05/09/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Thursday, June 2, 5-7, Merrillville library
Come out for an in person Indivisible NWI public meeting!

Come out to hear about how you can be active! Learn about Get Out the Vote opportunities! Learn about protecting women’s rights, & much more!

Indivisible NWI has endorsed Congressman Frank J Mrvan for another term as our first district representative.
As Indivisible, we don’t always endorse. We are here to put out information and education on issues and candidates. But we know how important he is to the first district and how important it is to our nation that we re-elect a good democratic congressional representative in the US House of Representatives! We will provide many opportunities for all of us to work hard to re-elect Frank. He is facing stiff republican opposition. For the first time in nearly a century District 1 is in danger of losing its democratic seat to a far right pro-Trump republican who has national republican backing—and dollars. Frank has worked hard to represent our district and to bring Federal dollars back to NWI and now it’s our turn to work hard for him. Attend our meeting on June 2 and watch our Facebook and Twitter pages and emails to learn what we can do.


The truth matters

“The 2020 presidential election was secure and evidence from state and federal officials and courts shows no indication of widespread fraud. While authorities identified isolated cases of voter fraud, these instances were in such small numbers it would not have changed the election’s outcome. A documentary by Dinesh D’Souza, a far-right commentator, furthers the myth that something sinister occurred with mail ballots during the 2020 election. D’Souza told Fox News that “mules” delivered 400,000 illegal votes. Experts say the evidence D’Souza points to is inherently flawed. Many states have laws allowing people to return completed mail ballots on behalf of others, such as family members. Ballot drop boxes are more secure than standard mail boxes.” (Politifact)

Enacted, signed into law by the President

S. 2629: Better Cybercrime Metrics Act


Passed the Senate and House, President next

H.R. 3182: Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021 
Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote.

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

In other news

“President Joe Biden on Thursday named Karine Jean-Pierre as the new White House press secretary, succeeding Jen Psaki. Jean-Pierre will be the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to hold the position… Jean-Pierre was born in Haiti and immigrated to the U.S. as a child, growing up in Queens, New York. She has served as deputy press secretary since the start of the administration and has filled in for Psaki behind the White House podium and briefed reporters traveling with the president.” (NBC News

“Early last month, 8,300 Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island voted in favor of forming the company’s first labor union. On Monday, it was announced that more than 60 percent of workers at a smaller Amazon facility nearby had voted to reject unionization, despite a well-publicized pro-union campaign endorsed by prominent progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York… Amazon aggressively urged workers to reject the unionization ahead of the vote, with efforts including mandatory meetings to spread an anti-union message, creating a “vote NO” website and posting anti-union posters at the warehouse, according to the Associated Press.” (Newsweek)

“Between 1978 and 2018, CEO compensation increased by more than 900 percent while worker compensation increased by just 11.9 percent.” (Council on Foreign Affairs)

“More than 1 million lives have been lost to Covid-19 in the United States. Approximately 346,000 lives were lost in the pandemic’s first year. And even with widespread availability of vaccinations in 2021, an additional 482,000 lives were lost that year, with another 171,000 deaths occurring this year through early May. The country has lost a significant portion of its elderly population, as well as health care workers, first responders, essential workers and others. Here’s a glimpse into some of the groups that make up that 1 million.” (NBC News)

Criminal justice
“The former Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy in March has been charged with murder, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Monday. Edsaul Mendoza, 26, was charged by a grand jury with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of a crime in the fatal shooting of Thomas “TJ” Siderio on March 1, Krasner said at a news conference.” (NBC News)

“America’s employers added 428,000 jobs in April, the same as in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Although that was more than the 391,000 that economists had predicted, the slowdown in job growth is no surprise. It is partly due to the fact that the recovery has come a long way and was bound to slow down at some point. It’s also partly due to the worker shortage that makes finding workers to hire more difficult.” The U.S. Job market has almost fully recovered from the pandemic. (CNN)

The Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 1/2%. Read how that could affect the economy and you at CNN Business.

“Math textbooks axed for their treatment of race; a viral Twitter account directing ire at LGBTQ teachers; a state law forbidding classroom discussion of sexual identity in younger grades; a board book for babies targeted as “pornographic.” Lately it seems there’s a new controversy erupting every day over how race, gender or history are tackled in public school classrooms.” But according to a new national poll by NPR and Ipsos, parents express satisfaction with their children’s schools and what is being taught in them– by wide margins – and regardless of their political affiliation. (NPR)

“House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s E-Pac is endorsing a new slate of candidates including former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin in Alaska. Palin is running for the at-large seat held by the late Rep. Don Young (R). Also part of this slate of endorsements: Catalina Lauf, a former Trump administration official who is running against Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.); Jennifer-Ruth Green, who is running against Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.); and Carolina Serrano, who is running against Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.).” (Punchbowl News)

J.D. Vance, the anti-Trump candidate turned ardent Trumper won his primary after Trump endorsed him. In Indiana Jennifer Ruth Green ran as a pro-Trumper and won. Learn how other Trump endorsed and pro-Trump candidates have fared so far in the primaries at the Associated Press.

“In a video interview published on the right-wing social media platform Rumble, Sen. Ron Johnson said it “may be true” that vaccines against COVID-19 cause AIDS. (Wisconsin Examiner)

“The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment when it rejected a request from a Christian civic organization to fly a flag bearing a cross on a flagpole outside of City Hall. “Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the opinion for the court, which sided 9-0 with activist Harold Shurtleff and Camp Constitution, a group whose mission is in part to “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage,” in the free speech dispute.” (CBS News

“The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will take up a challenge from Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County to a federal appeals court ruling that said the family of a nursing home resident has the right to sue a government-owned nursing home for violating care standards set out in the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act.”  (Indy Star)

“The European Union was preparing sanctions on Russian oil sales over its invasion of Ukraine after a major shift on Monday by Germany, Russia’s biggest energy customer, that could deprive Moscow of a large revenue stream within days.” (Reuters)

“The United States and top allies will ban the import of Russian oil and impose a new round of sanctions, world leaders said Sunday…
The announcement comes hours after first lady Jill Biden traveled to Ukraine to meet with Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine…
Acting ambassador Kristina Kvien, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, has temporarily returned to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.” (USA Today)

Women’s rights
“President Joe Biden said Tuesday “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose”  “And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November,” the president said. Biden issued a statement on Politico’s report on the court’s draft opinion, cautioning the White House does not know whether the draft…reflects the court’s final decision.” “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”” (USA Today)

“Every poll conducted on the topic has found that a majority of Americans support a woman’s right to this choice, which means two things: Conservatives have surrendered all rights to their mendacious use of the term “silent majority”; and in this case, the actual majority has long remained silent. Americans are, in all likelihood, now going to have to fight in the street and at the ballot box to restore the rights that a repressive, control-hungry minority has tried so obsessively to curtail…  personal beliefs are not, should never be, the basis of law. The moment a group of potentially developing cells becomes a fetus and then a potentially viable baby is at present unknowable — something scientists have debated for centuries…
Roe uses the medically accepted three trimesters of pregnancy, with their increasing chance of viability outside the womb, to guide the level of government restriction allowed to protect the potential baby. Written and supported by justices appointed by Republicans as well as Democrats, it has been accepted law for five decades, during which time the abortion rate has declined, and remains supported by most Americans…For centuries, the abuse of women’s bodies has been used to break entire populations — in part by impregnation through rape. Under many state laws that would be upheld or go into effect should Roe vs. Wade be overturned, even victims of rape and incest would be denied access to safe and legal abortion… Time and again, the antiabortion forces have proved through policy and rhetoric that their concern is not for the actual babies, who require food, shelter and all manner of resources that this country is loath to provide to those who cannot afford them. Nor is it about decreasing the number of abortions — women will continue to terminate unwanted pregnancies, either in states where it is still legal or by means illegal and often fatal… at a certain level, we’re all to blame. Too many of the vast majority of Americans who support Roe vs. Wade have been content to do just that: support reproductive rights without talking or writing or singing or filming enough about why they are so essential, why they were worth fighting for.” (Los Angeles Times)

“If the decision is issued to overturn Roe v. Wade, almost all abortions could become illegal in as many as 26 states. In some places, that will mean no exceptions, including for rape, incest or to save the life of the person who is pregnant. In some places, both the mother and medical provider will be subject to arrest, criminal charges and imprisonment. Even miscarriages could lead to investigation and/or arrest. Some states will prosecute residents who travel out of state to get an abortion. Digital surveillance and law enforcement techniques that didn’t exist 50 years ago will be used. Of course, abortions will continue in states where it’s against the law, secretly and in ways that will lead to injury and death. Women’s health and economic gains will be at risk as forced pregnancies prevent equal footing in the workplace. People of color will be disproportionately harmed.” (The Center for Public Integrity)

“U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that would end the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion could imperil other freedoms related to marriage, sexuality and family life including birth control and same-sex nuptials, according to legal experts.” (Reuters)

“Employers like Citi, Apple, Yelp, and Amazon are specifically including abortion in their expansion of existing benefits programs, which reimburse employees for travel costs related to seeking medical care that is not available near the employee’s home. Others like Uber and Lyft have pledged support for transportation for people seeking abortions, as well as legally defending drivers against abortion related lawsuits.” (Business Insider)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said a national abortion ban could be “possible” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. (Newsweek)


David Ricks, CEO of Lilly, recently told members of the Indiana Economic Club that state policymakers need to address poor educational attainment and high healthcare costs. These topics will sound familiar to faithful readers of this column, but it is refreshing to hear these points made so publicly by a business leader. (Micheal Hicks, Ball State University)

Indiana ranks seventh in the nation for hospital price disparities—ahead of California, New York, Connecticut, and other larger states with higher costs of living—when it comes to what privately insured people pay for care compared to what Medicare would have paid for the same service. (IBJ)

An error from the La Porte County’s Auditor’s Office is costing taxpayers upwards of 50-thousand dollars.  (WSBT)

Criminal justice
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is suing the state of Indiana over the constitutionality of a new law targeting The Bail Project. (Indy Politics)

Primary elections
Jennifer Ruth Green won the republican nomination to face the incumbent, Representative Frank Mrvan in November for the 1st U.S. Congressional District seat. Her race is being financed by the Republican National Committee and super pacs and is considered winnable by republicans and political pundits. If she does win, it will be the first time since 1928 that the 1st district has been won by a republican. “If Green prevails in November, she plans to focus in Congress on limiting government spending, scrapping regulations, banning abortion, promoting school choice, defending gun rights and eliminating “socialized” health care.” For his part, Representative Mrvan said “his focus in a second term is continuing to back federal legislation that creates jobs and supports Northwest Indiana industries, such as the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that he already helped become law.” (NWI Times)

Read more about this crucial election, including statements from each candidate’s campaign at Yahoo News.

“State Sen. Rodney Pol, D-Chesterton, appears to have triumphed over three opponents to claim the Democratic nomination in Indiana Senate District 4. Unofficial results show Pol leading Deb Chubb, of Michiana Shores; Todd Connor, of Michigan City; and Ron Meer, of Michigan City, for a chance at a four-year term representing northern Porter County and northwest LaPorte County in the Senate. Pol next will compete in the Nov. 8 general election against former Porter County Councilman Jeff Larson, of Chesterton, who defeated Johannes Poulard, of Michiana Shores, to win the Republican nomination.” (NWI Times)

Michael Griffin defeated Martin Del Rio for the democratic nomination to Indiana Senate District 1. “Griffin said if he’s elected in the fall his primary focus at the Statehouse will be taking the lessons he’s learned as a student and practitioner of public finance as Highland’s longtime clerk-treasurer and applying them to negotiations and debates over Indiana’s next two-year budget… If he gets his way, Griffin said the next state budget will include a renewed commitment to public education, a plan to address Indiana’s teacher shortage, spending for public safety needs and funding for programs to improve the state’s water quality, air quality and veterans services. 
The newly redrawn 1st Senate District includes Highland, Griffith, Dyer, Schererville, St. John and southwestern Merrillville.” Griffin will run against  Lake County Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination.” (NWI Times)

See all election results from the NWI Times.

Frustrated Indiana conservatives fell short in several primary races Tuesday in their drive to push the Republican-controlled state Legislature further to the right and saw one of their movement’s leaders lose his reelection bid.  (AP Indiana)

“Indiana voters Tuesday overwhelmingly backed local property tax increases to fund school operations, but hesitated to pay more for campus construction and renovation projects. The May election saw more referendums on the ballot than in the past three elections combined as the state emerges from COVID-19 economic uncertainty. In total, Indiana voters approved seven referendums out of the nine that were proposed.” (Chalkbeat Indiana)

Despite a deluge of candidates backed by far-right activist groups in Tuesday’s Republican Statehouse primary, establishment Republicans emerged with control of the Statehouse. It wasn’t the big shakeup social conservatives were hoping for, and the supermajority isn’t poised to lurch further to the right.   (Indy Star)

Here’s the list of Congressional candidates that will face off this fall.  (WIBC)

Women’s rights
Read Indiana U.S, Congressman Frank Mrvan’s statement about the likely end of Roe at https://mrvan.house.gov/media/press-releases/mrvan-statement-draft-supreme-court-decision 
His statement in part says, “I am a pro-woman public official, with a record of cosponsoring and supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act, because I believe in equality for women, and that women should have every protection under the law to be treated fairly, paid fairly, and have every right to access safe reproductive care.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb isn’t saying much about what steps Indiana might take to ban abortion if the Supreme Court clears a path for that in the coming weeks.  (WFYI)

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