10/31/2021 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Your Indivisible NWI Steering Committee wants to be sure we are concentrating on the issues that matter to you and we want to give you every opportunity to get involved with Indivisible NWI. Please fill out this survey so that we can focus our planning for the rest of this year and into the important mid-term election year of 2022. Click here for the survey.

The For the People Act is now The Freedom to Vote Act. Support for this bill is crucial for the survival of American democracy. The majority of Americans want to know that their vote counts. But when the minority can enact laws that restrict voting access, our voices can be silenced. Another vote is expected this week in the Senate. So far Republicans have used the filibuster to prevent the bill from even being debated.
Contact our senators:
Senator Braun: email– https://www.braun.senate.gov/contact-mike    phone–(202) 224-4814
Senator Young: Email–https://www.young.senate.gov/contact/email-todd    phone–(202) 224-5623

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 for children 5-11 may be approved and available by as early as the middle of next week. Despite what many on the right and anti-vaxers are saying, these vaccines are safe and effective for young children.

  1. A third of children who are hospitalized with severe COVID have no underlying conditions. In most cases any underlying conditions are very common—like asthma. It is NOT true that only children with underlying conditions become seriously ill with COVID.
  2. The study trial size was small, but large enough to detect any potential problems. Among teens a rare side effect of the vaccine is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that is far more common as a result of COVID infection than from the vaccine. It almost always is not serious and resolves on its own. In the study among young children NONE of them experienced myocarditis.
  3. Far fewer side effects among teens have been verified than have been charged on social media.
  4. The committee of FDA experts agreed that the vaccine was a good idea and warranted for younger children.

Read more at Mother Jones.

Build Back Better Act

The framework introduced on Thursday by the President scales down many of his most ambitious proposals. It cuts paid family leave, important climate provisions, drug price negotiations, vision and dental provisions in Medicare and more. It still provides a significant investment in child care and pre-K, extensions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit and investments in affordable housing, healthcare coverage, maternal health, community violence prevention, nutrition programs and climate. Tax changes will fully pay for the bill. Read details of the framework at CNN and CNBC.

“While many items have been cut or reduced from the framework of the bill, “there is one surprising area that’s so far survived the congressional gauntlet as part of a big climate spending proposal: forest management and conservation. The bill … allocates roughly $27 billion for spending related to federal, state, and tribal forests,….the most significant investment ever in our national forests…” (Vox)

“The Republican Party has long ceased to offer policy ideas and is focusing on culture wars and obstruction. Their big statement this week has been to throw “Let’s go, Brandon” into speeches…The phrase means “F**k Joe Biden,” for those in the know; they use it because social media moderators do not flag it. Republicans are frustrated in part because Biden and the Democrats are remaking the nation. …The Democrats under Biden are investing again in the American people. In his remarks about the Build Back Better plan on Thursday, Biden noted that for most of the twentieth century, we invested in ourselves, and that investment in our families and children, including through education, was key to our prosperity and international standing…In the 1980s, though, we abandoned that investment, handing the task of developing the country to private interests. It didn’t work.” We don’t know the details of the final bill yet, but “we do know that the final blueprint provides a massive investment in childcare and eldercare, families, and education, and it uses the need to address climate change to produce good jobs. The government will serve the American public, not a small group of business leaders.” (Letters from an American)


In Congress last week:

Passed the House and the Senate, President next

H.R. 5763: To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
Received in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed, pursuant to the order of October 28, 2021, without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 921: Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 1502: COPS Counseling Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 424 – 3

H.R. 2911: VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 3919: Secure Equipment Act of 2021
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

Passed the House, goes to the Senate next

H.R. 2119: Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill modifies, expands, and reauthorizes through FY2026 the Family Violence and Prevention Services program, which funds emergency shelters and supports related assistance for victims of domestic violence.” Passed 228-200 with Indiana Representatives Mrvan and Carson voting yea and all other Indiana reps voting nay. View the vote.

H.R. 4035: Real Justice for Our Veterans Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 5661: Continued State Flexibility To Assist Older Foster Youth Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

Passed House with Changes (back to Senate)

S. 1511: Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 420 – 3. This bill passed in the Senate and the House, but the House made changes and sent it back to the Senate on October 27, 2021.

The week ahead in Congress

“Democrats are closing in on a deal on the final legislative text of their social spending plan, the Build Back Better Act, and may bring it up for a vote this week if they’re able to resolve their intra-party negotiations over its contents. An agreement on a revised framework was reached last week” even as negotiations continue. (Causes)
The Senate may bring back to the floor the election reform bill, the The Freedom to Vote Act.
In the House several noncontroversial bills will be considered. “If, or when, Democrats finalize the Build Back Better Act it may receive a floor vote shortly thereafter. That may coincide with a vote on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that has been blocked by House Democrats in the absence of a deal” on the Build Back Better Act.”
Read more about bills that may be brought to a vote, possible judicial approvals and committee hearings at Causes.

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

In other news

“President Biden and other leaders of the Group of 20 major economies endorsed a global minimum corporate tax on Saturday at the start of a two-day summit in Rome.” (The Week)

Book banning is rearing its ugly head in Texas. “A Texas Republican lawmaker has drawn up a list of 850 books on subjects ranging from racism to sexuality that could “make students feel discomfort,” and is demanding that school districts across the state report whether any are in their classrooms or libraries.” (NBC News)

“Top executives of ExxonMobil and other oil giants denied spreading disinformation about climate change as they sparred Thursday with congressional Democrats over allegations that the industry concealed evidence about the dangers of global warming.” (Associated Press)

Facebook is “renaming its company Meta. “The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.” (Axios)

“Trump wants the National Archives to keep his papers away from investigators – post-Watergate laws and executive orders may not let him…Most of the time, the National Archives goes on with its work with little attention. But right now it is at the center of a political fight about the public’s access to the papers of former President Donald Trump. That battle is being fought by Trump against President Joe Biden and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The legislators want to see Trump administration records that are housed in the National Archives, Biden has said the archives should provide them – and Trump has sued the committee and the archives to stop the papers from being divulged to Congress.” (The Conversation)


“Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday released the Biden administration’s latest attempt to nix the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that has roiled immigration and asylum advocates.” (Politico)


“The Food and Drug Administration on Friday paved the way for children ages 5 to 11 to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.” (Associated Press)

“Meatpacking giant Tyson Foods says more than 96 percent of its workers have been vaccinated ahead of the company’s Nov. 1 deadline for them to do so. The company…said the number of its 120,000 workers who have been vaccinated has nearly doubled since it announced its mandate on Aug. 3. At that point, only 50 percent of Tyson workers had been vaccinated. Very few employees have left the company so far because of the mandate.” (NBC News)


“The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request to block a Maine rule that requires certain health care employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. A group of unvaccinated workers argued that the vaccine mandate violated their religious liberty rights”. (CNN)

“The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a set of cases challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, potentially limiting the Biden administration’s options to curb planet-heating pollution.” (Huffpost)


More members of a county health board are quitting amid tension and hostility in their northern Indiana community.  (AP Indiana)

The head of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said she’s pleased with the Holcomb administration’s response to a recently-released report on Indiana law enforcement policies and training.  (WFYI)

“The city of Edinburgh’s town manager, Dan Cartwright, shared some key details Friday about the Afghans transitioning out of Edinburgh as well as their lives inside the base.” (Statehouse File)

Gov. Eric Holcomb finally has filled his three seats on the Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission after it was controversially reconstituted in April by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. (NWI Times)

Governor Eric Holcomb has announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions.  (Indy Politics)

Women’s rights

An Indiana anti-abortion law that requires doctors to report a long list of supposed complications from abortion is taking effect.  (WFYI)

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