06/27/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

 Mark your calendar for these important upcoming events from Indivisible NWI:

  • We will have voter registration training on Wednesday, June 29 at 6-7pm at the Merrillville Library, Room D. Confirm by email: president@indivisiblenwi.org. 
  • We will hold a meeting on Women’s Reproductive Rights on Thursday, July 21 at 5pm at the Portage Library. The director of Planned Parenthood Indiana will speak.
  • Our August meeting on Thursday,, Aug. 18, 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.

“The Supreme Court decided by a 6-3 majority to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In doing so, the justices overturned two key decisions protecting access to abortion: 1973’s Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1992.
The court’s opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said that the Constitution does not mention abortion. Nor does the Constitution guarantee abortion rights via another right, the right to liberty.
The reversal of Roe shows a changed Supreme Court. While the past 50 years on the court were dominated by a view that the Constitution is a living document where “the meaning of the document’s language changes as the beliefs and values of Americans change,” now the court is dominated by virtually the opposite view, writes Marietta, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
In this view, and in the opinion overruling Roe, “the Constitution is static until officially altered by amendment” and “does not evolve on its own without public approval.”” (The Conversation)

“In a strenuous dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor faulted the court’s narrow approach to liberty and challenged its disregard both for stare decisis and for the impact of overruling Roe and Casey on the lives of women in the United States. The dissenters said the impact of the decision would be “the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.” They also expressed deep concern over the ruling’s effect on poor women’s ability to access abortion services in the U.S.”” (The Conversation)

“Friday morning’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting the idea of a woman’s right to an abortion has prompted Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to call for the General Assembly to act on restricting abortion rights in the state when it meets in an already scheduled special session on July 6. “The Supreme Court’s decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue,” he said. “We’ll do that in short order in Indiana.”” (Tribune Star)

“There’s growing concern about what the Supreme Court’s new decision on abortion could mean for minority communities who already face disparities in health care, and that it will broaden the problem…
Black women ranking highest in maternal mortality rates; it’s highly likely that number spike.” (Wish TV)

“…This is just the beginning. Extremists have made it clear they won’t be content until abortion is banned nationwide. And they won’t stop with abortion either. The same extremists seeking to control the bodies of pregnant people are coming for our rights to access birth control and gender-affirming health care, to marry who we love, and to vote.” (ACLU Indiana)

Protests erupted across the country. “Around 4,000 people attended the Decision Day Rally [in Indianapolis] on Saturday, which was organized by Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, ACLU of Indiana and Women for Change, seeking to make their voices heard in support of legal abortions in Indiana…“Indianapolis District 5 City Councillor Ali Brown said, “I know 83% of Hoosiers support a woman’s right to choose. Doesn’t matter what the people inside the Statehouse say; 83%,” Brown said. “And as long as all 83% show up to vote in November, we will take back our Statehouse and guarantee rights for women here in Indiana.”” (Yahoo News)

The time to act is now. Contact Governor Holcomb and your state representative and senator. Flood their mailboxes, email inboxes and phone lines. ACLU Indiana has an easy way to write: https://action.aclu.org/send-message/in-stop-the-ban

Email & call your state senator and representative

Contact Governor Holcomb: https://www.in.gov/gov/ask-eric/

Contact your Congressional Representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Contact Senator Todd Young: https://www.young.senate.gov/contact By phone: 202-224-5623

Contact Senator Mike Braun: https://www.braun.senate.gov/contact-mike By phone: 202-224-4814

Read our statement from Indivisible NWI: https://indivisiblenwi.org/2022/06/indivisible-nwi-statement-on-scotus-overturning-roe-v-wade/

Read the statement from Indivisible Co-Founder, Lean Greenberg: https://indivisibleteam.medium.com/roe-how-we-protect-each-other-and-how-we-fight-back-a81aab7818e5

I’ll close with a glimmer of optimism from Scott Ickes, Sr. Regional Organizer for the Midwest: “This is not a failure of the last five years. This was all but baked-in when Scalia died, McConnell refused to seat an Obama choice, and Trump won. For me, everything that we’ve done since then has prevented things from getting worse at the federal level (believe it or not), and has rebuilt and rejuvenated a lot of enthusiastic, smart progressive organizing and enlightened thinking about the state of our country. Yes there is a long way to go, and there will be harmful setbacks along the way. But a brand new generation of activists and organizers are coming up behind us, and they will build on what we do right now, I’m sure of that.”

But hope hinges on activism and ensuring Democrats win in November, both at the state and national levels. We must refuse to be silent. We win by taking action. They only win if we let them. We are the majority.

Enacted, signed into law by the President

S. 2938: Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (Funding State Crisis Intervention programs, School Safety, Youth Mental Health, & Enhancing Background Checks for Gun Buyers Under Age 21)
6/23/22: Passed the Senate on a 65-33 vote. Indiana Senator Young voted yea; Senator Braun voted nay. View the vote.
6/24/22: Passed the House on a 234-193 vote. Only Indiana Reps Mrvan and Carson voted yea. View the vote.
Read details of the bill at Causes.

“The package represents the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994 — though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Biden and his party had advocated for, and polls show most Americans want to see.” (CNN)

S. 1097: Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021

S. 2520: State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021

S. 3823: Bankruptcy Threshold Adjustment and Technical Corrections Act

H.R. 4591: VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act of 2021


Passed the Senate, House next

S. 671: Federal Agency Customer Experience Act of 2021
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3510: Disaster Resiliency Planning Act 
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3157: Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3846: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act of 2022
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 4261: FORMULA Act
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

Passed the Senate with changes, back to the House
H.R. 4346: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2022
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 2089: Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act of 2021
Senate concurred in the House amendment to S.2089 with an amendment (SA 5133) by Unanimous Consent.

S. 2938: An act to make our communities safer.
Senate concurred in the House amendment to S. 2938 with an amendment SA (5099), and an amendment to the title by Yea-Nay Vote. 65 – 33.

Passed the House, Senate next

H.R. 4176: LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires federal agencies that collect information through a survey that includes demographic data (where subjects self-report information or a proxy provides information about the subject or responds for all persons in a household) to review existing data sets to determine in which data sets information about sexual orientation and gender identity is not included, and to assess needed changes in survey methods related to asking questions on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 220 – 201. Indiana Reps Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all others voted nay except Pence who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 7072: NDO Fairness Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 3285: 21st Century President Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 7777: Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Training Act
GovTrack.us: “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to establish an industrial control systems cybersecurity training initiative, and for other purposes.”
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 368 – 47. Indiana Reps Mrvan, Carson, Baird, Spartz and Buschon voted yea; Reps Walorski and Hollingsworth voted nay and Rep Pence didn’t vote. View the vote.

H.R. 7666: Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022
On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 402 – 20. All Indiana Reps voted yea except Pence who did not vote.

H.R. 5585: ARPA–H Act
Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 336 – 85 (Roll no. 288). All Indiana Reps voted yea except for Banks who voted nay and Pence who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 6411: STRONG Veterans Act of 2022
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

H.R. 5407: Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 405 – 16 with all Indiana Reps voting yea except Pence who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 6493: Campus Prevention and Recovery Services for Students Act of 2022 
GovTrack.us: “This bill reauthorizes through FY2028 and revises the illicit drug and alcohol abuse prevention program, including by expanding the program to include efforts to prevent substance misuse on campuses.” On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 371 – 49 with all Indiana Reps voting yea except Pence who did not vote. View the vote.

Failed under suspension:

H.R. 6538: Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Failed by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 259 – 162.
Explanation: This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote on June 22, 2022 under a fast-track procedure called “suspension.” It may or may not get another vote.

This week the House has a “Committee Work Week” with no floor votes while the Senate is in recess until July 11. (Punchbowl News)

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

In other news

“Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday unveiled his plan to codify safeguards for transgender students and overhaul the Trump-era version of the rule that mandates how schools must respond to sexual misconduct complaints. The proposal would ban “all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity.”” (Politico)

“The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday ordered Juul to take all of its vapes off the market, eliminating a major player from the market though Juul says it intends to litigate the order.” (Politico)

January 6
“The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol announced a last-minute hearing for Tuesday after previously saying it would pause its series of meetings until July…An advisory sent Monday said they would convene to “present recently obtained evidence” but provided no other details.” (The Hill)

Read key takeaways from Tuesday’s hearing highlighting the intense pressure campaign by Trump and his allies, the efforts of Republican politicians to fight back, and the devastating effects on on the lives of these politicians and election workers. (CNN)

Key takeaways from Thursday’s hearing included

  • The details of the pressure on the Justice Department showed Trump crossing all over the lines of the department’s independence.
  • If senior DOJ officials wouldn’t go along, Trump would find someone who would.
  • Several members of Congress sought pardons.
  • No one was too big or too small for Trump’s pressure campaign in his desperate attempt to stay in power.

Read details at NPR.

“The January 6 select committee’s latest public hearing on Thursday shed considerable new light on former President Donald Trump’s attempts to weaponize the Justice Department in the final months of his term as part of his plot to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power.” (CNN)


“The Supreme Court said Monday that a Washington state school district violated the First Amendment rights of a high school football coach when he lost his job for praying at the 50-yard line after games. The opinion was 6-3 along conservative-liberal ideological lines.” (CNN)

Tuesday’s “ruling striking down a Maine law that blocked taxpayer dollars from funding religious school tuition furthered a transformation decades in the making.” “The Supreme Court has become the most pro-religion it’s been since at least the 1950s, and it appears to include the six most pro-religion justices since at least World War II.” (NY Times)

“The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of gun owners who want to carry their weapons outside the home, striking down New York state’s rules giving local officials broad authority to deny such permits for almost any reason…The dissenting justices said the court was trampling on New York’s efforts to tailor weapons regulations to particular threats posed by guns in that state.” (Politico)

“Today [Thursday], in Vega v. Tekoh, the court backtracked substantially on its Miranda promise. In Vega, the court held 6-3 (over an excellent dissent by Justice Elena Kagan) that an individual who is denied Miranda warnings and whose compelled statements are introduced against them in a criminal trial cannot sue the police officer who violated their rights, even where a criminal jury finds them not guilty of any crime. By denying people whose rights are violated the ability to seek redress under our country’s most important civil rights statute, the court has further widened the gap between the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights and the people’s ability to hold government officials accountable for violating them.” (ACLU)

“Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine to discuss U.S. and international efforts to prosecute war crimes resulting from Russia’s invasion… Garland also announced the launch of a War Crimes Accountability Team to be led by Eli Rosenbaum, whom the attorney general tapped to serve as counselor for war crimes accountability, according to a Justice Department news release.” (Politico)

“Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago… The country’s assault on Ukraine has left it with few friends in the international community, and the default will likely cut off access to foreign financing for years.” (CNN)

“Police had enough officers and firepower on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it, Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety testified today, pronouncing the law enforcement response an “abject failure.”” (Politico)

Women’s reproductive rights
Read about the response and likely response of the states to the SCOTUS decision to ban abortion at Politifact.


“Friday morning’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting the idea of a woman’s right to an abortion has prompted Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to call for the General Assembly to act on restricting abortion rights in the state when it meets in an already scheduled special session on July 6. “The Supreme Court’s decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue,” he said. “We’ll do that in short order in Indiana.”” (Tribune Star)

As if the pain at the pump wasn’t enough, Indiana’s gas tax is going up. (WANE-TV)

The state of Indiana raising Indiana’s gas tax in July is “surprising,” according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. (WIBC)

An advocate for Hoosiers with disabilities says it seems like Gov. Eric Holcomb doesn’t care about helping them. That’s as the governor’s inflation relief plan leaves out many of the lowest-income Hoosiers.  (Indiana Public Media)

“Local, state and federal officials gathered in Michigan City Monday to celebrate construction progress on the South Shore Line’s double track project. Once complete, it’s expected to attract new residents and businesses to Northwest Indiana. Through the $650 million double track project, the railroad is building a 17-mile second track from Michigan City to Gary, implementing a host of other line improvements and constructing a new station in downtown Michigan City that will be accompanied by $80 million housing, retail and office development.” (Indiana Public Media)

A major new gun law eliminating the need for permits for most gun owners has put hundreds of criminal cases in central Indiana into question. (Fox 59)

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears says he won’t prosecute abortion cases, even if legislators make abortion illegal.  (WIBC)

As the summer continues, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is reminding Hoosier families that grants are available through the On My Way Pre-K program. (RTV 6)

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