6/13/2021 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Join us for a virtual screening of Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem. The film exposes how our country’s history of racial injustice evolved into an enormous abuse of criminal justice power. Thirteen million people a year–most of them poor and people of color–are abused by this system. Register at: https://indivisible.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0odumtpzotHdcbM6wx85kBkTmQKY-GMF1d

Our democracy is under attack, but can be rescued by Congressional passage of legislation that will help guarantee every American easy access to the ballot box. State legislatures across the country are working to strip that access from people of color and those with low income. the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, The For the People Act (HR1 & S1) and Washington D.C. Statehood will assure that all voters have equal access to voting and equal representation in Congress.
John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,  HR 1 S1Washington D.C. Statehood

Contact our senators:
Todd Young: (202) 224-5623;
To email: https://www.young.senate.gov/contact/email-todd
Mike Braun: (202) 224-4814;
To email: https://www.braun.senate.gov/contact-mike

Find your representative and contact him or her.

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/


The Truth Matters

It’s expected that informed advice about a new virus will change as evidence & experience come together. Thank goodness scientists question, test & take in new data to come to new conclusions & find best practices. During the pandemic it was hard to know what health advice was reliable. Dr. Fauci’s recently released emails reveal the progression of science in dealing with a new disease. They show Dr, Fauci’s willingness to explore scientific theories about the virus and change his recommendations as science proved what would best protect against COVID. (FactCheck.org) Some people are using Dr Fauci as a scapegoat to redirect blame away from our poorly prepared leaders. Dr. Fauci’s emails reveal an an inside look at an informed scientist eager to explore and learn more about a deadly disease and incorporate current proven scientific thinking into his recommendations to his colleagues and to the public. (FactCheck.org, Vox, Politico, Statehouse File)

Work requirements are common in U.S. safety net programs. Little evidence exists, however, that work requirements increase economic self-sufficiency. Instead these requirements more often result in people leaving the program, disproportionately affecting homeless adults. The findings from National Bureau of Economic Research “indicate that “work requirements aimed at countering the disincentives of benefits will not be effective as they do not address more pressing underlying barriers to work.”

Not Real News: A Look at What Didn’t Happen This Week from the Associated Press


Enacted, passed both chambers and signed into law by the President

H.R. 2523: THRIVE Act
GovTrack.us: “To amend the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to improve the COVID-19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance program, to make certain technical corrections to the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, and for other purposes.”

Passed the House and Senate, goes to the President next

H.R. 49: To designate the National Pulse Memorial located at 1912 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida, 32806, and for other purposes.

In the Senate

Judge Zahid Quraishi was confirmed 81-16 to serve as a district judge in New Jersey; he is the first Muslim American judge to be appointed by a President. (BuzzFeed News)

“A Senate investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol found a broad intelligence breakdown across multiple agencies, along with widespread law enforcement and military failures that led to the violent attack.” (Associated Press)

“A bipartisan group of 10 senators announced Thursday they have reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, the most significant development yet in negotiations over a key priority of the Biden administration, but it still faces serious obstacles from skeptics in both parties.” (CNN Politics)

Blocked by republicans through legislative filibuster (failed cloture)

HR 7 Paycheck Fairness Act
Causes: This bill would revise existing enforcement mechanisms to prevent wage discrimination based on gender. Exceptions in laws that prohibit wage differences between men and women would be limited to bona fide factors — like education, training, or experience. Read more at Causes
GovTrack.us: “To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.” All republicans voted nea. View the vote.

Passed the Senate, goes to the House next

S. 1260: Endless Frontier Act
GovTrack.us: “A bill to establish a new Directorate for Technology and Innovation in the National Science Foundation, to establish a regional technology hub program, to require a strategy and report on economic security, science, research, innovation, manufacturing, and job creation, to establish a critical supply chain resiliency program, and for other purposes.” The vote was 68-32. See the vote. Senator Young was a co-sponsor of this bill and voted yea; Senator Braun voted nea. Braun objected to deficit spending because “red ink is going to do us in faster than Red China.” He also said he “could not support the legislation after the Senate voted down amendments to prohibit experiments using fetal tissue obtained from abortions and to ban research into animal-human hybrids.” (NWI Times)

S. 1511: Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “A bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 with respect to payments to certain public safety officers who have become permanently and totally disabled as a result of personal injuries sustained in the line of duty, and for other purposes.” The vote was by unanimous consent so no individual record of votes was made.

S. 1502: COPS Counseling Act
GovTrack.us: This bill sets forth requirements related to peer support counseling programs. A peer support counseling program is a program provided by a law enforcement agency that provides counseling services from a peer support specialist to a law enforcement officer of the agency.
Among other things, the bill does the following: generally prohibits the disclosure of the contents of a peer support communication, and requires the Department of Justice to develop best practices and professional standards for peer support counseling programs. The vote was by unanimous consent so no individual record of votes was made.

S. 1828: HAVANA Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “A bill to amend the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 to authorize the provision of payment to personnel of the Central Intelligence Agency who incur qualifying injuries to the brain, to authorize the provision of payment to personnel of the Department of State who incur similar injuries, and for other purposes.”

The House returns after a three week recess. See the week ahead in Congress at Causes.

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


Last week the President embarked on his first international trip as President, first attending the Group of Seven summit in the UK. He kicked off the trip by declaring that “America is back.” During the week ahead he will travel first to meet with NATO members in Belgium and then to Switzerland to meet with Russian President Putin. (Associated Press)

The Biden Administration announced it will buy 500 million Pfizer doses of vaccine to donate to 92 low-income countries. (Bloomberg)

After President Biden remained firm on the cancellation of the permit for the Keysone XL crude oil pipeline, “the sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline pulled the plug on the contentious project Wednesday…” The pipeline would have transported “crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska….Biden canceled the pipeline’s border crossing permit in January over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude could make climate change worse and harder to reverse.” (Associated Press)


Vice President Harris completed her first trip abroad as Vice President. She traveled to Central America where she met with the Presidents of Guatemala and Mexico. Read brief details and analysis at the LA Times.


“The Supreme Court held on Monday that the government can block non-citizens who are in the US under a program that temporarily protects them from deportation in certain situations from applying for a green card if they entered the country unlawfully.” This decision could have implications for Dreamers unless Congress paves a permanent lawful status for those undocumented immigrants brought to the US as kids. (CNN Politics)

The Court agreed to take up a case next term brought by three Muslim men who seek to challenge the FBI over its surveillance of their mosque. (CNN Politics)

The Court declined for now to take up a challenge to the male-only registration requirement for the military draft — meaning that even though the draft is not implemented, only men will still be required to register for the selective service. (CNN Politics)

In other news

Attorney General Merrick Garland promised “that the Justice Department will continue to “protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled. He said that within 30 days the department would double the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights enforcement staff and committed to working with other agencies to combat voting-related disinformation.”. He also “affirmed the expansion of voting rights as a “central pillar” to American democracy.” (Politico)

The Justice Department under the Trump Administration subpoenaed records belonging to congressional democrats, along with members of their families and at least one minor. (Causes)

“The Dept. of the Interior Inspector General on Wednesday released a report which found that U.S. Park Police (USPP) officers who forcibly removed protesters from Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020, were implementing a plan that had been agreed upon days earlier rather than clearing a path for then-President Donald Trump to visit St. John’s Church as had been reported at the time.” (Causes) and (Associated Press)

ProPublica detailed how the wealthiest Americans pay little to no income taxes in a release of never before seen IRS information.

“The Biden administration is pressing on with a controversial Justice Department defense of President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by a writer who accused him of raping her at a New York City department store in the 1990s.” (Politico)

Carbon dioxide levels in May were measured at the highest levels ever recorded. (NOAA)

Inflation increased at its highest pace since 2008, due to increased demand and supply chain issues. (CNN Business)

Texas Governor Abbott announced that “Texas will begin building its own border wall and next week will start arresting migrants who trespass on private property…” (CNN Politics)

Border apprehension of unauthorized immigrants remained at record levels in May. (Causes)

“A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit from more than 100 employees of the Houston Methodist hospital system over the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.” The group compared the vaccine mandate to medical experiments conducted in concentration camps during the Holocaust. They will appeal the ruling. (The Hill)


Indiana Residents Asked to Give Input on New Housing Assistance Program  wevv.com
The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) says that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hoosier State has been …

Indiana Democrats set sights on 2022 elections at annual dinner Palladium-Item
He reminded Indiana Democrats that the party was not giving up on flipping the state blue. “There is no such thing as a ruby-red state…

Longtime commercial real estate developer Brad Chambers has been named Indiana’s secretary of commerce, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday morning.  (IBJ)

With more guests visiting state parks, there are fewer people working to manage the influx.  (WIBC)

The Lake County Council is preparing to move ahead with its takeover of the county’s purchasing and data processing departments from the Lake County Commissioners, despite a pending legal challenge aimed at stopping it. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

A new study from Indiana University and IU Northwest shows the “significant impact” of northwest Indiana nonprofits on the economic development of the region. IU says the report provides nearly two decades of data on the impact of Indiana nonprofits.  (Inside Indiana Business)

Community Health Network, the Indianapolis-area’s third largest hospital system, said Thursday that it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 15.  (IBJ)

African Americans are overrepresented in essential jobs that — compared to the national average — pay less, offer limited benefits, provide less stability and, during the pandemic, sometimes exposed them to COVID-19 at higher rates than other groups.  (WFYI)

Beginning next month, a new Indiana law will end state takeovers of underperforming school districts. But all districts will eventually be required to publish more performance data online.  (WANE-TV)

Indiana tax revenue surpasses projections for May despite slight growth in open jobs Fox 59 — A new report from the Indiana State Budget Agency shows Hoosiers made and spent more money in May than projected…

These are the fastest-growing counties in Indiana WTTV CBS4Indy

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