04/04/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

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Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 55: Emmett Till Antilynching Act


Passed the House and Senate, President next

S. 2629: Better Cybercrime Metrics Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes various requirements to improve the collection of data related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime (cybercrime).” 
Passed 377 – 48. All Indiana reps voted yea, except Rep. Spartz who voted nay.

Passed the Senate

H.R. 4521: America COMPETES Act of 2022 (America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 or the America COMPETES Act of 2022)
This bill covers scientific research, economic competitiveness, and various other matters. For summary of the specifics in this bill see GovTrack.us.
Passed with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 68 – 28. Senator Braun voted nay and Senator Young voted yea. View the vote.
This bill has been passed in the House and the Senate, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House on March 28, 2022.

S. 442: BRIGHT Act  Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-efficiency Technology Act or the BRIGHT Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill expands requirements relating to the procurement and use of energy-efficient lighting in federal buildings.”
Passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3580: Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.
GovTrack.us: “This bill revises requirements governing ocean shipping to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports. For example, the bill prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair methods.”

Passed the House, Senate next

H.R. 6833 Affordable Insulin Now Act
Causes: “This bill would limit cost-sharing for insulin under private health insurance and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. It would specifically cap cost-sharing under private health insurance for a month’s supply of selected insulin products at $35 or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price (after concessions), whichever is less, beginning in 2023.” Passed 232-193. Indiana reps Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all others voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 3617: MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act or the MORE Act)
GovTrack.us: “This bill decriminalizes marijuana. Specifically, it removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”
The bill also makes other changes; see details at GovTrack.
Passed 220 – 204. Indiana Representatives Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all other Indiana reps voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 1621: Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “The Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act would prevent any court from considering a defendant’s acquitted behavior or charge at a sentencing, unless it’s to lessen that person’s sentence for a convicted charge.
Passed 405 – 12. All Indiana reps voted yea except Rep. Hollingsworth who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 6865: Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “To authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard, and for other purposes.”
Passed 378 – 46. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 2954: Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill makes various changes with respect to employer-sponsored retirement plans, including providing for the automatic enrollment of employees in certain plans and increasing the age at which participants are required to begin receiving mandatory distributions.”
Passed 414 – 5. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 3359: Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes a framework for immediate family members of a victim of murder under federal law to request a review of the victim’s case file if the murder was committed more than three years prior, all probative investigative leads have been exhausted, and no likely perpetrator has been identified.”
Passed 406 – 20. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 4738: COVID–19 American History Project Act
GovTrack.us: “To direct the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to establish a history project to collect video and audio recordings of personal histories and testimonials, written materials, and photographs of those who were affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes.”
Passed 376 – 47. All Indiana reps voted yea except Rep. Hollingsworth who voted nay. View the vote.

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

In other news

“Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation that he said will expand parental rights in Florida while restricting classroom lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation, codifying into law the fiercely opposed bill branded “Don’t Say Gay” by LGBTQ advocates.”
“This is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend across the country of legislation targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators, and individuals,” said U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement. “This comes at a time when we know lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning students are three to four times more likely than non-LGBTQI+ students to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even self harm – not because of who they are but because of the hostility directed at them.” (Politico)

“Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, voted to unionize on Friday, marking the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant’s history and handing an unexpected win to a nascent group that fueled the union drive.” (Associated Press)

President Biden’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year includes a new minimum tax on billionaires and increased funding for police and gun violence prevention.” (NPR)

“President Joe Biden announced Thursday that 180 million barrels of oil will be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next six months in an effort to counteract rising energy prices. It will be the largest drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in its 47-year history.” (Causes)

Read an interesting and factual take on the Republican transformation from a party that supported federal assistance programs to an authoritarian leaning party of no and the role the media has played at Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American.

“New vehicles sold in the U.S. will have to average at least 40 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2026, up from about 28 mpg, under new federal rules unveiled Friday that undo a rollback of standards enacted under President Donald Trump.” (Associated Press)

“The Biden administration plans to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up the mining and processing of key minerals used in batteries for renewable energy and electric vehicles. That could include nickel, lithium, cobalt, graphite, and manganese, according to the White House fact sheet.” (The Verge)

The courts
“A federal judge permanently blocked Florida’s new voter suppression laws from going into effect on Thursday, issuing a blistering ruling that said the bill unfairly and unconstitutionally violated minorities’ voting rights.” (Daily Beast)

“The Biden administration said on Friday that it will end a Trump-era border policy on May 23, under which nearly two million migrants have been expelled from the U.S.” (Politico)

Jan. 6
“A federal judge ruled Monday that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress as part of a criminal conspiracy when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. District Court Judge David] Carter’s sweeping and historic ruling came as he ordered the release to the House’s Jan. 6 committee of 101 emails from Trump ally John Eastman, rejecting Eastman’s effort to shield them via attorney-client privilege.” (Politico)

“Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) on Sunday said the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is aware of phone calls involving then-President Trump that took place the day of the violent attack during a more than seven-hour gap in Trump’s phone log.” (The Hill)


A new Indiana law will limit schools to just three days of virtual learning, and half of those days will have to be led remotely by teachers. It’s part of HB-1093, which includes various other education-related pieces of legislation. (WANE-TV)

Krull: Bigotry, pettiness, meanness: It’s just another day in Indiana politics – The Herald-Times
Columnist John Krull dissects some of the recent stupid, ugly and wasteful moves by Indiana’s leaders.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is joining Indiana to a multi-state lawsuit targeting the federal transportation COVID-19 mask mandates.  (Indiana Public Media)

“Indiana will double post-election audits, after this year’s general election. As the state pays for all electronic voting machines in Indiana to install “voter verifiable paper audit trails” by 2024, GOP Secretary of State Holli Sullivan said post-election audits will be able to check accuracy from the electronic poll book to the voting machine to the paper trails…In response to the audit increase, the Indiana Democratic Party called it an “election year stunt” that creates more questions for Hoosiers. In a statement, party spokesman Drew Anderson said, “This sad attempt to save her election chances to appeal to an extreme base again shows an Indiana GOP without a plan for the state’s future — just shallow partisan maneuvers.”” (WFYI)

The Gary Community School Corporation is reporting a $2 million surplus for 2021 after having a deficit of more than $21 million just four years prior. The district calls the surplus a “watershed moment” that was achieved through multiple strategies. (Inside Indiana Business)

With Indiana ranking last in the country for residents’ access to comprehensive public health systems, local health officials think that increasing funding and education are essential.  (News and Tribune)

 Indiana health officials are dropping the state’s color-coded map that rated each county’s risk of COVID-19 spread in favor of relying on a different federal rating system.  (Inside Indiana Business)

U.S. Senator Todd Young has released a statement saying he will not support Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.  (Indy Politics)

Lawsuits that students at Indiana University and Purdue University filed seeking tuition and fee refunds after both schools switched to online classes early in the COVID-19 pandemic can proceed to trial, the state appeals court ruled.  (AP Indiana)

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in an unprecedented lawsuit pitting Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb against the Republican-controlled General Assembly.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Back to Senator Braun advocating states’ rights over racial issues. We can’t forget that he opposed in a clear-eyed response that inter-racial marriage should be determined by the states. He tried to walk back his comments, but let’s be clear: he was asked to clarify what he said at the time and repeated himself.
“What I want to know from Braun is what cases should the Supreme Court take and rule on? Why do we even have a Supreme Court? If we left everything up to states, it’s possible we would have states where “separate but equal” would still be the law of the land. But maybe Braun would be OK with that.
By the way, why even have senators at the federal level creating legislation for the entire country? Doesn’t that interfere with states’ rights, Sen. Braun? What would your job be then?” (Indianapolis Recorder)

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) says homeowners who build a FEMA-approved tornado safe room or shelter can apply to be reimbursed for up to 75% of their expenses. (WTHR)

“Indiana elementary and high schools generally cannot be held liable for any prevention measures they take, or fail to take, to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. That’s the official opinion Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Munster native, issued Wednesday in response to an inquiry by state Rep. David Abbott, R-Rome City.” (NWI Times)

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