04/11/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

The Indiana primary is May 3. Check your voter registration, register to vote and help others register, all online. Learn how and about important deadlines on our website: https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/03/your-guide-to-voter-registration/

Currently registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot to vote-by-mail or traveling board by logging in to their My Voter Portal Page on IndianaVoters.com. Fill out and sent the application online; if you mail it, it must be received by the county election boards office by April 21. You will have to check one of 11 acceptable reasons to be allowed to vote by mail. The completed ballot must reach the county election office by 6pm on election day.

Early voting in person for the primary began April 5 and will continue until May 2 at noon. All locations are closed on Good Friday, April 15. See all early voting locations and times in Lake County here, in Porter County here and in LaPorte County here.

Learn who is on your ballot at indianavoters.com. Scroll down a little and click on ‘who’s on the ballot’.
Learn where your candidates stand on the issues at vote411 from the League of Women Voters. Check ballotpedia for information about congressional and state legislative candidates running in the primary. Even if they didn’t complete a questionnaire, a brief biography is provided.

See what Dems in Congress have done for NW Indiana these past two years. Impressive. View the brief slideshow or video of accomplishments on our website.

Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 3076: Postal Service Reform Act of 2022


Passed the House and Senate, President next

H.R. 5681: Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

“The Senate and House cleared bills on Thursday to revoke normal trade relations with Russia and ban oil imports from the country, a one-two punch that caps three weeks of negotiations over legislation to further isolate Moscow.” (Politico)

Passed the House

H.R. 7276 Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act
Causes: “This bill would express the sense of Congress that Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine. It would also make it U.S. policy to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence and information related to war crimes and other atrocities committed during the Russian invasion for use in appropriate domestic, foreign, and international courts and tribunals responsible for such crimes; help deter the future commission of war crimes by publicizing efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible to the maximum extent possible; and continue efforts to identify, deter, and pursue war crimes committed around the world and to leverage international cooperation in those efforts.”
Passed 418-7; all Indiana reps voted yea.

H.R. 4476: DHS Trade and Economic Security Council Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill establishes the DHS Trade and Economic Security Council, which shall provide trade and economic security advice and recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This includes identifying concentrated risks and setting priorities for protecting the nation’s trade and economic security.”
Passed 348 – 75; all Indiana reps voted yea except Reps Pence and Banks who voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 5689: Resilient AMERICA Act
GovTrack.us: “To improve the provision of Federal resources to help build capacity and fund risk-reducing, cost-effective mitigation projects for eligible State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and certain private nonprofit organizations, and for other purposes.”
Passed 383 – 41; all Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 5641: SPEED Recovery Act Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster Recovery Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill increases to $1 million the threshold for eligibility for assistance for what qualifies as a small project under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, thereby allowing more recovery projects to proceed under simplified procedures.”
Passed 414-11; all Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 6387: School and Daycare Protection Act
GovTrack.us: “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish a school security coordinating council, and for other purposes.”
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 5633: Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Transparency Act
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 1540: REPORT Act
GovTrack.us: “To provide for joint reports by relevant Federal agencies to Congress regarding incidents of terrorism, and for other purposes.”
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 4209: DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill authorizes for FY2022 and FY2023 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities to identify and remediate illicit cross-border tunnels. CBP shall also develop and report to Congress a strategic plan to improve such operations.”
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 1218: Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include data on certain maternal health outcomes in its broadband health mapping tool. This is an online platform that allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at national, state, and county levels.”
Passed 409 – 11; all Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 2501: Spectrum Coordination Act
GovTrack.us: “To require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission to update the memorandum of understanding on spectrum coordination.”
Passed 418 – 6; all Indiana reps voted yea.

H.Res. 831: Calling on the United States Government to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Passed 362 – 63; all Indiana reps voted yea except for Rep Hollingsworth who voted nay.  
This simple resolution was agreed to on April 5, 2022. That is the end of the legislative process for a simple resolution.

H. Res. 1037
: “This resolution holds Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, Jr., in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. It allows the House leadership to pursue enforcement of the subpoena in federal court; and to criminally refer Navarro and Scavino to the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) for the agency to consider his prosecution under criminal contempt statutes (although the DOJ historically declines to prosecute criminal contempt referrals).
As a simple resolution, this legislation won’t advance beyond the House.” Representatives Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all other Indiana reps voted nay. View the vote.


“Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as first Black woman on Supreme Court: The Senate confirmed Jackson to the Supreme Court, marking a historic moment for the high court. Jackson was approved, 53-47, with the support of three Republicans. The vote makes Jackson the first Black female justice and delivers Democrats their first high-court seat in 12 years.” (Politico)
“Former first lady Michelle Obama praised Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday, thanking the judge, newly confirmed to the US Supreme Court, for giving Black women and girls “a new dream to dream, a new path to forge, and a future we can all be hopeful for.”” (CNN)

H.R. 4373: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022
Last Action: Cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 47 – 52. Senators Young and Braun voted nay. View the vote.
“Republicans blocked a Democratic attempt Tuesday to begin Senate debate on a $10 billion COVID-19 compromise, pressing to entangle the bipartisan package with an election-year showdown over immigration restrictions that poses a politically uncomfortable fight for Democrats” Hours before the vote, “Republicans said they’d withhold crucial support for the measure unless Democrats agreed to votes on an amendment preventing President Joe Biden from lifting Trump-era curbs on migrants entering the U.S. With Biden polling poorly on his handling of immigration and Democrats divided on the issue, Republicans see a focus on migrants as a fertile line of attack… At least half the bill would be used for research and to produce therapeutics to treat COVID-19. Money would also be used to buy vaccines and tests and to research new variants.
The measure is paid for by pulling back unspent funds provided earlier for protecting aviation manufacturing jobs, assisting entertainment venues shuttered by the pandemic and other programs.” (PBS News)

Passed the Senate, House next

S. 2123: Pray Safe Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Federal Clearinghouse on Safety and Security Best Practices for Faith-Based Organizations and Houses of Worship” Passed by Unanimous Consent.

The week ahead in Congress

Causes: “This week marks the first of the annual two-week spring recess for lawmakers to observe the Easter and Passover holidays. When Congress returns, lawmakers in both chambers are expected to try to reach a bicameral and bipartisan agreement on a new COVID relief package after a deal proved elusive prior to recess.” 

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

In other news

“The Biden administration is extending a pause on federal student loan repayments through August 31.
The repayment freeze, which has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, had been scheduled to expire on May 1.” (CNN)
“President Biden has not only delayed student loan payments for another few months, but he’s also given some borrowers a bit of ‘forgiveness.’…Biden’s pause includes millions of federal loan borrowers having their delinquent or default status erased, allowing them to “reenter repayment in good standing,” the Education Department explained in a Wednesday release.” (NewsNation)

Biden announced the nomination of Steve Dettelbach as the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. No director has been confirmed since 2015. (ABC News)

The courts
“The weeks-long trial of four men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ended Friday with no guilty verdicts.” (Talking Points Memo)

“President Joe Biden’s requirement that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 was upheld Thursday by a federal appeals court.” (Associated Press)

“On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a 5–4 shadow docket order reviving a Trump-era ruling that radically limited the ability of states and tribes to restrict projects, like pipelines, that will damage the environment. With their decision, the majority upended decades of settled law recognizing states’ authority to protect their own waters without bothering to issue a single sentence of reasoning.” (Slate)

Gun control
 On Monday, President Joe Biden announced new regulations to crack down on ghost guns — privately made firearms without serial numbers that police say are increasingly involved in crimes. [USA Today / Michael Collins]
“The new rule essentially expands the definition of a “firearm,” as established by the Gun Control Act, to cover “buy build shoot” kits that people can buy online or from a firearm dealer and assemble themselves. It will make these kits subject to the same federal laws that currently apply to other firearms.” (ABC News)

There is a growing number of Democrats who are coming out against President Biden’s decision not to renew Title 42.  (WIBC)

January 6
The January 6 Committee is reaching its final stages. Read what’s ahead at Politico.

“The U.N. General Assembly voted earlier on Thursday to suspend Russia from the council over allegations of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine.” (Politico)

Women’s rights
“The Oklahoma legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill that would make performing an abortion illegal in the state, making exceptions only in the case of medical emergencies.”
Rep. Emily Virgin, the House Democratic leader, said in a statement Tuesday that “unfortunately, this is what we are seeing in many Republican-controlled states: a movement by Republicans to use unconstitutional legislation like Senate Bill 612 to distract from the actual challenges our citizens face.”
“As elected leaders, our focus should be on expanding access to health care, protecting public education, and addressing infrastructure needs, but instead, Republicans are more concerned with re-litigating Supreme Court decisions from the state legislature. These bills hurt people, waste taxpayer resources, and get us no closer to our shared goal of a better tomorrow.” (CNN)


“Indiana lawmakers are going to have to try harder if they really believe excess state revenue should be returned to Hoosier taxpayers. Data released Friday by the State Budget Agency show Indiana can cover the entire 2023 budget year cost of the highly touted tax cuts approved in March by the Republican-controlled General Assembly using just the state’s extra revenue from February and March.” (NWI Times)

“This year, almost all Indiana taxpayers are due to receive a one-time $125 Automatic Taxpayer Refund from the state. Married couples filing jointly will get $250. The state is returning $545 million to Hoosiers after ending its fiscal year with a surplus. Under state law, the excess money turns into a refundable tax credit…According to the Indiana Department of Revenue, taxpayers will receive one-time direct deposits to their bank accounts beginning in May…The state said taxpayers should allow until Sept. 1 to get their money.” (Fox59)

“Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has signed on to an amicus brief opposing a California law that limits the amount of ammunition a firearm magazine can hold to 10 or fewer rounds. Rokita’s office announced Wednesday that he is joining attorneys general from 22 other states in asking the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case regarding California Penal Code 32310. The amicus brief is in response to a 2021 ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the state law, passed in 2016, does not interfere with constitutional rights.” (The Indiana Lawyer)

Police departments have three months to get ready for the end of Indiana’s gun permit requirement.  (WIBC)

“The state of Indiana is beginning the process of deciding where and how to deploy electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related equipment funded by the 2021 federal infrastructure law. On Monday, the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Office of Energy Development issued a joint request for information (RFI) seeking input from various stakeholders as the agencies work to develop the state’s EV implementation plan.” (NWI Times)

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