04/18/2022 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/ Please note: voter registration to be eligible to vote in the primary has ended, but there is plenty of time to register for the general election on Nov. 8.

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 the application; 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 by 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.

League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area, Rise NWI and Lakeshore Public Radio have begun a series of debates among primary candidates. 

Watch the debate among Democratic candidates for Lake County Sheriff.

Watch the debate among Democratic candidates for Lake County Clerk Tuesday, April 19, at 6 at the Ophelia Steen Center in Hammond. For more information, see the Facebook page  for League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area or Rise NWI. Listen to the debate on Lakeshore Public Radio, FM89.1.

Members of the Indivisible NWI Steering Committee had the pleasure of interviewing three candidates running for State Senator in District 4—Debb Chubb, Todd Connor and Rodney Pol. Below read some highlights as you consider your choices for the primary on May 3.

Read about our conversation with Deb Chubb at https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/04/deb-chubb-state-senator-candidate-district-4/.
Learn more about Deb at her website, https://debforindiana.com/

Read about our conversation with Todd Connor at https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/04/todd-connor-state-senator-candidate/
Learn more about Todd at his website, https://www.toddconnorforsenate.org/.

Read about our conversation with Rodney Pol at https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/04/rodney-pol-state-senate-candidate/
Learn more about Rodney at his website, https://www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/senators/s4/


Causes: Last week marked “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.” 
The Senate will be back in session on Monday, April 25, while the House will return on April 26.

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

In other news

Several mass shootings across the country this past weekend is just the latest in the continued proliferation of gun violence across the country. (NewsNation)

On Thursday, the Republican National Committee voted unanimously to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates. As reported by Reuters, RNC’s chairperson, Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, “We are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people.”  (MichaelLeppert.MichealLeppert.com)

“The Department of Interior announced Friday it planned to resume onshore oil and gas lease sales on federal land, with a higher royalty rate for companies to pay to the federal government.” (CNN)

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday repealed his traffic-clogging immigration order that backed up commercial trucks at the U.S.-Mexico border, after a week of intensifying backlash and fears of deepening economic losses.” (Associated Press)

The courts
“A federal judge in Florida struck down on Monday the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods, and a Biden administration official says the order is no longer in effect while the ruling is reviewed.” (CNN)

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 on Friday to approve new state legislative maps drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, The New York Times reported. Last month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to approve alternative maps drawn by Gov. Tony Evers (D), but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the decision, arguing the state court had not considered whether Evers’ maps violated the Voting Rights Act.” (The Week)

“Wholesale prices jumped 1.4 percent in March from February to hit an 11.2 percent annual increase, as widespread inflation affecting the U.S. economy is showing no signs of letting up. The numbers released on Wednesday follow an 8.5 percent annual rise in consumer prices announced Tuesday, the highest since increase since December, 1981.” (The Hill)  “The core CPI, which excludes highly volatile energy and food prices, was up 6.5 percent over the past year.” (The Hill

President Biden issued an executive order suspending rules saying gas stations cannot sell E-15 gasoline during the summer months. Gas prices are expected to drop an extra 10-to-15 cents because of the expansion of E-15 use. (WIBC)

“The Biden administration has launched a $1 billion program to advance its goal of conserving 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. The program, called the America the Beautiful Challenge, will serve as a “one-stop shop” for states, tribes, territories, non-governmental organizations and others to apply for numerous grants for conservation and restoration projects, the administration said. It is backed by an initial $440 million in federal funds over five years — the bulk of which comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed last year — and aims to draw private and philanthropic contributions to reach the $1 billion mark.” (Huff Post)

January 6
“In the weeks between the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, almost 100 text messages from two staunch GOP allies of then-President Donald Trump reveal an aggressive attempt to lobby, encourage and eventually warn the White House over its efforts to overturn the election, according to messages obtained by the House select committee and reviewed by CNN. The texts, which have not been previously reported, were sent by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.” (CNN)

“When President Joe Biden declares Russia’s Ukraine war “genocide,” it isn’t just another strong word. Calling a campaign that’s aimed at wiping out a targeted group “genocide” not only increases pressure on a country to act, it can oblige it to. That’s partly because of a genocide treaty approved by the U.N. General Assembly after World War II, signed by the United States and more than 150 other nations.” (Associated Press)

Republicans and Democrats in Congress now have a commonality, though it’s not in their ideals. Russia announced this week that 398 members of Congress are being sanctioned, including all nine Indiana representatives.  (WIBC)

Women’s rights
“The Kentucky legislature has overridden Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) to enact severe abortion restrictions, which, in addition to banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, forbids the standard disposal of medical waste following the procedure, instead requiring providers to work with funeral homes to provide individual burial or cremation for every abortion. Because the bill was passed as an “emergency measure,” the two remaining providers in the state will have to cease operations immediately until they can determine how to comply with the new law, effectively banning legal abortion in the state of Kentucky.” (What a Day, Crooked Media)

“Gov. Ron DeSantis  (R-FL) signed a bill into law banning most abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy.” (What a Day, Crooked Media)

“Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill into law that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.” (CNN)

“The Supreme Court is likely to clear the way for new anti-abortion laws in just a few months — but red states aren’t waiting. The big picture: Conservative legislatures are passing a raft of controversial new laws, many of which push the envelope further than the courts have ever allowed. But with the court poised to significantly weaken Roe v. Wade, if not overturn it altogether, red states appear confident that these new measures will stand.” (Axios)


Two months after a viral video showed a Purdue University police officer forcefully detaining a student, a special prosecutor has declined to file charges against either the officer or the student.  (WBAA)
Purdue University police, officials, and student Adonis Tuggle put out a joint statement Tuesday following the release of findings from an investigation into a viral video.  (WBAA)

“The City of Gary has been awarded a significant grant aimed at equipping officers with body cameras…The announcement came following the approval of the city’s application for the Local Body Camera Grant with full funding. A total of $88,000 will be given to the city…”During the height of unrest following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, residents of Gary and the state made it clear that they wanted more accountability and safety in our criminal justice system,” Indiana Senate Assistant Democratic Leader and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Eddie Melton, D-Gary said. “That’s why I was pleased to help successfully work with faith leaders, Hoosiers, legislators in both chambers and organizations throughout Indiana to pass the historic Senate Enrolled Act 1006 with overwhelming bipartisan support. Now, funding approved in that critical legislation is being used to fund the Local Body Camera Grant Program in Gary.” “ (NWI Times)  

Indiana state’s redrafting of the word ‘rape’ may increase prosecutions  Indiana Daily Student
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill March 14 that will broaden the definition of rape, which supporters hope will lead to more convictions in cases of rape and sexual assault. 

The Indiana State Budget Agency says General Fund revenues for March totaled more than $1.4 billion, which was 13% higher than the December 2021 forecast and 26% higher than the same month last year.  (Inside Indiana Business)

Indiana’s unemployment rate fell to 2.2% in March, down from 2.3% the previous month.  (Inside Indiana Business)

Election-Primary candidates

“A debate between three of the four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Lake County sheriff turned feisty at times Thursday, and ended with the audience outright booing one of the candidates.” (Indiana Statesman)

Indy Politics continues its conversations with candidates who are on the ballot in 2022.  Today we speak with Destiny Wells, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State.  (Indy Politics)

Indiana is the No. 5 state with the most people living near toxic release facilities – WTWO
Indiana ranks third out of all 56 states/territories that released the most toxins in 2020. 

Indiana Finance Authority COO Testifies at House Drinking Water Hearing (Indiana Environmental Reporter)
Federal funding mechanisms for improving Indiana’s water infrastructure work but need more flexibility to help eliminate lead service lines, PFAS and other issues, according to testimony from one of the state’s top finance officials.

“A pair of northwestern Indiana towns have entered into agreements to resolve allegations they violated federal and state laws by allowing raw sewage to enter waterways. The town of Highland’s sanitary district and the town of Griffith entered into separate consent decrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. They agreed to pay civil penalties and make sewer system improvements in order to settle a lawsuit alleging they violated the Clean Water Act and Indiana state law by allowing untreated wastewater to enter local waterways for years.” (Indiana Environmental Reporter)

EPA reviving rule to tighten chemical pollutant emissions in Indiana, elsewhere | News | reporter.net
“Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan signed a proposed implementation plan designed to ensure that 26 states — including Indiana — do not “significantly contribute to problems attaining and maintaining the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in downwind states.”
“Under the rule, which officials have published in the federal register and will accept public comments on through June 6, nitrogen dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants would be reduced by 20%, and from other industrial sources by 15%, according to the EPA.” (Lebanon Reporter)

“A subsidiary of one of the largest clean energy producers in the country will pay millions in fines and face five years of probation after pleading guilty to the killing of at least 150 bald and golden eagles by wind turbines over the last decade.”
“Unfortunately, the federal government, at odds with many states and a number of federal court decisions, has sought to criminalize unavoidable accidents related to collisions of birds into wind turbines while at the same time failing to address other activities that result in far greater numbers of accidental eagle and other bird mortalities,” the company said in a press release. 
“According to researchers, more than a million birds are killed by wind turbines in the U.S. every year, but that number is far exceeded by other factors that have been around for decades. Every year, about a billion birds are killed by windows, 25 million are killed every year by power lines and 6.5 million are killed by collisions with communications towers.” (Indiana Environmental Reporter)

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