9/27/2021 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Join us for our co-sponsored event, Organized Women Win tomorrow, Sept. 27, 6-7. 
At “Organized Women Win,” we will learn from women who have organized important groups for women in Indiana. We will hear stories of successes and retooling and of tips and techniques, all designed to bring women to the forefront. To learn about the status of women in politics before the event, we encourage you to check out the following links: https://cawp.rutgers.edu/women-state-legislature-2021 and https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/poli_fac/13/
Some sad facts about Indiana that we seek to change:
Indiana ranks 48th out of 50 states in its percentage of municipal officeholders who are women. Among state legislatures, it ranks 39th in the proportion of women members. A woman has never been the governor of Indiana nor a U.S. senator from Indiana. (Source: Center for American Women and Politics)
Register here.

New district maps have been drawn and have passed the House; they now go to the Senate and then to the Governor to sign into law. These gerrymandered maps guarantee an even bigger supermajority of republicans than before, disenfranchising progressive, minority and democratic voters throughout the state. Contact your representative and senator to demand that Indiana’s maps let voters choose their representation, not ones that allow politicians to choose their voters.

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

The truth matters

Vaccines mean freedom—from disease, death, and restrictions. Radical politicians shouting “overreach” to oppose employer vaccine & testing rules puts us all at risk. Mandates will help us ALL move forward and a majority in this country support them. (The Economist)

President Biden’s $3.5 trillion build Back Better is an investment in America and Americans. Indiana Senator Todd Young has called this monumental legislation “a tax and spending boondoggle.” (WIBC) The truth is that this legislation will expand health, education and federal programs, with more services for Americans of all ages, while investing heavily in efforts to tackle climate change. All this would be paid for largely by hiking tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals, those earning beyond $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples. (Associated Press)

Last week in Congress

Passed the House and Senate and goes to the President next

Senate Bill S. 189 Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2021
Causes.com: “This bill would direct the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase the rates of compensation for several areas of veterans’ living expenses. As of December 1, 2021, the rates of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children would be increased. Each of these increases would be based on the percentage used to increase Social Security benefits based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI), which gauges inflation.
It amends title 38, United States Code, to provide for annual cost-of-living adjustments to be made automatically by law each year in the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain service-connected disabled veterans, and for other purposes.”
This bill passed by Voice Vote in the Senate in July. Passed in the House 423-0.

S. 1828: HAVANA Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill specifically authorizes the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and other agencies to provide payments to agency personnel who incur brain injuries from hostilities while on assignment.”
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): Passed the House 427 – 0.

Passed the House and goes to the Senate next

H.R. 3755 Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021
Causes.com: “This bill…would create a federal statutory right to abortion under which women could obtain an abortion without having to comply with state-level requirements related to abortions, such as those which require a check for a fetal heartbeat or an ultrasound.” Read more details of the bill at Causes. Passed 218-211. Indiana representatives Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all other Indiana reps voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 5305 Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act
GovTrack.us: “Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, and for providing emergency assistance, and for other purposes.”
Causes.com: “This bill would extend funding for the federal government at currently authorized levels through December 3, 2021, to avoid a partial government shutdown when funding expires after September 30th; provide $28.6 billion in disaster relief; $6.3 billion to support evacuees from Afghanistan; and suspend the debt limit through December 16, 2022.” 
Causes.com: “Failure to raise the debt limit and subsequent default on the government’s obligations would have “catastrophic consequences” according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. A default would likely cause interest rates to rise and thereby raise the cost of servicing the national debt, which cost $345 billion in FY2020 according to the Congressional Budget Office.”
The bill passed along strict party lines with no republican support.

H.R. 4350 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022
Causes.com: This bill “would authorize a total of $768.1 billion in defense funding for fiscal year 2022, including $739.5 billion in discretionary defense spending, along with $28.2 billion for nuclear defense activities by the Dept. of Energy. It is purely an authorization bill that wouldn’t provide actual funding, which would be approved through the regular appropriations process…The House Armed Services Committee advanced this bill on a bipartisan vote of 57-2. Among the amendments adopted by the committee were a $23.9 billion increase to the topline budget above the Biden administration’s request on a bipartisan 42-17 vote, and a requirement that women register for the military draft on a 35-24 vote.” The vote was 316 yea-116 nay. All Indiana representatives voted yea. View the vote.
A breakdown of how the various provisions in the NDAA would impact troops, military families, equipment, the Dept. of Defense, U.S. allies and partners, and other aspects of U.S. defense policy can be found at Causes.

H.R. 5323 Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022
Causes.com: “This bill would provide $1 billion in supplemental appropriations to provide for the procurement of interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system to replenish Israel’s reserve. Iron Dome is co-developed by the U.S. and Israel, and Israel had to use a significant number of interceptors to counter rockets fired by Hamas — which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. — during the conflict earlier this year. The funding would remain available until the end of fiscal year 2024.” The bill passed 420-9. All Indiana representatives voted yea except Rep. Carson. View the vote.

H.R. 5293 To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend and modify certain authorities and requirements relating to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Causes.com: “This bill would extend authorities for certain Dept. of Veterans Affairs programs that serve veterans, including dental insurance for veterans and their survivors and dependents; a temporary expansion of payments and allowances for beneficiary travel connected to veterans receiving care at veterans centers; and extending a pilot program for the VA to accept donated facilities and other facilities improvements.” Indiana Rep Mrvan introduced this bill and is its only sponsor. It passed 423-0.

The week ahead in Congress

“…Significant votes expected in both chambers as lawmakers look to avoid a government shutdown from occurring on Friday, October 1st. Meanwhile, Democrats are looking to finalize and bring their $3.5 trillion social spending plan using reconciliation.” Read more at Causes.

“The House will vote Thursday on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, pushing back an originally planned vote for Monday that Democratic moderates had demanded as part of a deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” (The Hill)

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

In other news

The hyper-partisan, much criticized Cyber Ninjas finally released their report of their recount of the election results in Arizona’s Maricopa County. It showed Biden won in Arizona by even more votes that previously counted. And yet they continued to throw dispersions on the election process to promote the big lie that the election was stolen. “A months long hand recount of Maricopa County’s 2020 vote confirmed that President Joe Biden won and the election was not “stolen” from former President Donald Trump, according to early versions of a report prepared for the Arizona Senate. The three-volume report by the Cyber Ninjas, the Senate’s lead contractor, includes results that show Trump lost by a wider margin than the county’s official election results. The data in the report also confirms that U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly won in the county….The draft reports reviewed by The Republic minimize the ballot counts and election results and instead focus on issues that raise questions about the election process and voter integrity. ” (AZ Central)

“…Republicans in other states that helped Biden clinch the presidency have initiated their own Arizona-style election reviews in the face of pressure from Trump and his allies, who continue to insist without evidence that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud and systemic irregularities.” (The Hill)

Read where election review efforts stand across the country at The Hill.

The courts

 A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of a new Texas law all but dared supporters of the state’s near-total ban on the procedure to try making an early example of him by filing a lawsuit — and by Monday, two people obliged. (Politico)


New legislation proposed by Republicans would more sharply restrict how race is taught in Michigan classrooms, including banning schools from teaching that racism and sexism are inherent or that individuals bear guilt for wrongs committed by their race. (Chalkbeat)


“The FBI reported a nearly 30% increase in murders in 2020, the largest single-year jump since the bureau began recording crime statistics six decades ago.” (U.S. News and World Report)

The Biden administration Monday morning took steps to save the Obama-era DACA program that shields hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. (CNN Politics)



HB 1581 Redistricting
Provides that the population parameters that refer to political subdivisions throughout the Indiana Code are based on the 2010 federal decennial census until April 1, 2022. Provides that for purposes of local redistricting, political subdivisions shall use data from the 2020 federal decennial census. Establishes new legislative districts for the Indiana general assembly. Provides for expiration of the current legislative districts on the date of the 2022 general election. Makes technical and necessary changes in related statutes. Establishes new Indiana congressional districts. Provides for expiration of the current congressional districts on the date of the 2022 general election. Makes technical and necessary changes in related statutes. The vote was 67-31 with all democrats and three republicans voting nay. View the vote.

Teacher turned map maker says redistricting process should belong to citizens – The Statehouse File
The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) held a redistricting map-drawing competition in which any registered Indiana voter could participate.

Republican control of Indiana Senate likely set with new map – AP News
The redistricting, based on population shifts from last year’s census, creates one new likely Democratic Senate seat in Indianapolis as most rural counties across the state lost population and Indianapolis and its surrounding counties saw about three-quarters of Indiana’s population growth. Other democratic senators are being gerrymandered out, including drawing Frank Mrvan of Hammond and Lonnie Randolph of East Chicago into the same district, while creating an open district in a more suburban and GOP-friendly section of northwestern Indiana’s Lake County.

Indiana House Republicans released their proposed maps for Statehouse and U.S. Congressional Districts. The maps saw multiple Statehouse members often thought of as “troublemakers” for the establishment drawn into districts with other members, while a former “toss up” Congressional seat becomes much safer.  (Statehouse Happenings, WIBC)

Member of Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission questions fairness of senate district maps
Fort Wayne’s NBC
The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate on Tuesday unveiled proposed maps for new senate districts. The Republican member of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission fears Allen County is split up in such a way that Democrats and racial minority voters will have an even harder time getting access to fair representation at the Statehouse.

Indiana Senate GOP leaders say they are prepared to make changes to their proposed Senate redistricting map after they get public input next week. The only public meeting about the Senate map will be Monday at 9am at the Statehouse. (Indiana Public Media)

“Indiana lawmakers on Tuesday debated giving school districts the authority to license their own educators as a solution to ongoing teacher shortages.” (Chalkbeat Indiana)

Many business leaders are reluctant to say so publicly, but President Biden’s vaccine mandate is a welcomed gift. It offers them and their employees a relatively easy way to dodge what may be a looming health insurance price spike. For businesses that find it hard to hire and keep workers, this should be especially beneficial. It will also help maintain workplace comity at a time when it is about to be heavily stressed by rising healthcare insurance costs driven by unvaccinated workers and their families.  (Michael Hicks, Ball State University)

About 55% of Indiana residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday, which was the 15th-lowest rate among the states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State health officials said 98% of people who were recently hospitalized in Indiana for COVID-19 were not vaccinated. (U.S. News and World Report)

The Indiana House dismissed an attempt by one lawmaker this week to ban any COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state. But that likely won’t be the last time this issue comes up in the General Assembly.  (WFYI)

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is asking Hoosiers to donate new clothing, powdered baby formula and other items for thousands of Afghan evacuees temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury.  (Tribune Star)

Governor Holcomb makes commission, board appointments – WISH-TV
INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Governor Eric Holcomb has announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions.

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