7/25/2021 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Not only is 2022 just around the corner, but democracy itself stands on the brink, requiring action at every level of government. For the first time in a long time, progressive changes are possible, but not without work. If you’re ready to jump into action and volunteer with Indivisible NWI, email our president, Kim Eldridge at kimeldridgeevents@gmail.com

Part of the important work on Racial Justice.
For those who missed it!! Below are 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/


Republican lawmakers are holding meetings throughout the state about redistricting. The public is invited to provide input on how they want the maps to be drawn. Indiana is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Gerrymandering is “the act of manipulating congressional or legislative district maps in a way that gives one party disproportionate power over the other.” (WHAS 11) Public input is essential to let our lawmakers know that we want fairly drawn maps that allow voters to choose their representatives and not the other way around. Republicans are on track to draw maps that keep and increase the number of seats they hold, making representation even more disproportionally republican even though Indiana is only slightly more republican than democratic. At the congressional level only two seats are held by democrats and those seats are also at risk if maps are configured to incorporate more republican areas into those two democratic districts.

In Northwest Indiana public meetings will be held at Ivy Tech Valparaiso: 3-5 p.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 6  (WFYI)

Viewpoint: Redistricting and why you should care Evansville Courier & Press
Achieving fair maps is the key to fair elections. In many states, including Indiana, state legislators are in charge of drawing the redistricting maps.

Redistricting in America, Part One: Gerrymandering Potency Raises the Stakes for the 2020s
Rasmussen ReportsIn 1981
Indiana Republicans enacted a partisan gerrymander of the Hoosier State designed to help Republicans net several seats. This year gerrymandering by republican state lawmakers is going to be far more foolproof in drawing republican-safe districts than it was in the 1980s.


Passed House and Senate, President next

H.R. 1652: VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021
Passed Senate, under the order of 7/14/21, having achieved 60 votes in the affirmative, without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 100 – 0. 


“The Senate confirmed two LGBTQ women to top military positions on Thursday in historic firsts.
Gina Ortiz Jones will serve as undersecretary of the Air Force — the first out lesbian to serve as undersecretary of a military branch. Shawn Skelly will serve as assistant secretary of defense for readiness, becoming the first transgender person to hold the post and the highest-ranking out trans defense official in U.S. history.” (NBC News)

Failed Cloture

H.R. 3684: INVEST in America Act
GovTrack.us: Cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 49 – 51. This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture on July 21, 2021. Cloture is required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster and takes a 3/5ths vote. In practice, most bills must pass cloture to move forward in the Senate.
“Senate Republicans blocked moving forward on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that’s still being negotiated on Wednesday. Surprisingly, members of the group insist they’re unbothered.
The vote amounted to a setback to a key priority of President Joe Biden, although members of both parties expect at least one more try in the coming days.” (Politico)

Minority Leader McConnell “vowed Tuesday that Republicans would wage a “hell of a fight” over attempts by Democrats to pass a sweeping multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan along party lines,” as he also promised to block raising the debt ceiling on July 31. The ceiling was raised or suspended on a bipartisan basis throughout Trump’s presidency. The deficit under the former president increased substantially due to administrative missteps and the tax cuts of 2017; only the administrations George W. and Abraham Lincoln incurred more debt. (The Hill)


Minority Leader McCarthy named five members to the January 6 Commission; Speaker Pelosi rejected two of the most controversial; then McCarthy pulled all his members from the commission saying he would form his own commission to investigate Jan. 6. Both sides claimed victory in the highly contentious exchange. (CNN Politics)

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, to the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack, she said in a statement on Sunday.” (NBC News)

Passed the House (Senate next)

H.R. 2467: PFAS Action Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes requirements and incentives to limit the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, and remediate PFAS in the environment. PFAS are man-made and may have adverse human health effects. A variety of products contain PFAS, such as nonstick cookware or weatherproof clothing.” Passed 241-183. Although this bill received bipartisan support, all Indiana republicans voted nay, Both democratic reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 1870: Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 3985: Allies Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill increases the number of special immigrant visas available to qualified Afghan nationals who worked for the U.S. government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The bill also relaxes certain qualifications for such visas.”
On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 407 – 16. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 1870: Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended, Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 2668: Consumer Protection and Recovery Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek monetary relief in federal court from businesses that engage in unlawful commercial practices such as false advertising, consumer fraud, and anticompetitive conduct.” Passed 221-205. Two republicans voted yea, none from Indiana. Both Indiana democratic reps voted yea. View the vote.

The week ahead in Congress

“…the House is set to take up Democrats’ first appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, including a six-bill “minibus” package, while the Senate searches for a deal that will allow debate to start on the bipartisan infrastructure framework.” (Causes) Read more at Causes.

In other news

Jury selection begins Monday in the federal trial of four former Minneapolis police officers in the death of George Floyd. The federal grand jury indicted the officers in May, alleging they violated Floyd’s constitutional rights. 

The federal ban on evictions is set to expire Saturday.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended the moratorium several times, bringing relief to millions of struggling renters. Landlords have said the eviction ban puts a burden on property owners.

“A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority by temporarily halting evictions amid the pandemic.” (The Hill)

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Arkansas law banning nearly all abortions in the state while she hears a challenge to its constitutionality. (NPR)

“In a move that is expected to prove transformative to the national HIV-prevention effort, the federal government has announced that almost all health insurers must cover the HIV prevention pill, known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, with no cost sharing — including for the drug itself and, crucially, for clinic visits and lab tests.” (NBC News)

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


Democrats in Indiana have hit the road to rally support for President Joe Biden’s more than $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan. The politicians say they’d like – but don’t need – bipartisan support in Congress where it’s expected to get a vote soon.  (WFIU)

A federal judge is allowing Indiana University to continue with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students and employees.  (AP Indiana)
Just over half of Hoosiers age 12 and older are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Northeast Indiana, not so much.  (KPC Media)

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in League of Women Voters of Indiana v. Sullivan (previously called Indiana NAACP v. Lawson), rejecting the state of Indiana’s appeal of the lower court’s summary judgment order. “The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in League of Women Voters of Indiana v. Sullivan (previously called Indiana NAACP v. Lawson), rejecting the state of Indiana’s appeal of the lower court’s summary judgment order. The Court of Appeals found that Indiana’s purge law was inconsistent with the National Voter Registration Act (also called the Motor Voter law), legislation that Congress passed in 1993 to increase voter registration across the country.  (Indy Politics)
Federal Court Nixes Indiana’s Voter Registration Purge Law  U.S. News & World Report
A federal appeals court has sided with opponents of an Indiana law aimed at having elections officials immediately purge voter registrations for people …
The revised law “impermissibly allows Indiana to cancel a voter’s registration without either direct communication from the voter or compliance with the NVRA’s notice-and-waiting procedures,” the three-judge appeals panel said.
“The laws Indiana passed in 2017 and 2020 risked improper purges of Indiana voters, particularly Black and brown voters,” Indiana NAACP President Barbara Bolling-Williams said. “This decision is a win for democracy and racial justice.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s effort to prolong a court battle over an emergency powers law was prevented by a Marion County judge Tuesday.  (WFYI)
Judge Rules Indiana Governor’s Case Can Continue WOWO
At issue is whether the legislature can call itself into emergency session despite the Indiana Constitution giving that power to the governor.

REDISTRICTING: Census data expected Aug. 16  The Republic
The U.S. Census Bureau says data needed for Indiana lawmakers to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts will be ready Aug.

Indiana Health Care Workers Rally for Higher Minimum Wage  WFYI
U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland) and state Rep. Mike Andrade (D-Munster) attended and pledged support for the workers. 

Indiana State Announces $3.9 Billion State Reserve  The Chicago Crusader
State Senator Eddie Melton was also excited to share the news to Hoosiers who should soon see a tax refund due to the surplus. “Our statute requires ananautomatic tax payer refund when revenues  exceed a certain limit,” Melton explained. “Since we exceeded that amount, eligible tax filers in Indiana can expect a tax refund in 2022. The last time revenue amounts triggered a refund was in 2012. The payments were $111 to single filers and $122 to joint filers. The amount eligible Hoosiers will receive next year will depend on the number of tax returns filed.” …

Indiana Adult Education now offering a new high school equivalency exam nwitimes.com
Frank Mrvan, D-Highland; and Gary Councilwoman Mary Brown. John Luke, The Times. Gary leaders, officials break ground on multi-million …

Indiana files appeal in federal pandemic unemployment case Washington Times Herald
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State officials filed an appeal this week in an ongoing attempt to withdraw Indiana from federal programs that expanded …

What Indiana University’s vaccination ruling means for colleges  ABC News
Catch up on the developing stories making headlines. A federal judge rejected a request from students to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate …

Indiana Increases Food Bank Funding wkvi.com
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture says a total of a million dollars will be distributed to 11 food banks, under the General Assembly’s biennial budget.

COVID-19 Spread Continues to Accelerate in Indiana wkvi.comIndiana’
s number of new COVID-19 cases keeps heading back up. Another 878 cases were reported in Thursday’s update…

Indiana issues air quality alert due to smoke from wildfires Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s environmental agency issued a statewide air quality alert this week urging Hoosiers to slow down and take other steps as smoke wafts across the state from wildfires burning in the western U.S. and Canada.

More than 100 Indiana businesses are urging Congress to pass legislation stalled in the Senate that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, saying in a letter that “discrimination is bad for business.”  (AP Indiana)

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