7/19/2021 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Part of the important work on Racial Justice. For those who missed it!! Here is the link and passcode to view our event, RaciallyCharged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem. You can view the screening and the important discussion by Akili Shakur from BLM NWI-Gary and Saving Our Families as well as our other Indivisible partners in INDIANA. Click here to view the screening. Use passcode: jhD!j?4f to watch.

We need national fair election laws. S1, the For the People Act, can save democracy. This critical democracy reform is widely popular among both Democratic and Republican voters and would expand early voting, end partisan gerrymandering, reduce money in politics, and more. This all comes as Republican state legislatures across the country are passing hundreds of sweeping voter suppression laws.
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

The Biden administration continues to urge people to take the COVID vaccine. This policy aims to save lives and does not involve forcing people to be vaccinated by going door to door or by reading their text messages. The administration does continue to fight misinformation that is influencing those who continue to refuse the vaccine. The number of those getting sick and dying from COVID is increasing, almost entirely among the unvaccinated. (Associated Press)

Read more at the AP about the week that wasn’t, popular lies and stories spread on social media and other sources, along with the fact checked truths.


Passed House & Senate (President next)

H.R. 26: Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act of 2021
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent. his bill was passed by Congress on July 13, 2021 and goes to the President next.

Passed the Senate

S.Res. 238: A resolution recognizing and honoring the sacrifices and accomplishments of the Greatest Generation.
Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent. This simple resolution was agreed to on July 12, 2021. That is the end of the legislative process for a simple resolution.

S. 169: Artistic Recognition for Talented Students Act
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 534: Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 65: Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
Causes: “The Senate on Wednesday cast a unanimous vote to pass a bill to sanction Chinese companies and individuals who benefit from the use of forced labor, particularly from the Xinjiang region where Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities have been detained in concentration camps and forced to work.”

The House reconvenes today, July 19. Read about the week ahead in the House and Senate at Causes.

In other news

Democrats announced that a deal has been reached for a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that they will seek to pass on a strictly partisan basis through budget reconciliation. The package will include most of President Biden’s social welfare and family aid agenda, including two years of free community college, paid medical and family leave, helping cover child care costs, and extending the boosted child tax credit. It would expand Medicare to include new benefits like dental, vision, and hearing coverage. It will paid for through tax increases on businesses and individuals. (Causes)

“A federal district judge on Friday issued an opinion invalidating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and halting new application approvals while the case, known as Texas v. U.S., makes its way through the courts.” (Causes)

“President Joe Biden said it’s “deeply disappointing” that a federal judge in Texas has ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program as unlawful, and said the Department of Justice will appeal the decision.” (ABC News)

“California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care with no restrictions on how they spend it.” (ABC News)

“People working minimum wage jobs full-time cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state in the country, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report finds. In 93% of U.S. counties, the same workers can’t afford a modest one-bedroom.” (CNBC)

“Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a ruling Thursday restoring discretion to immigration judges by allowing them to administratively close cases, a move that could prove significant in chipping away at the more than million case backlog facing immigration courts.” (CNN Politics)

“The White House is negotiating with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other nations to increase their production of oil to increase supply and counter the steady rise in gasoline prices…” (Causes)

A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. (AP Indiana)

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development has backed away from new health and safety requirements for public housing that would require fire extinguishers, a minimum number of electrical outlets and other measures intended to protect residents from serious and potentially life-threatening hazards, according to the latest draft of the new standards.” (NBC News)

Federal regulations setting a minimum age of 21 years old for purchasing handguns from licensed dealers violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The ruling strikes down parts of a law passed in 1968. (CNN Politics)

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


Hoosiers who have been waiting several weeks for the federal pandemic unemployment benefits to resume will receive back pay to cover the weeks they were eligible and were not paid, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  (Fox 59)

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development resumed processing federal unemployment benefits this week—amid ongoing legal battles—and more than 25,000 claimants have received payments in the past day, the agency said Friday. (IBJ)
Indiana restarts pandemic unemployment benefits after judge’s order  WLS
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday denied the state’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court. The state had been in …

A federal judge has upheld Indiana University’s vaccine requirement. (NWI Times)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita lost in court again over a controversial emergency powers law recently created by the General Assembly.  (WFYI)

Last week, Attorney General Todd Rokita introduced a Parents Bill of Rights, calling for parents to be involved and question employees of their children’s schools —but many view this as an attempt to stop change in Indiana. (The Statehouse File)

Seven months after the first COVID vaccines were approved, half of the eligible Hoosiers haven’t gotten it.  (WIBC)
“…in Indiana, counties that are more highly vaccinated tend to have higher population density, incomes and educational attainment and also tend to swing more Democratic, or at least, less Republican than other counties.” (KPC News)

Amid a statewide coal ash crisis, Indiana residents demand complete cleanup at lakeside plant
Energy News Network
Northwest Indiana residents and advocacy groups want a full removal of ash at a Michigan City coal plant, where an aging steel seawall is all that ..

Big jump in Indiana budget surplus triggering tax refund  pharostribune.com
They announced Indiana’s first automatic taxpayer refund since 2012 as the state government hit a record of $3.9 billion in cash reserves as of June 30.
Big jump in Indiana budget surplus triggering tax refund – Fort Wayne’s NBC
Indiana tax filers to get unexpected check from state – WANE

Surrounding states waiving unemployment repayments, but not Indiana WISHTV.com
States surrounding Indiana have approved waivers that would skip those forced repayments. In Kentucky, for example, Gov. Andy Beshear’s office ..

Indiana highlights unemployment overpayment waiver option  WISHTV.com
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The State of Indiana is highlighting a process allowing unemployment recipients to skip paying back any overpayments.

Indiana falls behind Illinois on CNBC ranking of top states for business  KPVI News 6
Indiana’s comparative lack of college graduates and reduced state support for high education played a major role in determining Indiana’s low rankings …

Though Indiana doesn’t have a statewide election this fall, the new Secretary of State – appointed in March – is preparing for 2022’s midterm contest by meeting with all the state’s county clerks.   (WFIU)

Fewer than one-third of elementary and middle school students in Indiana recorded passing scores on the latest round of state standardized tests, results released Wednesday show, confirming education officials’ concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has fueled substantial learning losses.  (AP Indiana)

The longtime president and chief executive officer of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority in Lake County has been relieved of his duties.  (Inside Indiana Business)

State touts READI participation  WISHTV.com
INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties are participating in the $500 …
Indiana communities collaborate to accelerate economic resilience, prosperity – WBIW.com

In its fight to fend off $145,000 in sanctions for filing a lawsuit challenging the November 2020 election results in Wisconsin, the Indianapolis law firm of Kroger Gardis & Regas is arguing that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ motion to recover attorney fees and costs is “deeply flawed” and an attempt to score “political points by making unsupported claims.”  (Indiana Lawyer)

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