04/25/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

The Indiana primary is May 3.

Members of the Indivisible NWI Steering Committee had the pleasure of interviewing three candidates running in the primary 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 highlights of 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 highlights of 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 highlights of 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/

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 time to register for the general election on Nov. 8.

Early voting in person for the primary began April 5 and will continue until May 2 at noon, 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 in Lake County. 

Watch the debate among Democratic primary candidates for Lake County Sheriff.

Watch the debate between Democratic primary candidates for Lake County Clerk 

Check the Facebook pages of League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area or Rise NWI for additional debates ahead of the primary.


Read about and watch Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow’s speech about accusations of ‘grooming’ and sexualizing children made against her by a republican state senator in a fundraising email. It’s a powerful speech and an example of messaging democrats can and must use to stop the assault on tolerance and difference being made by republicans across the country. (MSNBC)

The future of our democracy
Republicans have been systematically working to destroy democracy so they can regain and remain in power. If they succeed, we could become an autocratically ruled country in Russia’s image. Meanwhile, President Biden has been making government work for all of us:

  • Poverty in the United States declined, with lower-income Americans gaining more than at any time since the “War on Poverty” in the 1960s.
  • Lower-income workers have more job opportunities than they have had for 30 years, and they are making more money. They have on average 50% more money in the bank than they did when the pandemic hit.
  • By the end of his first year, the U.S. had created 6.6 million jobs, the strongest record of any president since record keeping began in 1939.
  • By the beginning of April, the economy had added 7.9 million jobs, and unemployment was close to a 50-year low at 3.6%.
  • Meanwhile, the deficit is dropping: we should carve $1.3 trillion off it this year.

“Biden’s deliberate reshaping of the American government to work for ordinary Americans again, regulating business and using the federal government to enforce equal rights, so threatens modern Republicans that they are willing to destroy our country rather than allow voters to keep people like Biden in power.” (Letters from an American)

Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 3197: Save the Liberty Theatre Act of 2021

H.R. 5681: Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act


Congress is back. After a two-week recess, the Senate is back on Monday, and the House Tuesday. 
“The Senate could take up key nominations for the Federal Reserve and FTC – with some partisan clashes in both cases – while the White House and party leaders scramble to figure out what to do on Covid funding and Ukraine aid. Secretary of State Antony Blinken – in Kyiv on Sunday night with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – will appear before the House and Senate Foreign Relations panels this week. A fight over Title 42 and the U.S.-Mexico border looms. The Jan. 6 select committee’s investigation is reaching a critical moment.” The House and Senate “will begin negotiations to finalize a deal on far-reaching China competitiveness legislation known by a variety of names, including USICA, the “Endless Frontier Act,” the “America COMPETES Act” and the Bipartisan Innovation Act.” (Punchbowl News)

“The Biden administration will renew its push with lawmakers to secure Covid-19 funding when Congress returns from recess this week, a White House official told CNN. A $10 billion funding package is currently on the table, which the Biden administration says is urgently needed to continue the federal Covid-19 response.” (CNN)

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

In other news

“The U.S. Department of Education says it will retroactively help millions of federal student loan borrowers who have been hurt and held back by its troubled income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, calling the plans’ longstanding flaws and mismanagement “inexcusable.”” (NPR)

“Emmanuel Macron has won France’s presidential election, making him the first French leader to be reelected in 20 years.” (CNN)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed several bills into law, including two measures targeting Disney, legislation that will put new restrictions on how schools and businesses can talk about race and gender, and the state’s new congressional map. (CNN)

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill to create a police force dedicated to pursuing voter fraud and other election crimes.” (NWI Times)

“The Biden administration announced new actions yesterday that will help bring millions of student loan borrowers closer to receiving debt forgiveness. The latest changes will push 3.6 million borrowers at least three years closer to receiving loan forgiveness through what’s known as the income-driven repayment program, or IDR. The program also promises loan forgiveness after 20-25 years of payments are made.” (CNN)

“McCarthy called a New York Times report that detailed Republican leaders’ push for the party to move on from Trump’s grip following the attack on the Capitol “totally false and wrong” while asserting that the country was “better off when President Trump was in the White House.” But last night, NYT’s Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns rolled their tapes of McCarthy’s conversations.

“I’m seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight,” McCarthy told then-GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (Wyo.). “From what I know of him — I mean, you guys know him too — do you think he would ever back away?”
He planned to warn Trump of an impending impeachment resolution: “I think this will pass, and that would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy said. “That would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it, but I don’t know.”
Listen for yourself to McCarthy tell colleagues about his plans to call Trump and ask him to resign the presidency.” (Politico Huddle)

“A US judge has held former President Donald Trump in contempt for failing to turn over files for an investigation into his business practices. Justice Arthur Engoron on Monday ordered Mr Trump pay a fine of $10,000 per day until he complies.” (BBC)

“Twitter’s board has accepted an offer from billionaire Elon Musk to buy the social media company and take it private, the company announced Monday.” (CNBC)

About 234,000 COVID-19 deaths since June 2021 could have been prevented with vaccinations. (Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker)  

“A federal judge in Florida stirred controversy Monday by striking down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public travel in a ruling that critics derided as overly formalistic and divorced from the health imperatives of a global pandemic.” (The Hill)
“The Justice Department’s decision Tuesday to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to say whether a mask mandate for travelers is “necessary for the public’s health” hands a legal and political issue back to scientists, which President Biden prefers.” (The Hill
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an appeal to the recent ruling striking down mask mandates after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that masks were still “necessary” in public transportation.” (Newsweek)

Environment and Climate Crisis
“The Biden administration on Tuesday moved to restore some of the environmental regulations governing infrastructure project permitting that were rolled back by the Trump administration. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is finalizing its “phase 1” changes governing the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires environmental reviews for projects such as highways or pipelines.” (The Hill

The Biden administration reversed a Trump-era rule limiting scrutiny of environmental impacts. “The White House finalized a rule that will once again require federal agencies to consider indirect and cumulative environmental impacts of their actions , including those related to climate change. The rule effectively restores portions of the long-standing rules for how agencies conduct environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act that were altered by the Trump administration. It will allow agencies to expand consideration of environmental justice factors in decision-making — aligning with the stated priorities of the Biden administration.” (Politico Nightly)

“Clean energy on public lands is growing, with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) increasing its renewable energy permitting by 35 percent last fiscal year. A new report from the federal government said that the bureau authorized or facilitated 12 public lands projects and supported the development of 2,890  megawatts — enough to power more than 300 million LED lights — of generating capacity from onshore wind, solar and geothermal energy…In addition, the administration announced that it awarded its first-ever competitive solar energy leases in Utah. With the leases, Minersville Solar Energy LLC will build solar panels across 4,800 acres of public lands. According to the Interior Department, this will create more than 600 megawatts of electricity and also create about 200 construction jobs and 15 operations positions.” (The Hill)

“The US saw the highest number of “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” air quality days between 2018 and 2020 than it ever had before, according to a report released Thursday by the American Lung Association.” (CNN)

Gun violence
“Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer.” (NBC News)

“A federal judge in Louisiana says he intends to block the Biden administration’s plans for rescinding Title 42, siding with GOP-led states that had asked for the courts to force the White House to temporarily retain the pandemic-era border policy.” (The Hill)

“The Supreme Court on Thursday said Congress is not required to extend federal disability benefits to residents of Puerto Rico, finding that denying the payments, which are by law available only to residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, does not violate the Constitution.” (CBS News)

The Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments in a high-profile case involving a high school football coach who was reprimanded for postgame prayers on the football field’s 50-yard line. (The Hill)

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that US diplomats will return to Ukraine this week, a move officials are characterizing as a strong message of solidarity from the United States. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv over the weekend, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, making them the highest-level US officials to have traveled to the country since the Russian invasion began in late February. Zelensky’s office issued a readout of the meeting today, stressing the importance of the visit and thanking President Joe Biden for the US’ “unprecedented assistance.”” (CNN)


More than 52,000 Hoosier homes and businesses will be able to connect to broadband through grants announced Monday.  (WFIU)

Indiana plans to channel up to $15 million in federal emergency funds directly to parents to pay for tutoring for students who are struggling with reading and math.  (Chalkbeat Indiana)

With the most recent finance reports now available, it is clear big money is trying to play a huge part in influencing elections across Indiana.   (Statehouse Happenings, WIBC)

“The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority moved to hire Crown Point Mayor David Uran as its next president and CEO. The longtime Crown Point mayor will replace Speros Batistatos, whose contract expired at the end of 2021. The Board of Directors opted not to renew the longtime executive because of concerns over ballooning compensation and clashes with the board over how federal grant money was spent. Uran was elected to four terms as mayor of Crown Point, winning in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. He manages 190 employees, a $27 million annual budget and municipal services to more than 30,000 residents.” He will step down as mayor. (NWI Times)

Indiana’s permitless gun carry could negatively impact traffic stops – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News 
India Thusi, a professor at the Indiana University law school in Bloomington, says those statistics could worsen when the permitless gun carry law goes into effect in Indiana in July.

Over the last two years, Porter Township School Corp. has provided summer meals and free lunches to students. But this year, it will not be able to.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

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