06/14/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Join us for our Kick Off Volunteer Event for Congressman Mrvan
Saturday, June 25., 11 AM to 2 PM
Michigan City, Democratic Headquarters, 1712 East US Highway 20, Evergreen Plaza
We’ll canvas, phone bank & write post cards. Training & talking points will be provided at the event.

Save the dates for more in-person events:

  • We will have voter registration training on Thursday, June 29 at 6-7pm at the Merrillville Library, Room D.
  • We will hold a meeting on Women’s Reproductive Rights on Thursday, July 21 at 5pm at the Portage Library.
  • Our August meeting will be devoted to gun violence. It will be on Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Merrillville Library. More details for both the July and August events will follow soon.

Call the Lake County Board of Commissioners (219-755-3200, 4 for Allen, 5 for Repay, 6 for Tippy) asking that they no longer allow gun shows to be held at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Indiana’s lax gun laws allow unlicensed dealers there to conduct firearms sales without background checks.
In 2013 then Sheriff John Buncich urged the commissioners to better regulate the vendors at the gun shows. “Tighten up the prerequisites so vendors comply with Federal Firearms License regulations. You are renting the building. You can always amend the contract.” Lake County Attorney John Dull said the county would have to pass an ordinance to make any substantial changes to the fairgrounds shows are conducted. He said state law doesn’t provide any support for Buncich’s call for more gun control. Then commissioners Scheub and Repay (still a commissioner) defended the gun shows as they are. (NWI Times)
The commissioners need to hear from all of us!


Enacted—signed by the President

H.R. 4426: Homeland Security for Children Act

S. 2102: Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans In Combat Environments Act

H.R. 3967: Honoring our PACT Act of 2021
Some of this bill was incorporated into S. 2102: Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans In Combat Environments Act, which was enacted ( by president) on June 7, 2022.

S. 2533: Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options for Veterans Act

S. 2687: Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021

S. 4089: Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program Restoration and Recovery Act of 2022

S. 4119: RECA Extension Act of 2022


Passed the House and Senate, President next

S. 3823: Bankruptcy Threshold Adjustment and Technical Corrections Act


A bipartisan group of senators has reached a framework of an agreement on a package of gun control measures. Included are support for state red flag laws; mental health and telehealth investment; closing the boyfriend loophole—prohibiting all domestic abusers from possessing a firearm; enhanced review process for buyers under 21; issuing a more thorough review process for people between ages 18 and 21 who go to buy a gun like an AR-15. Under a background check review, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System would have to also contact state and local law enforcement to search for any disqualifying mental health or juvenile records; clarifying the definition of a Federally Licensed Firearm Dealer, requiring more firearm sellers who are proven to be “engaged in the business of selling firearms” to be put on notice that they need to register to become Federally Licensed Firearm dealers. It’s significant because it means those dealers have to conduct background checks under federal law; providing money “to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools,” while also supporting “school violence prevention efforts” and training for school employees and students. (CNN)

Passed the Senate, House next

S. 3499: To amend the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 to repeal certain obsolete requirements, and for other purposes. 
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

Passed the House, Senate next

H.R. 7910: Protecting Our Kids Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill makes various changes to federal firearms laws, including to establish new criminal offenses and to expand the types of weapons and devices that are subject to regulation.
Among the changes, the bill

  • Generally prohibits the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to individuals who are under 21 years of age.
  • Establishes new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking and related conduct.
  • Establishes a federal statutory framework to regulate ghost guns (i.e., guns without serial numbers). Establishes a framework to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at the federal, state, and tribal levels.
  • Subjects bump stocks to regulation under federal firearms laws; generally prohibits the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
  • Requires the Department of Justice to report on the demographic data of persons who are determined to be ineligible to purchase a firearm based on a background check performed by the national instant criminal background check system.

Passed 223-204 with Indiana reps Mrvan and Carson voting yea. All other Indiana reps voted nay except for Hollingsworth who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 2377: Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill authorizes and establishes procedures for federal courts to issue federal extreme risk protection orders. A federal extreme risk protection order is a federal court order that prohibits a person from purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition. A family or household member, or a law enforcement officer, may petition for a federal extreme risk protection order with respect to an individual who poses a risk to themselves or others. The bill also expands the categories of persons who are prohibited from purchasing, shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition. Specifically, it adds, as a new category, persons who are subject to an extreme risk protection order.” Passed 224-202 with Reps Mrvan and Carson voting yea. All other Indiana reps voted nay except Hollingsworth who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 6087: Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act
: “This bill expands the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in providing services to injured federal workers under the federal workers’ compensation program.” Passed 325-83. Indiana reps Bucshon and Walorski voted nay; Rep Hollingsworth did not vote; all other Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote

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

In other news

Climate crisis
“President Biden signed an order on Monday that will exempt Southeast Asian nations from any new tariffs on solar panels for two years in an effort to boost the solar industry beleaguered by an ongoing Commerce Department investigation.” (The Hill)

“The Biden administration announced Friday that it is ending a requirement that international travelers test negative for the coronavirus before coming to the United States.” (The Hill)
“Today [June 10], CDC is announcing that the Order requiring persons to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States, will be rescinded, effective on June 12, 2022 at 12:01AM ET.” (CDC)

Record gas prices drove inflation to 8.6% for the 12 months ending in May, higher than the pace in April, according to the latest Consumer Price Index, the government’s basic inflation measure. (CNN)

January 6
“It was plain to anyone watching that the select committee is far from a sham, as Trump and GOP leaders have asserted for months. Its presentation was delivered extraordinarily effectively. Trump and his Republican allies were eviscerated by the testimony and statements from his own former aides and administration officials. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the chair and vice chair of the panel, orchestrated a brutal takedown.” (Punchbowl News) Read this important synopsis of the first hearing at Punchbowl News.

“Donald Trump was told the same thing over and over, by his campaign team, the data crunchers, and a steady stream of lawyers, investigators and inner-circle allies: There was no voting fraud that could have tipped the 2020 presidential election. But in the eight weeks after losing to Joe Biden, the defeated Trump publicly, privately and relentlessly pushed his false claims of a rigged 2020 election and intensified an extraordinary scheme to overturn Biden’s victory. When all else failed in his effort to stay in power, Trump beckoned thousands of his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, where extremists groups led the deadly Capitol siege.” (Associated Press)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection held its second public hearing on Monday morning — the first of three this week. Unlike the inaugural hearing, which was viewed by an impressive 20 million viewers, Monday’s proceeding wasn’t during prime time. But the testimony was just as riveting and damning, as the committee homed in on how Donald Trump seeded and propagated his “big lie” despite objections from his inner circle and top federal and local officials. This is a key point, because Trump’s potential culpability may hinge on when he knew the election fraud theories were false. (MSNBC)

Read seven takeaways from the second hearing at CNN.

The next hearing has been postponed from Wednesday to Thursday at 9am.

“The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an appeal by a St. Louis couple whose law licenses were sanctioned after they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters near their home in summer 2020.” (The Hill)

“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that immigrants detained in the United States are not entitled to a bond hearing, a decision that means that the thousands of people with open immigration cases who are currently in federal holding facilities can continue to be detained indefinitely.” (Time)


Governor Eric Holcomb today announced a plan to return $1 billion of state reserves to Hoosier taxpayers, following higher than expected revenue performance this fiscal year. Each taxpayer would collect about $225 in addition to $125 Hoosiers are currently receiving from the state’s automatic taxpayer refund (ATR). All told, each eligible Hoosier would receive about $350; a married couple filing jointly would receive about $700. (Indy Politics)
He plans to call a special session at the end of the month for lawmakers to address the issue. The Governor says he doesn’t think the refund will add to inflation pressures as the money is already circulating in the Indiana economy.  (Indy Politics)

“The number of Indiana high school students who are heading to college has fallen to 53%, a significant drop after years of declining enrollment, according to data released by state officials in a Thursday morning meeting.” This decline is also significantly worse than other states across the country and significantly worse among minorities. “The state has set a goal for 60% of the adult population to complete some form of higher education by the year 2025, but currently Indiana stands at just 43% …” (Chalkbeat Indiana)

Indiana will dedicate $25 million toward acquiring land for nature preserves, parks and other conservation areas in the state. Officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said that’s the most state money Indiana has ever put toward conservation at one time.  (WFIU)

The Federal Election Commission found Wednesday that Sen. Mike Braun violated campaign finance rules during his 2018 campaign, but after the Indiana senator supplied new information he likely will face civil rather than potential criminal penalties.  (Indy Star)

Governor Eric Holcomb Friday announced he has selected Court of Appeals Judge Derek Molter as the next member of the Indiana Supreme Court. Molter will replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Steven David.  (Indy Politics)

A lawsuit demanding all Lake County judges be elected by voters has gained support from the Hammond Common Council. In May 2021, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. filed a lawsuit challenging the state mandate that Lake Superior Court judges continue to be chosen through merit selection, instead of by voters in Lake, St. Joseph, Allen and Marion counties. McDermott said it is unconstitutional for the General Assembly to mandate gubernatorial appointment of criminal, civil and juvenile court judges in Indiana’s four counties with large minority populations when Hoosiers living in the state’s 88 other counties all elect their judges. (NWI Times)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Wednesday announced a $507 million settlement with drug companies to help Hoosiers struggling with the effects of the opioid epidemic.  (Fox 59)

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