05/01/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

The Indiana primary is May 3.
Find your polling place: https://indianavoters.in.gov/ From there, click on ‘Find Your Polling Place’.

Members of the Indivisible NWI Steering Committee had the pleasure of interviewing the candidates running in the Democratic primary for State Senator in District 1—Michael Griffin and Martin Del Rio. Read highlights of our interview with Michael Griffin on our webpage
Learn more about Mr. Griffin at his Facebook page and his official website, Read highlights of our interview with Martin Del Rio on our webpage.
Learn more about Martin Del Rio at his website: https://martindelrio.com/

And ICYMI, read highlights of our interviews with three of the candidates running for state senator in District 4.
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/
Todd Connor at https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/04/todd-connor-state-senator-candidate/  Learn more about Todd at his website, https://www.toddconnorforsenate.org/.
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/

Early voting in person for the primary began April 5 and will continue until May 2 at noon, 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 conducted 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 
If you requested an absentee ballot, but never received it or changed your mind and now want to vote in person instead of by absentee ballot, follow these rules from the State of Indianahttps://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2402.htm


Passed the House and Senate

S. 3522 Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022
Causes: This bill “would temporarily waive requirements on the president’s authority to lend or lease defense articles if they’re intended for Ukraine’s government or the governments of other Eastern European countries affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Passed the House 417-10. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

Passed the Senate, goes to the House next

S. 4089: To restore entitlement to educational assistance under Veterans Rapid Retraining Program in cases of a closure of an educational institution or a disapproval of a program of education, and for other purposes.
Passed without amendment by Voice Vote.

Passed the House, goes to the Senate next

The following bills were agreed to by voice vote so no individual record of votes was taken. Click on each bill to read more about it.

H.R. 6445: Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022
Read the summary of this bill at GovTrack.us.

H.R. 6441: Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act of 2022

H.R. 6450: SCORE for Small Business Act of 2022

H.R. 4877: One Stop Shop for Small Business Compliance Act of 2021
Read the summary of this bill at GovTrack.us.

H.R. 6454: Small Business Advocacy Improvements Act of 2022
Read the summary of this bill at GovTrack.us.

H.R. 2793: Highlands Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2021
Read the summary of this bill at GovTrack.us.

H.R. 3525: Commission To Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act
Read the summary of this bill at GovTrack.us.

H.R. 5973: Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021

H.R. 6023: Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2021

H.R. 6201: National Liberty Memorial Preservation Act

H.R. 6651: Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act

H.R. 441: To provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, the conveyance of certain property to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium located in Sitka, Alaska, and the conveyance of certain property to the Alaskan Native Tribal Health Consortium Located in Anchorage, Alaska and for other purposes.

S. 497: American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act
Read the summary at GovTrack.us.
Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 404 – 11. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

The week ahead in Congress

“The Senate returns to the Capitol this week with nominations on the docket and a potential vote on Ukraine aid looming in the near future, while the House is on a one-week recess.” Read about the week ahead including committee hearings at Causes.

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

In other news

Corporate profits are surging, yet many of the nation’s biggest corporations are barely paying any taxes. In fact some, including AT&T will receive tax refunds. Read details and a list of the corporations at Center for American Progress.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed two rules that would ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
“FDA commissioner Robert Califf announced the rules while testifying before a congressional subcommittee, saying that “these actions are appropriate for the protection of public health.”
He added that a ban would “reduce the mortality risk of current smokers of menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars by substantially decreasing their consumption and increasing the likelihood of cessation.”
The rules could be the most aggressive action taken by the FDA to regulate tobacco products to date, per the Washington Post.
Menthol tobacco products have become a large portion of tobacco industry sales.” (Axios)

“The Biden administration’s move to ban menthol cigarettes has the Black community split, with the ban’s supporters arguing it promotes a healthier lifestyle and its critics arguing it unfairly targets Black Americans and could lead to injustices and policing issues.” (The Hill

“Gov. Greg Abbott increasing inspections of commercial trucks entering from Mexico in the hopes of staunching illegal smuggling activity resulted in zero migrants detentions or illegal drug seizures, despite allegedly costing the Lone Star State billions of dollars.” (Chron)

“American Trevor Reed, a US citizen and former Marine who had been detained in Russia since 2019, has been released in a prisoner swap.” (CNN)

President Joe Biden is announcing he has granted the first three pardons and commuted the sentences of 75 other nonviolent, drug-related convictions of his term.  A man from Louisville, who was sentenced in 2008 in Indiana for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, was one of the people to have their sentence commuted.  (RTV 6)

Criminal Justice
“Criminal justice reform advocates expressed guarded optimism this week after the Supreme Court agreed to review a death row inmate’s request for DNA testing of evidence. Rodney Reed, who maintains his innocence in 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, has long sought genetic testing of items collected from the Bastrop County, Texas, crime scene, including materials recovered near the truck belonging to victim’s fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, whom Reed’s attorneys have pointed to as a possible suspect in the case.” (The Hill)

“The U.S. economy retracted slightly in the first quarter as a rush of imported goods and fading fiscal stimulus led to a decline in gross domestic product (GDP), according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.” (The Hill)

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Thursday signed several education bills into law, including one banning the instruction of “divisive concepts” pertaining to race in classrooms. (CNN)

“The New York State Court of Appeals voided Democratic-drawn congressional and state Senate maps on Wednesday, ruling that Democratic leaders violated the state Constitution by ignoring the will of the voters. The decision, which is not subject to appeal, is a defeat for Democrats, whose chances of holding onto their slim majority in the House are dwindling.” (Axios)

“Eighteen months after Donald Trump lost the White House, loyal supporters continue to falsely assert that compromised balloting machines across America robbed him of the 2020 election. So far there are “eight known attempts to gain unauthorized access to voting systems in five U.S. states since the 2020 election.” (Reuters)

“Home Depot, Deere & Company, General Dynamics, Motorola Solutions, FedEx, and Tyson Foods are among the Fortune 500 companies that donated more than $20,000 each last month to Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results.” (Crooked Media and Vice)

Women’s rights
The Oklahoma House gave final approval on Thursday to a Texas-style abortion ban that prohibits the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
The bill approved by the GOP-led House on a 68-12 vote without discussion or debate now heads to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it within days. (Politico)


Nearly three-quarters of the lowest-income Hoosiers have to spend at least half of their income on housing. That’s the worst rate in the Midwest and the 13th worst in the country. Prosperity Indiana Policy Director Andrew Bradley said Indiana has a shortage of more than 135,000 affordable rental homes for that population. “So, that’s where you see where employers are saying they’re having a hard time finding warehouse workers or service workers, home health care provider workers,” Bradley said. “They may not be able to afford to live in, to move to or stay in those communities.”  (WFYI)

“The CEO of one of Indiana’s largest employers said on April 21 what researchers, workforce officials and educators have warned Hoosiers about for years. Educational attainment in Indiana is low, the state’s workforce is struggling to keep up with the STEM skills many employers require and health care costs are too high. Such a statement could be found in multiple reports issued over the past decade, but that summary was offered by David Ricks, CEO of Eli Lilly, Ricks’ comments came before the Economic Club of Indiana, demanding the attention of some of the state’s top business and government officials… While Eli Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis, it’s no secret that the pharmaceutical giant has invested billions of dollars in facilities in other states. The company certainly isn’t obligated to stay in Indiana.” (Yahoo News)

Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. will be prohibited from carrying a handgun in public, both on- and off-duty, beginning July 1.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is suing the global chapter of Black Lives Matter for what he says is noncompliance with his office’s request for financial documents and tax information.  (IBJ)

Several Indiana higher education institutions are listed among The Best Value Colleges for public and private schools. (Inside Indiana Business)

A  federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Friday ordering a central Indiana middle school to allow a transgender student to have access to the boys restroom.  (AP Indiana)

More than 200 Hoosier households and businesses will get adequate internet through a new state initiative. (Indiana Public Media)


Voters have a stark choice this spring in picking the next Lake County auditor to oversee $1.3 billion in public funds.  Peggy Holinga Katona, a veteran financial administrator, hopes to reclaim an office she held from 2006 through 2014. The other candidate, lawyer Eduardo Fontanez, has a history of professional indiscretions and a recent personal bankruptcy.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Eight Indiana school districts, including Griffith, will ask voters to approve property tax measures next month.  (Chalkbeat Indiana)

“With Primary Day next Tuesday, Republicans are optimistic that whichever candidate wins the GOP primary for Indiana 1st congressional district will be a formidable opponent for incumbent Congressman Frank Mrvan (D).  (WIBC)

A prominent Northwest Indiana business owner and an aide to U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., are battling for the Republican nomination to represent the 4th District on the Lake County Council.(Times of Northwest Indiana)  

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