Contact Senator Young:
Email: https://www.young.senate.gov/contact/email-todd
Phone: 202-224-5623

Contact other MOCs: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Contact Governor Holcomb:
Email: https://www.in.gov/gov/governor-holcomb/ask-eric/
Phone: 317-232-4567

Let’s do our part to help alleviate food insecurity, which is especially dire during these times.

Donate to or volunteer at Food Bank of NWI

For a list of local food pantries: https://www.foodpantries.org/st/indiana

Meals on Wheels, NWI: https://mownwi.org/


In Congress this past week:

House Bill H.R. 22
This bill requires that the cost of all legislation passed be entered into a searchable database. For more detail see Causes.

Signed by the President, Enacted into law:

H.R. 1966 (116th): Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act of 2019

H.R. 2468 (116th): School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act

H.R. 4031 (116th): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019

H.R. 4356 (116th): Protecting Families of Fallen Servicemembers Act

H.R. 5273 (116th): Securing America’s Ports Act

H.R. 5458 (116th): Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary Modification Act

H.R. 5663 (116th): Safeguarding Therapeutics Act

Congress accepted the electoral votes submitted by the states early in the morning on January 7, following objections raised by a majority of republican representatives in the House and a handful in the Senate. The first objection was to the certified results in Arizona. That vote was supported by 121 House Republicans. Three Indiana representatives joined that objection: James Baird, Jim Banks, and Jackie Walorski. Seven Senators joined the objection to accepting the results from Pennsylvania.
Although objections were made to accepting the results from other swing states, none were supported by any senators, which is required for the objection to move to debate and then a vote.
The two debated objections were overwhelming denied by a vote in the Senate and then the House. (Sprunt, Barbara. “Here Are The Republicans Who Objected To The Electoral College Count.” NPR. 07 January 2021: https://cutt.ly/ejzs3IE.)
The second objection to accepting the votes from Pennsylvania was supported by an even larger number of House Republicans than the first objection and failed 138-282. (Solender, Andres. “Majority Of House Republicans Vote To Reject Pennsylvania, Arizona Electors.” Forbes. 07 January 2021: https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2021/01/07/majority-of-house-republicans-vote-to-reject-pennsylvania-arizona-electors/?sh=3dd1c81f6957.)
See the vote. Greg Pence joined the above three in voting yea to the objection from Pennsylvania.
Indiana House Republicans who voted no to both objections were Larry Bushon, Trey Hollingsworth and Victoria Spartz.

There is ongoing discussion about how to remove Trump from office immediately. Likely in response and to get back his Twitter account, Trump released a video that acknowledged the transition, but he didn’t concede or say the election was not fraudulent. And he lied saying he immediately called out the National Guard; no one did that quickly and it was likely Pence who finally did. Also, while he robotically condemned the violence, the day before he told the rioters he loved them. (Herman, Josh. “IT: ? Impeachment? 25th Amendment? ‘Orderly’ transition?” Causes. 08 January 2021: https://www.causes.com/articles/46743-impeachment-25th-amendment-orderly-transition.)

The House is moving forward with impeachment. McCarthy, after opposing electoral college votes even after the insurrection attempt, disingenuously called for unity. Rep. Jamie Raskin introduced a bill to tap into unused authority provided by the 25th amendment. (Herman, Josh. “Pelosi Calls for Trump to Resign, Warns of Possible Impeachment Next Week.” Causes. 09 January 2021: https://www.causes.com/articles/46752-pelosi-calls-trump-resign-warns-possible-impeachment-week.)

It seems like years, but remember what is likely that illegal and impeachable phone call?
Here’s the full transcript of President Trump’s call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the president asks the official to ‘find’ votes to change the result. (Amy, Jeff, Darlene Superville and Jonathan Lemire. “GA election officials reject Trump call to ‘find’ more votes.” AP News. 04 January 2021. https://apnews.com/article/trump-raffensperger-phone-call-georgia-d503c8b4e58f7cd648fbf9a746131ec9)

Read a brief run-down of truths and falsehoods of the day, along with election fraud rhetoric. (“A day of crisis at the US Capitol, fact-checked.” Politifact. 06 January 2021: https://www.politifact.com/article/2021/jan/06/day-crisis-us-capitol-fact-checked/.)

There was plenty of advance warning for what would happen Jan. 6. Plans circulated throughout social media platforms like Parler, and also on mainstream ones like Twitter and TikTok. (Lytvynenko, Jane and Molly Hensley-Clancy. “The Rioters Who Took Over The Capitol Have Been Planning Online In The Open For Weeks.” https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/janelytvynenko/trump-rioters-planned-online.)

Police planning and response to the mob violence on Wednesday was inadequate at best, and very likely guided by racial and cultural bias. (Orso, Anna. “‘If they were Black’.” Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 January 2021: https://www.inquirer.com/news/a/insurrection-black-lives-matter-comparison-activists-philadelphia-20210107.html.)

The Maryland governor had 500 National Guard Troops standing by ready to be deployed. Despite frantic calls from leadership inside the Capital, it was 90 minutes before the required approval to send them came from the federal level. (“Maryland governor said he was repeatedly denied authorization to send National Guard to D.C.” The Week. 08 January 2021: https://cutt.ly/Gjk7aSI.)

Calls mount for a thorough investigation of events on Jan. 6. This violent coup attempt was likely a well-orchestrated attack involving inside and outside help. (Cheney, Kyle, Sarah Ferris and Laura Barron-Lopez. “Inside job’: House Dems ask if Capitol rioters had hidden help.” Politico. 08 January 2021: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/congress-democrats-capitol-riot-inside-job-456725.)

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

In other news:

Well said, Michelle Obama. It’s up to us ALL, each and every one of us to do our part to move this country to a better democracy, one that works for everyone. “It’s up to each of us to do our part. To reach out. To listen. And to hold tight to the truth and values that have always led this country forward…” (Dixon, Emily. “Michelle Obama Said She “Hurts For Our Country” After Capitol Breach.” Yahoo News, Marie Claire. 08 January 2021: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/michelle-obama-said-she-hurts-124300698.html.)

As anticipated, Trump will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration; it is likely Mike Pence will attend. (Morrow, Brendan. “Trump confirms he won’t attend Biden’s inauguration.” The Week. 08 January: https://theweek.com/speedreads/959744/trump-confirms-wont-attend-bidens-inauguration)

Google and Apple have suspended Parler from its its app stores and Amazon will no longer host Parler. (Polus, Sarah. “Amazon suspends Parler from web hosting service.” The Hill. 10 January 2021: https://cutt.ly/4jxvSCS.)

In order to unify the country Republicans MUST speak up for truth. Constituents must strongly and repeatedly press their representatives and senators to speak truth now. (“Speak up now if you want to see change.” KPC News. 09 January 2021: https://www.kpcnews.com/opinions/article_bf915cc1-31bb-59a6-8f2d-b66a4dbd3e63.html.)

In Mitt Romney’s words,  “The best way we could show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.” (Associated Press. Romney: ‘The best way we could show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth’. ABC4 Utah. 07 January 2021: https://www.abc4.com/news/politics/romney-the-best-way-we-could-show-respect-for-the-voters-who-are-upset-is-by-telling-them-the-truth/amp/.)

After several governors requested that reserved doses of the vaccines be released, the Biden administration has agreed. (Murrey, Sara. “Exclusive: Biden will release nearly all available vaccine doses in break from Trump administration policy of holding back stock for second dose.” CNN Politics. 08 January 2021: https://cutt.ly/rjk35eO.)

The economy lost 140,000 jobs for December, the first such job loss since the April. The jobless rate remained flat at 6.7%. (Revell, Eric. “U.S. Economy Lost 140K Jobs in First Decline Since April Amid Renewed COVID-19 Lockdowns.” Causes. 08 January 2021: https://www.causes.com/articles/46748-u-s-economy-lost-140k-jobs-decline-april-amid-renewed-covid-19-lockdowns.)

No charges will be filed against the white officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, WI. (Richmond, Todd and Michael Tarm. “No charges against Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake.” Politico. 06 January 2021: https://apnews.com/article/kyle-rittenhouse-pleads-not-guilty-cf6228f55a4f2a5fdd66978e5523a912.)


Top fifty politicians and policy makers that will likely influence Indiana politics and policy in 2021 have been named, along with disturbing information for Democrats, “Hoosier Republicans now control 88% of all county elected offices, or 1,330 out of 1,509. This comes on top of holding all of the Statehouse constitutional offices, nine out of 11 congressional offices, 71 mayoral offices after a 19-office increase in 2019, while it has maintained super majorities in the Indiana House (71 out of 100) and Senate (40 out of 50).” Read an interesting dive into who’s who in Indiana politics. (Howey, Brian. “HOWEY: 2021 Power 50 List comes in time of crisis.” WTHR. 08 January 2021: https://www.wthr.com/article/news/politics/2021-power-50-list-comes-in-time-of-crisis/531-51dffacc-f170-4916-8f17-88d7df37e3d4.)

Todd Young waited until Wednesday to fully acknowledge the results of the election in saying he would not support objections to the states certified electoral votes:
“Outside the Senate Russell Office Building, U.S. Sen. Todd Young was confronted by a crowd of his Hoosier constituents. Asked why he didn’t join Indiana colleague Mike Braun in contested the Electoral College results, an emotional and masked Young said, “My opinion doesn’t matter. And you know what, when it comes to the law, our opinions don’t matter, the law matters. The law matters. I share that conviction that President Trump should remain president. I share that conviction, but the law matters. I took an oath under God, under God!” 
In a statement, Young said, “As Congress meets to formally receive the votes of the Electoral College, I will uphold my Constitutional duty and certify the will of the states as presented. The people voted and the Electoral College voted. Congress must fulfill its role in turn. Like so many of my patriotic constituents and colleagues, I too wish the results of this election were different. I strongly supported President Trump and his agenda the last four years. I campaigned hard for him. But upon assuming this office, I took a solemn, inviolable oath to support and defend our Constitution, just as I did as a United States Marine. I will not violate that oath.” Read more about the day and the politicians involved. ( Howey, Brian. “HPI Analysis: Banana States of America.” 07 January 2021: https://howeypolitics.com/Content/HPI-News/-HPI-News/Article/HPI-Analysis-Banana-States-of-America/39/123/25349.)

Todd Rokita, Indiana’s attorney general-elect, sent out a tweet Friday evening that pledged continuing support to President Donald Trump. It was posted the same day that Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account and two days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.   (Indy Star)

The Indiana legislative session began with a flurry of introductions of bills. Many were assigned to committee. See the schedule here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/senate/session_calendar/

And the bills filed so far: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/

Legislators are moving quickly to head off lawsuits against businesses over coronavirus infections.  (WIBC)

S.B. 1 provides for civil immunity from liability due to COVID 19. This bill does not grant immunity from civil liability to a person whose actions or omissions constitute gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct as proven by clear and convincing evidence. See related H.B. 1002 Civil immunity related to COVID 19.

S.B. 4 Health Care Provider Immunity

Indiana lawmakers are expediting two similar bills intended to ensure schools receive full funding for all students, regardless of whether they are receiving instruction virtually or in the classroom due to the coronavirus pandemic.  (AP Indiana)

S.B. 2 provides a continuity of funding to schools who are providing virtual learning. Establishes a definition of “virtual instruction” for purposes of determining a school corporation’s basic tuition support using the 2021 spring count of average daily membership.
See related H.B. 1003.

S.B. 3 clarifies the definition and use of telehealth as it relates to medicaid reimbursement.

S.B. 5 Appeal of local health enforcement actions. Establishes an appeals process before legislative bodies of enforcement actions taken by local boards of health and local health officers.

H.B. 1133 Vote by mail. Requires that all elections be conducted by mail beginning with elections in 2024. 

Legislators’ call for more say in state emergency declarations now has some specifics.   (WIBC)

H.B. 1123 State of disaster emergencies

H.B. 1049 Legislative sessions

House Concurrent Resolution 2 A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION terminating the public health emergency first declared on March 6, 2020, in Executive Order 20-02.

Governor Holcomb’s not signing on just yet to a bill that would modify his emergency powers.  (WIBC)

Businesses fined or closed for violating local pandemic restrictions would get a second avenue for appeal under a bill backed by Senate Republicans.  (WIBC)
S.B. 5 Appeal of local health enforcement actions

Indiana housing advocates say they are worried the GOP-controlled Indiana General Assembly will override a veto made last year by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb of a controversial landlord-tenant bill and are raising alarms to try to stop it.  (IBJ)

Indiana Senate Democrats unveiled their agenda for 2021.  (Indy Politics)

Indiana House Republicans expanded their supermajority in the 2020 election, going from 67 seats to 71. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the caucus will change how it governs.  (WFIU)

Anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions have become more prevalent among Hoosiers since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s top health officials said in calling for renewed attention on mental health resources.  (AP Indiana)

The South Shore Line’s Double Track project received its final funding commitment Thursday when the Federal Transit Administration entered an agreement to provide $173 million of the project’s $491 million cost.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Over the holidays, the federal government signed a law that would increase unemployment benefits to out-of-work Hoosiers. But Indiana has not yet announced when it will begin sending out an additional $300 in unemployment benefits.  (WFYI)

Small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for a new round of Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans starting Monday.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

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