You can make a difference
On Monday, Jan. 31 join us for our first big event of the year via Zoom.
Follow the link at 6 PM central on Monday, January 31st to join the meeting.
- We will be unveiling the results of our Indivisible NWI survey.
- We will be talking about what issues are the most important to you as well as the ways that you told us that you want to be involved.
- Come and learn how you can help us to do more.
- We will also give you the latest updates.
- We will talk to you about how you can run for precinct committee person as the filing date comes near.
- That and so much more, join us.
Saving Democracy begins at the grassroots level–that’s all of us!
Many bills in this session of the Indiana General Assembly are approaching passage and we urge you to contact your representatives and senators about how you want them to vote.
Bills must pass each chamber Monday or Tuesday or they are dead for this session.
Click here to contact your representative and senator. To email, choose ‘send email’ from the menu on the left on the legislator’s page.
Please contact your senator to demand he or she vote no. Keep these bills from passing the Senate. These bills have passed out of committee in the Senate and were sent to the Senate floor for a vote. The deadline for passage is Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Senate Bill 17 Material harmful to minors
- All public and school libraries across the state already have a challenge procedure in place when a parent or community member objects to any particular material.
- This bill would allow parents to skip that process and exposes librarians to a level 6 felony on the charge of providing materials deemed inappropriate by some parents or members of the community. Of course these very materials may be valued by others.
- Libraries and school curriculum must meet the needs of a broad and diverse student body.
- This is a chilling bill that will essentially censor great literature, not allowing its presence in schools or libraries under threat of prosecution.
- It’s a completely unnecessary bill because a process is already in place to address objections to materials provided for children. This is a reasonable process that does not involve prosecuting professionals who are doing the best job they can to provide our kids with a well-rounded education that requires exposure to diverse cultures, histories and people. Books are immensurable helps to meeting that goal.
Please contact your senator
Senate Bill 356 Teacher matters
- The bill provides that the governing body of a school corporation may issue an adjunct teacher permit to an individual who meets certain requirements.
- If the governing body of a school corporation issues an adjunct teacher permit, the school corporation may enter into a contract for employment as a part-time teacher of the school corporation.
- An employment contract with an adjunct teacher is not subject to a collective bargaining agreement. This bill appears to be a workaround for school corporations to waterdown teacher requirements and hire non certified teachers. They are not required to have any pedagogical training and in fact any training required in this bill is murky. (The Star)
- This bill also allows school corporations to pay some teachers more than the agreed upon salary, more than other teachers for the same work—a blatent attempt to bust unions. (ISTA).
- Take action with the Indiana State Teachers Association: https://www.ista-in.org/our-advocacy/ista-advocacy-center.
Senate Bill 331 Education scholarship account program
“This bill is an education savings accounts expansion (another form of voucher).
ICPE supports a moratorium on the expansion of public funding for charter, choice scholarship (voucher), innovation schools as well as education savings accounts (ESAs), SGOs (scholarship granting organizations) or micro/home schools. Draining funds for these experiments in private hands and marketization does financial harm to traditional public schools where over 90% of Hoosier children attend.” (Indiana Coalition for Public Education)
Senate Bill 143 Self defense
Specifies that “reasonable force” includes the pointing of a loaded or unloaded firearm for purposes of self-defense and arrest statutes. This is a stand your ground law. This is a dangerous policy; pointing a firearm does not deescalate a confrontation. “ Stand your ground expansion will likely disproportionately impact communities of color. When white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are considered justifiable 5 times more often than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white.” (Sheila Kennedy)
Please contact your senator
House Bill 1173 Various elections matters (This bill will make absentee voting even more difficult. Contact your representative asap; a vote is likely Monday.
Provides that before an individual can access an absentee ballot application that is submitted in an electronic format using a module of the computerized list, the individual must provide either the individual’s Indiana driver’s license number or the last four digits of the individual’s Social Security number. Provides that under certain circumstances, a person is entitled to vote by absentee ballot by mail if the person is unable to vote: (1) during the period of time a voter may vote by absentee ballot in person before the absentee voter board; (2) on election day; or (3) on election day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open. (Current law provides that under certain circumstances, a person is entitled to vote by absentee ballot by mail if the person is unable to vote on election day or on election day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.)
It’s not all bad…to be heard on the Senate floor:
Senate Bill 230 Enforcement of habitability standards
This bill would empower renters and make homes safer.
Passed the House and will now be considered in the Senate. There is a little more time for you to make your voice heard before a final vote will be taken.
House Bill 1077—Permitless Carry
- This bill would allow individuals, including those who would not have passed a background check, to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public.
- It passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate.
- The Indiana State Police opposed this bill. In the past two years over 10,000 applications were rejected.
- States that have passed permitless carry legislation are experiencing a substantial increase in gun violence.
- An overwhelming number of Americans favor requiring a permit to carry a gun.
(Everytown) and Moms Demand Action Indiana
Please contact your senator
House Bill 1134 Education matters
- This bill would ban schools from teaching “divisive concepts” of race and racism and from making students feel guilt or discomfort because of their race or ethnicity.
- Schools could be sued and teachers stripped of their license for violations. (Chalkbeat Indiana)
- If the bill passes, our children will not learn about essential American history; many teachers will quit the profession, leading to a severe teacher shortage in Indiana. (Chalkbeat Indiana)
Dr. Ivan Hicks with the Indianapolis NAACP called this bill heinous and racist—a bill that seeks to divide. (The Indiana Citizen)
Easy way to take action with ACLU Indiana: https://action.aclu.org/send-message/in-stop-classroom-censorship and with the Indiana State Teachers Association: https://www.ista-in.org/our-advocacy/ista-advocacy-center.
House Bill 1041 Participation in school sports
Indiana lawmakers advanced a Republican-backed bill Monday that would ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity. (AP Indiana)
Please contact your senator
House Bill 1001 Administrative authority; COVID 19 immunizations
This bill would prohibit employers from requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine unless employers also offer religious, medical or general exemptions.
Businesses would have to offer weekly COVID-19 testing as an alternative at the expense of the employer.
Employees would also be able to prove natural immunity every six months instead of getting vaccinated.
Employees who are fired as a result of noncompliance would be eligible for unemployment.
This bill is opposed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Please contact your senator
House Bill 1100 Agency oversight and rulemaking procedures
This bill would limit Indiana state agencies’ ability to adopt timely and appropriate state standards to protect public health and the environment. Opposed by Hoosier Environmental Council. (Hoosier Environmental Council) HB1100 limits future Administrative Agency emergency orders to no more than 180 days in length and establishes required reviews by the Attorney General before they are final. It also requires that agencies adopting new rules take at least one old rule off the books. (Southwest Indiana Chamber)
Please contact your senator
House Bill 1063 De novo judicial review of certain agency actions
This bill would alter the standards that govern the way a trial court reviews the decision of an administrative agency. Such decisions include rulings of the Office of Environmental Adjudication (OEA) and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) that are charged with reviewing administrative appeals of IDEM and DNR permitting and enforcement decisions. Under current law, a party who seeks judicial review of an OEA or NRC ruling has the burden of proving that the decision is unlawful. Opposed by Hoosier Environmental Council. (Hoosier Environmental Council)
Please contact your senator
Passed the Senate and will now be considered in the House
Hoosier Action notes that these two bills will lead to more Hoosiers unnecessarily remaining in jail just because they can’t afford bail:
Senate Bill 6 Bail for violent arrestees
Senate Bill 8 Nonprofit bail funding.
Please contact your representative.
Some of it’s good…
Passed the House and now being considered in the Senate
House Bill 1214 Residential eviction actions
This bill “would allow tenants to seal eviction filings against them in some instances.” (WFYI)
House Bill 1294 Restraint of pregnant inmates
This bill would stop the inhumane practice of shackling Hoosier women while giving birth. The bill passed unanimously out of committee and now goes to the floor for a vote. (Hoosier Action)
HB 1140 Medicaid coverage for pregnant women
This bill expands Indiana’s postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months. Passed the House, goes to the Senate next. (Hoosier Action)
House Bill 1079 Elements of rape
Defines consent for the first time in Indiana law. Currently in Indiana, sex without consent isn’t a crime (WTHR)
Passed out of committee in the Senate and being considered on the Senate floor Must pass the Senate by Tuesday.
Senate Bill 88 Prescription drug rebates and pricing
This bill could potentially lower what you pay for your prescription medication. The bill would force companies to pass some of the savings and discounts to you, rather than a PBM (Prescription Benefit Manager).
And more (Passed the House and now being considered in the Senate)
House Bill 1002 Various tax matters
This bill cuts individual income tax from 3.23% to 3.0%, repeals the utility receipts and utility services taxes, eliminates the 30% minimum floor on new business personal property (BPP), creates a state income tax credit for that BPP currently taxed, makes Indiana standard a single direct tax (eliminated double direct sales tax), and a few other minor changes. Several lawmakers questioned the perceived priorities of the bill, The bill passed the House 68-25 and moves to the Senate where GOP leaders have been less enthusiastic about significant tax cuts in a non-budget year. (Southwest Indiana Chamber)
House Bill 1318 Child care provided by a school corporation
Allows public schools to bypass licensure requirements to provide child care.
House Bill1209 creates a program for doing sequestration of carbon dioxide.” The bill establishes a mechanism for regulating the underground storage of C02; the storage is subordinate to any oil, coal, and gas operations. It requires DNR approval to do a project and must be approved by 70% of the surface land holders and non-approving must still be compensated. Public notification is required, and a fund is created for the 8 cent per ton levied over time for future management costs
House Bill 1153 Worker’s compensation
Provides a 2% per year benefits increase in unemployment benefits for each of the next 4 years. The bill attempts to control costs by adding outpatient surgical centers to the previously approved price limits for services delivered in hospitals. (Southwest Indiana Chamber)
House Bill1306 Housing task force
Creates a housing task force to review issues related to housing and housing shortages in Indiana and report back no later than November 1, 2022. (Southwest Indiana Chamber)
Passed the Senate, now goes to the House
Senate Bill 3 Administrative authority
The Indiana Senate has approved a bill taking administrative steps that Gov. Eric Holcomb has said are needed in order for him to end the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency. Senators voted 34-11 in favor of the bill Thursday. The Republican-dominated Senate’s proposal is limited to those administrative actions, while House Republicans have pushed through a bill that would also severely limit workplace COVID-19 vaccination requirements. (WGN TV)
Senate Bill 5 Reciprocity
Provides for reciprocity for health care workers in Indiana.
Here’s what’s next for legislation this session:
- Measures that advanced out of a House committee have until Monday in the full chamber to go to the Senate” — or they are dead.
- All legislation originating in the Senate must be approved by the full chamber no later than Feb. 1 to proceed to the House.
- “House-approved proposals then will be taken up by the Senate and Senate-approved measures will be scrutinized by the House for three more weeks.
- During that time, if lawmakers in both chambers adopt legislation that uses identical language, it’ll go to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to be signed into law or vetoed.
- Early March is reserved for negotiations over items where the House and Senate generally support the same plan but disagree on how exactly a proposed new law should read.
- The Republican-controlled General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the year on or before March 14.” (NWI Times)
Next week there will be a short break: no House sessions February 2, 3, or 4 and no Senate sessions February 3 or 4. (Hoosier Action)
In other news
Attorneys for Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. have filed a motion to strike the appearance of the special prosecutor who oversaw an investigation that led to the sheriff’s indictment on felony resisting law enforcement and misdemeanor reckless driving charges. (Times of Northwest Indiana)
Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) filed for re-election to run in Indiana’s 2nd District in the House of Representatives. (WSBT-TV)
Indiana sues Google saying it invades users’ privacy – Fox 59
Indiana is suing Google for allegedly deceiving consumers and invading their privacy by making it nearly impossible for them to stop their location from being tracked.
All of Indiana’s 92 counties remain rated red (high risk spread with 15% or greater positivity rate & 100 or more new cases/100,000 residents). (Southwest Indiana Chamber)
A federal appeals court is letting Indiana University keep its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students in place, dealing another legal blow to a lawsuit challenging it. (AP Indiana)
To find and contact your Indiana legislators: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/
Congress is back in session after a one week recess last week.
The Senate will take up nominees to the courts and for military and diplomatic positions.
“The House starts its week on Tuesday with the consideration of a bill to promote efficiency in procurement and acquisitions within the Dept. of Homeland Security S. 583 Price Act of 2021 that passed the Senate in July; in addition to 10 bills naming post offices around the country,
The rest of the week will largely be focused on the China competitiveness bill, although it’s unclear when a final vote will occur or how much it will differ from the Senate’s version of the legislation, S. 1260: United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which passed last summer with bipartisan support.” (Causes)
See Causes for more information and links to committee hearings in both chambers.
To find and contact your Members of Congress: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
In other news
Vaccines have saved over one million lives and prevented over 10 million hospitalizations in the United States alone. (Vox)
“Some manufacturers that rely on semiconductors are down to less than five days’ worth of inventory, according to a report released Tuesday by the Commerce Department, in the latest indication of the extent of the computer chip shortage… A global supply crunch sparked by the pandemic and extreme weather in Asia has led to shortages and, in some cases, higher prices of cars, iPhones, washing machines and more…” (CNN)
“US gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — expanded 5.7% last year, the fastest pace since 1984 when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday.
The final three months of 2021 got a much better scorecard than economists had predicted: GDP grew at an annualized rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter.” (CNN)
Federal prosecutors are reviewing fake Electoral College certifications that declared former President Donald Trump the winner of states that he lost, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco She also said that, more broadly, the Justice Department was “going to follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead, to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an assault on our democracy.” (CNN)
“The House Jan. 6 Select Committee said Friday that it is subpoenaing more than two dozen people involved in the scheme following the 2020 election where supporters of former President Trump submitted fake Electoral College certificates claiming he had won in various battleground states that had gone to President Biden.” (The Hill)
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, announced his retirement at the end of the court term and until an replacement is confirmed. (CNN)
“Biden presided over Breyer’s confirmation to the Supreme Court as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1994, and now he will name Breyer’s replacement. This has never happened before in U.S. history. Not even by Martin Van Buren, who was Judiciary Committee chair way back in the 1820s and then later became the 8th president…
Republicans can’t block a Supreme Court nomination in the Judiciary Committee or on the floor as long as all 50 Senate Democrats stick together and back Biden’s nominee. Democrats don’t need Republicans to hold a confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee, and they don’t need them to vote in committee in order to advance a nomination…A nomination can’t be filibustered or prevented from coming to the Senate floor. Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie on the nomination if that occurs. So this is all about Democrats and the White House executing over the next few months.” (Punchbowl News)
“The conservative-dominated Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to the consideration of race in college admissions, adding affirmative action to major cases on abortion, guns, religion and COVID-19 already on the agenda.” (Associated Press)