03/07/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Join us for a town hall with Indiana State Representative Moseley on 
Wednesday, March 23, at 6pm central time.

Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Learn about this year’s legislative session and what to expect for the rest of this year and in 2023 in the state legislature. Many devastating and controversial bills were considered this year and some passed. What can we expect going forward?

On Monday, April 4, voter registration for Indiana’s May 3 primary ends. Learn how to help people register to vote and how to check your own voter registration on our webage: https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/03/your-guide-to-voter-registration/ 


Although some bills appear dead, the language in these bills can still be included in another bill. Please let your your senator and state representative know how you want them to vote.

“March 14th is the final day of the session. In the next week, legislators will focus on reconciling House and Senate versions of bills in Conference Committees, where almost anything could happen. Bills which had previously passed both chambers can die in conference committee and “zombie” bills which had previously been killed can reappear as amendments” or in another bill. (Hoosier Action)

These bills appear to be dead, but work is continuing to revive them:

House Bill 1077 Permitless handgun carry—Now SB 209
It was revived Wednesday by placing the language of HB 1077 into another bill. A conference committee hollowed out SB 209, which added specified substances to the scheduled list of controlled substances, and replaced it with Constitutional Carry language. (WTHR)
A Senate committee last week “gutted the bill after eight hours of testimony and debate. But Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said that change violated Senate rules, forcing him to stop HB 1077 from moving forward in the Senate.”
However, Bray said the House and Senate will look for a new landing spot for the bill’s original language, which would eliminate the requirement to get a license to carry a handgun.
“And then debate it here on the floor of the Senate, debate it over in the House and see if it can move,” Bray said.
Advancing the permit carry elimination goes against the wishes of the majority of law enforcement in Indiana, highlighted during Wednesday’s committee hearing. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter sharply criticized Republicans, saying they were acting out of political concerns and not in the interest of public safety.
“It’s often so easy to talk about your support for public safety,” Carter said. “But if you choose to support this bill, you will not be supporting us.”” (Indiana Public Media)
Indiana’s top Republican lawmakers said they were “frustrated” and “very disappointed” after the head of the Indiana State Police offered a searing rebuke of the supermajority at the Statehouse last week.  (South Bend Tribune)
Gov. Eric Holcomb said he stands behind the head of the Indiana State Police who rebuked Republican lawmakers last week for pushing “constitutional carry” legislation.  (Indy Star)

House Bill 1134 Education matters 
The Indiana Senate late Monday killed this bill that “sought to restrict how teachers teach about race and racism. Senate sponsor Linda Rogers (R-Granger) declined to call forward the watered-down House Bill 1134 on the Senate floor on Monday — the deadline for bills to receive a second reading there — after lawmakers twice delayed considering it. 
The move signals that the bill lacked the votes among Republicans,” but legislators “may look to incorporate parts of the bill into other legislation…” (Chalkbeat Indiana)
Republican House Speaker Todd Huston, however, praised the bill. There are 10 days left in the session, time for language from the bill to be inserted into other legislation. Groups including the Indiana State Teachers Union, civil rights, faith, parent and public education groups joined together at the Indiana Statehouse Thursday to protest any revival of the bill. (Associated Press)

HB1249 and SB 265 Carbon sequestration and House Bill 1103 Department of natural resources 
Reminder:  Unwarranted language to provide legal protection to a controversial carbon sequestration project in Terre Haute — contained in HB1249 and SB 265 — may come back to life in the final week of session. SB 265 was defeated on the House floor and the House bill was never heard in Senate committee. But there are indications that the language may be added in conference committee to HB 1103, a bill addressing various DNR matters. Wabash Valley Resources intends to produce hydrogen fuel and wants to inject the resulting CO2 emissions underground to sequester the carbon.  Environmental, health, and property risks have not been fully disclosed or evaluated yet, so any grant of legal liability protection from damages is premature, and potentially harmful. (League of Women Voters Indiana)

The following bills are still being considered on the House or Senate floor:

House Bill 1251 Education matters 
“An omnibus bill that, among many things, would allow schools to hire adjunct teachers. It also would ask the State Board of Education to consult with colleges and industries to identify skills that students need to be successful after high school, and then streamline high school standards to better align with those skills.” 
Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), Chair of the House Education Committee and sponsor of the bill, “is under fire for a speech that seemed to imply that a lack of “respect for learning” was to blame for low test scores among Indianapolis’ Black students…Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), who sits on the Senate education committee, countered Behning’s comments in a statement, saying that structural factors like poverty, housing instability and lack of access to food play the biggest role in determining student performance. 
“So many Indiana communities with a large Black population have also experienced repeated attacks — stemming from racism — on public education and funding over the past decade,” Melton’s statement said. “To imply that Black students don’t care about learning is not only disrespectful but asinine, and it ignores the systemic problems that continue to plague communities of color.”” (Indianapolis Recorder)

Senate Bill 382 Various tax matters
Contains language that would cut the tax rate on some e-cigarettes by 40% and give other addictive tobacco products a favorable tax rate of just $0.40 per ounce. Cancer Action Network has made it easy to urge your legislators to oppose this bill: https://secure.fightcancer.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=19506

House Bill 1300 Bail
“Would continue the disturbing and counterproductive policy of treating charitable bail organizations more harshly than for-profit bail bondsmen. (Indianapolis Recorder) Passed the Senate and returned to the House with amendments. You can take action by contacting Governor Holcomb to urge him to vote no. Hoosier Action makes it easy: https://www.hoosieraction.org/stop1300
“The bill to end charity, HB 1300, had a conference committee hearing to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.” (Hoosier Action)

House Bill 1116 Electronic voting machines
This bill will add “small printers to thousands of electronic touch-screen voting machines and is being criticized by voting rights groups as relying on ineffective and outdated technology.
This bill will also impact how Hoosier voters apply for absentee ballots – requiring them to include their drivers’ license numbers or social security numbers on their application forms. (Women4Change)

House Bill 1140 Medicaid coverage for pregnant women
Expands the Medicaid income eligibility requirements for pregnant women, extends additional postpartum coverage from 2 months to 12 months, and removes the Medicaid limitations for pregnant women for pregnancy related medical services. Passed the Senate with amendments; motion to dissent filed in the House. (Women4Change)

Passed both chambers, goes to the governor next (Contact Governor Holcomb: https://www.in.gov/gov/ask-eric/)

House Bill 1041 Participation in school sports
Indiana lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a Republican-backed bill that would ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity, sending it to the governor for his decision on whether it will become law.  (Fox 59) View the vote.
“More than 30 states [including Indiana], initiated anti-trans legislation in 2021 alone, and at least seven more have done so this year to date.
These anti-transgender health care bills and legal interpretations are part of a package of initiatives that mark 2021 as a “record-breaking year” for anti-LGBTQ policies introduced in state legislatures across the country according to the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. And 2022 is already on track to surpass this record…Campaigns that mischaracterize LGBTQ-supportive policies as harmful to young people are a staple strategy conservatives use to galvanize their base.” (The Conversation)

House Bill 1285 Redistricting local election districts
This bill will add further restrictions to the way local political subdivisions conduct their redistricting processes. (Women4Change)

Senate Bill 271 Small modular nuclear reactors
Hoosier Environmental Council opposes this bill; they do not believe that SMRs would be a cost-effective climate solution for Indiana.

House Bill 1079 Elements of rape
This bill seeks to redefine rape and consent in Indiana. The legislation stipulates that a person who has sexual intercourse with someone who attempts to “physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person’s acts” commits rape. It also makes clear that a person commits rape if they pretend to be a different person and engage in sexual intercourse with someone else. That’s a change to Indiana’s existing law, which does not provide a definition of consent. (Associated Press) Passed with amendments unanimously in the Senate and 90-1 in the House.

House Bill 1294 Restraint of pregnant inmates
Establishes legal standards for how jails and prisons can use restraints on pregnant incarcerated people and creates a reporting mechanism to document all occasions where restraints are used in Indiana prisons. (Women4Change)

Senate Bill 155 Human trafficking
Alters the definition of a “protected person” in cases of human trafficking to refer to “an individual who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the offense but less than 18 years of age at the time of trial” and “increases the penalty if the human trafficking victim is less than 18 years of age.” This bill also ensures that a person charged with human trafficking cannot claim the victim gave consent or that they were unaware the victim was under 18. A final provision states that police “must report human trafficking investigations to the attorney general within 30 days after an investigation begins.” (Women4Change)

House Bill 1130 Open meetings 
School boards must allow any person physically present at a school board meeting to address the board if the person is interested in doing so. However, a proposed requirement that each person be guaranteed at least three minutes to speak was cut from the plan in favor of permitting school boards to adopt “reasonable rules” for public comment, including an overall time limit for all speakers. School boards also retain the right to take “reasonable steps to maintain order in a meeting,” including “removal of any person who is willfully disruptive of the meeting.” (KPC News) The amended bill passed in the House 91-1

House Bill 1359 Juvenile law matters 
This bill “creates various reforms of the juvenile justice system statewide, including not detaining children under 12, risk assessment tools to divert youth away from the system and implementing more statewide consistency.” Senate amended bill passed the House unanimously.

House Bill 1190 Free speech at state educational institutions
This Senate amended bill passed the House unanimously.

Senate Bill 411 Commercial solar and wind energy
This bill that sought to incentivize the spread of commercial renewable energy systems in Indiana has moved forward in the Indiana Legislature, but without the incentives. (Indiana Environmental Reporter)
Legislation setting voluntary statewide standards for large wind and solar projects is on its way to the governor, but without a  key provision to entice local governments to adopt the standards.  (IBJ)

House Bill 1313 Screening children for lead poisoning

Signed into law by the Governor

House Bill 1001 Administrative authority; COVID-19 immunizations
“Holcomb signed House Bill 1001 Thursday, which will let Indiana continue to draw federal dollars after the COVID-19 public health emergency …The bill includes a devastating provision ending the SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) on April 16, 2022 – the end of the current federal public health emergency. With this deadline, low-income Hoosiers will miss out on $200M in federal benefits to afford healthier food options for their families, purchased at more than 5,000 Indiana retailers—from a statement from Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks.” (FOX59)
“The federal government made enhanced SNAP benefits available in the earliest days of the pandemic. And the Biden administration continued extending the federal health emergency, meaning those benefits are still available to Hoosiers, about $85 per family. The cutoff date for the extra food stamp funds is April 16. That means, even if the federal government extends its health emergency again and continues to offer enhanced SNAP, Hoosiers won’t receive it.” (Indiana Public Media)

In other news

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. will be responsible for cleaning up soil contamination at individual residences within the Town of Pines Groundwater Plume Superfund site in Porter County, Indiana, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today. (Indiana Environmental Reporter)

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


Enacted, signed into the law by the President

H.R. 4445: Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021


Passed the House and Senate, goes to the President next

S. 3706: To provide for the application of certain provisions of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 for fiscal year 2021.
The vote was by voice vote so no record of individual votes was made.

S. 854: Methamphetamine Response Act of 2021
Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 1543: STANDUP Act of 2021
Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 1662: Supporting the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration Act
Agreed to by voice vote.


H.R. 3755: Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “To protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services. Cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 46 – 48.
This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture on February 28, 2022. 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.” (NBC News)

Passed the Senate, goes to the House next

S.J.Res. 38: Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020.
GovTrack.us: “This joint resolution terminates the national emergency concerning COVID-19 declared by the President on March 13, 2020.” Passed 48-47. Senators Braun and Young voted yea. View the vote.

S. 3600: Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “A bill to improve the cybersecurity of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.” Passed by Unanimous Consent so no individual record of votes was taken.

S. 198: Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act
GovTrack.us: “A bill to require the Federal Communications Commission to incorporate data on maternal health outcomes into its broadband health maps.” Passed by Unanimous Consent so no individual record of votes was taken.

S. 3103: Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to eliminate the statute of limitations for the filing of a civil claim for any person who, while a minor, was a victim of a violation of section 1589, 1590, 1591, 2241(c), 2242, 2243, 2251, 2251A, 2252, 2252A, 2260, 2421, 2422, or 2423 of such title.” Passed by Unanimous Consent so no individual record of votes was taken.

S.J.Res. 32: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services relating to Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID–19 Health Care Staff Vaccination. Passed 49-44. Senators Braun and Young voted yea. View the vote.


H.R. 2116: CROWN Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “To prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.”
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Failed by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 235 – 188. All Indiana republicans voted nay. Reps Andre and Mrvan voted yea. View the vote. This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote on February 28, 2022 under a fast-track procedure called “suspension.” It may or may not get another vote.

Passed in the House, goes to the Senate next 

H.R. 3967 To improve health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances, and for other purposes.
Causes: This bill would “streamline the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) process for determining what toxic exposures can be covered under VA care. To do this, it would address healthcare, presumption of service-connection, research, resources, and other matters related to veterans exposed to toxic substances during military services. It would make veterans who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity or served in specified locations on specified dates eligible for VA medical care.” Passed 256-174. Representatives Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all other Indiana reps voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 55: Emmett Till Antilynching Act
: “To amend section 249 of title 18, United States Code, to specify lynching as a hate crime act.”
“Three Republicans voted against an anti-lynching bill last night. Reps. Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Tom Massie (Ky.) and Chip Roy (Texas) all voted no last night. The final margin on the “Emmett Till Antilynching Act” sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was 422-3.” (Punchbowl News)

This week in Congress

Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to pass a spending bill or the federal government will experience a partial shutdown as the weekend begins. They have yet to agree on a spending package and are considering including an emergency aid package for Ukraine in the bill, although many republicans prefer that to be a separate bill. Read more about upcoming legislation and committee hearings in both chambers at Causes. The House is working on legislation to end energy imports from Russia, and to repeal “permanent normal trade relation” status for Russia and Belarus. In addition, House Speaker Pelosi said the United States may begin the process of trying to eject Russia from the World Trade Organization. (Punchbowl News)

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

In other news

“The Biden administration has taken some aggressive steps to fight Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) directive to investigate the parents of trans kids for child abuse.
President Biden released a statement on Wednesday calling Abbott’s order “government overreach at its worst,” and wrote, “Transgender children bring fulfillment to their parents, joy to their friends, and are made in the image of God. Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized.” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urged any targeted families to file a complaint with the department’s Office of Civil Rights, and HHS has released guidance to state child welfare agencies specifying that they’re responsible for making gender-affirming care available to trans youth. The department also released guidance clarifying that health-care providers are not required to turn over private patient information to Texas officials, and that denying health-care based on gender identity is against the law.” (What a Day, Crooked Media)

“The Biden administration will allow Ukrainians in the US to apply for temporary protected status, shielding them from deportation and allowing them to obtain work permits….” (Buzzfeed News)

“A new report from a United Nations climate panel is warning of the deadly effects of climate change both now and in the future — and finding that they are currently worse than scientists had believed they would be.” (The Hill)

The courts
“A jury on Thursday acquitted Brett Hankison of all three counts of felony wanton endangerment in the botched raid that left Breonna Taylor dead. The former Louisville Metro Police Department detective was the only officer charged in connection with the March 2020 shooting, but the charges were not for her death.” (CNN)

“A federal appellate court on Friday upheld the government’s authority to expel migrants under a Trump-era pandemic-related order retained by the Biden administration, but barred U.S. border officials from expelling families to countries where they could be harmed.” (CBS News)

“The Supreme Court…rejected an appeal of a Pennsylvania court ruling that overturned comedian Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction.” (Axios)

“The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The justices, by a 6-3 vote Friday, agreed with the Biden administration’s arguments that a federal appeals court was wrong to throw out the sentence of death a jury imposed on Tsarnaev for his role in the bombing that killed three people near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.” (Huffpost)

“The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to resolve a dispute over the legality of decades-old federal requirements that give Native American families priority to adopt Native American children in a challenge pursued by a group of non-Native adoptive families and the state of Texas.” (NBC News)

“The Supreme Court on Monday appeared poised to narrow the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, a move that could further derail President Joe Biden’s ambitious plans to fight climate change that have already suffered a setback in the Senate. The court’s conservative majority spent much of Monday’s arguments probing the extent of EPA’s authority, with Justice Samuel Alito at one point arguing that EPA essentially sought unfettered power over major parts of the economy.” (Politico)