10/21/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Join us for our Pre-Election Rally on Thursday,October 27, at 6pm at the Merrillville Library, 1919 81st Ave, Merrillville
Meet and hear from Destiny Wells, the Democratic candidate for Indiana Secretary of State and Martin Del Rio, Veterans Advocate. The Indiana Secretary of State race is a Democratic must win for all Hoosiers who value the freedom to vote and election fairness. Hear why this race has become so important. Hear, too, what is being done for veterans in Indiana and around the country, what challenges veterans face and what more needs to be done.
Register here. Bring a friend–& a vet!
Get to know Destiny with this short video and at her campaign website.

Indivisible NWI is proud to have endorsed Congressman Frank Mrvan for re-election. Frank needs all of us to work to ensure his re-election.
While one premier race-tracker still rates the race “Lean Democratic,” the other two have classified it a toss-up, according to the nonpartisan Ballotpedia. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
We’ve all seen the republican ads and received the flyers that are misleading at best and most often outright lies. We all need to spread the truth about what Frank and the democratic party have achieved these past two years. Here are just a few:

  • Gun reform, the first in decades
  • The most significant reduction in child poverty ever, part of the American Rescue Plan.
  • Infrastructure improvements across the country with billions allocated to Indiana through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
  • Money for local police and for schools, part of the American Rescue Plan.
  • Investing in manufacturing to compete with China and other countries and ease our supply chain vulnerabilities through the CHIPS Act.
  • Improved healthcare for veterans through the PACT Act
  • Money for much needed projects here in NW Indiana.
  • Most recently, through the Inflation Reduction Act, significant healthcare savings for people on Medicare and those who use the Affordable Care Act, money for the IRS to upgrade services and to allow them to audit the wealthy and landmark climate provisions to seriously address the climate crisis.

Frank is also working for women’s healthcare and right to abortion, more common sense gun reform, police accountability, and always for veterans. 
We all must work to help Frank get re-elected. Check out volunteer opportunities here.

Indivisible NWI is proud to have endorsed two candidates for state representative. They have worked tirelessly at the state level for all of us and need our help in their re-election campaigns. Please note that even if they are not your representatives, you can still campaign for them. We all need them in the statehouse.

Pat Boy represents District 9. Read about her here and volunteer for her campaign here and here.

Chuck Moseley represents District 10. Read about him here and volunteer for his campaign here.

Want to campaign for your district’s candidates too? An easy way to see who is running in your district is at Ballotpedia Indiana. Put in your address and you will find candidates running in The Nov. 8 election. You can learn more about each candidate and you can link to their campaign website to view volunteer opportunities. 

Early voting in person began Oct. 12. Times and locations are posted for our NWI counties are posted here.
You can view your full ballot on https://indianavoters.in.gov/ or  www.indianavoters.com
You can also go to Vote 411, which is a one stop site for elections information from the League of Women Voters.
Ballotpedia Indiana also links to the most prominent races on your ballot with links to candidate information and websites.
Finally, here’s a nice easy breakdown of voting in Indiana from Indiana Capital Chronicle.

Get out and canvass, phone bank, text—do whatever you can to campaign for the national and state representatives and senators you want elected. There has never been more at stake—Democracy, the economy, women’s health care, our freedoms, gun control, criminal justice, free and fair elections—and statewide—the same and then some–public education, teachers, including salaries and what and how they teach, including accurate history, the freedom to read and access to books, wetlands, the environment, transgender rights, and on and on. Republicans have NO agenda other than cutting the social safety net, including social security and medicare, removing all that the Inflation Reduction Act gave us, repealing the 15% minimum tax on large corporations and making the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. Republicans have poured dark money into state and national elections, airing ads that are misleading and full of lies. We must get the truth out there every day. If Republicans take Congress, only the wealthy will thrive, and all of us will lose as minority rule becomes entrenched in this country.

Oct. 11: Voter registration ends
Oct. 12: First day of early voting
Oct. 27: Deadline to request absentee ballot
Nov 7:   Early in-person voting ends at noon
Nov 8:   General Election;
              Polls Open 6am-6pm

View recent debates in the U.S. Senate race between Tom McDermott and Todd Young and in the Indiana Secretary of State race between Democrat Destiny Wells and the Libertarian candidate Jeff Maurer. Both debates are available at the League of Women Voters site: https://www.lwvin.org/

Read highlights of the Secretary of State debate at Indiana Public Media and Indiana Capital Chronicle.

Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 4693: Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act of 2021
H.R. 468: Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act of 2021
H.R. 1766: FTC Collaboration Act of 2021
H.R. 4877: One Stop Shop for Small Business Compliance Act of 2021
H.R. 7500: Fiscal Year 2022 Veterans Affairs Major Medical Facility Authorization Act
H.R. 7846: Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022
H.R. 8982: Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act
S. 1098: Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act
S. 169: ARTS Act
S. 442: BRIGHT Act
S. 516: Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act
S. 958: Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act
S. 1198: Solid Start Act of 2022
S. 2551: AI Training Act
S. 2794: Supporting Families of the Fallen Act
S. 3157: Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act
S. 3470: End Human Trafficking in Government Contracts Act of 2022
S. 4205: PAW Act


Congress is out of session and won’t be back until after the midterms.

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

In other news

Federal student loan borrowers can now apply for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness, thanks to a new plan announced by President Joe Biden in late August. The administration officially launched the application Monday, following a brief “beta period” over the weekend during which its team assessed whether tweaks were needed. (CNN)
Education Department has started notifying borrowers that they were eligible to have their loans wiped out automatically. “The borrowers likely to receive notifications are those for whom the department already has income information on file. That typically happens either via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, or by being enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, which gives borrowers affordable monthly payments based on the income they bring home.” (Business Insider)

“Taxpayers will get fatter standard deductions for 2023 and all seven federal income tax bracket levels will be revised upward as the government allows people to shield more of their money from taxation because of persistently high inflation.” (Indianapolis Business Journal)

“President Biden will move to expand the use of medication to treat addiction in pregnant women through a new initiative as part of the administration’s strategy to improve maternal health. The initiative will develop training and technical assistance about medications for opioid addiction treatment, like buprenorphine and methadone, for women who are part of government programs through the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. It also will offer opioid addition education to women’s health providers through the Department of Veterans Affairs.” (The Hill

“The Pentagon will pay for service members to travel for abortion care…In a memo dated Thursday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the department to adopt a suite of reproductive health care policies in response to the Supreme Court’s June decision to end the federal right to abortion.” (NPR)

Late Friday a “federal appeals court has temporarily blocked President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program from continuing following an appeal from six GOP-led states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled Friday that the policy to cancel thousands of dollars in student loan debt should be put on hold while challenges play  out. The Biden administration must respond to the case before the appeals court by Monday evening.” (The Hill)

“Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday denied a request by a Wisconsin taxpayers group to halt the implementation of President Joe Biden’s federal student loan forgiveness program…Two days after that lawsuit was filed, officials from six Republican-led states sued to block the program. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed that suit.” (NBC News)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to decide whether fetuses are entitled to constitutional rights in light of its June ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide, steering clear for now of another front in America’s culture wars. (Reuters)

Trump administration aides “usurped control of CDC communications and blocked public health officials from providing accurate information about the coronavirus to the American people, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, led by Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, said in a report released Monday. In its third wide-ranging investigation on the government response to the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic officials spoke with several senior officials who were at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including former Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who said the Trump officials blocked the department from conveying information to Americans early on in the pandemic. The subcommittee also spoke to senior officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration.” (CNN)

“Pfizer expects to roughly quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine to between $110 to $130 per dose once the U.S. government’s purchasing program ends early next year, a company official said.” (The Hill)

2022 Election
“All but lost in the shadow of major contests for U.S. Senate and governor, voters in some battleground states will be deciding ballot proposals this November that could reshape the way they vote in the next presidential election.” (Associated Press)

“More than 150 years after slaves were freed in the U.S., voters in five states will soon decide whether to close loopholes that led to the proliferation of a different form of slavery — forced labor by people convicted of certain crimes.” (Associated Press)

January 6
“The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol announced on Friday that the panel has officially sent a subpoena to former President Donald Trump as it paints him as the central figure in the multi-step plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The committee issued the subpoena to try to compel Trump to sit for a deposition under oath and to provide documents. The panel is ordering Trump turn over documents by November 4 and either appear in person or virtually for “one or more days of deposition testimony beginning on or about November 14.”” (CNN)

“Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison Friday for his defiance of a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.” (The Hill)

Attorney John Eastman has been seeking to keep email communications with Trump from the Jan. 6 Committee, claiming attorney-client privilege. On Wed. a ruling came that allowed some of those emails to be turned over to the committee. “Communications from conservative lawyer John Eastman show former President Donald Trump and his lawyers pushed claims of voter fraud he knew to be false in federal court and to the public in order to delay the counting of state electoral votes by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal judge in California said in an order Wednesday.  The judge said the crime-fraud exception applies to eight communications, and he ordered all eight to be turned over to the select committee.
Four of the eight, Carter wrote, were documents “in which Dr. Eastman and other attorneys suggest that — irrespective of the merits — the primary goal of filing [lawsuits] is to delay or otherwise disrupt the January 6 vote.”” (CBS News)

“The House select committee’s final hearing on the Capitol Hill insurrection before the midterm elections used new testimony and evidence to demonstrate how former President Donald Trump knew he had lost the election but still went forward with efforts to overturn the results, leading to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.” (CNN)

“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday asked the Supreme Court to shield him from testifying in an investigation into former President Trump’s alleged interference in the 2020 election in Georgia. Graham’s request comes a day after a lower appeals court refused to halt his testimony before a Fulton County, Ga., special grand jury.” (The Hill)


“A state panel tasked with charting Indiana’s energy future on Wednesday approved recommendations that at times pit budget-friendliness and reliability against a shift toward alternative fuel sources that is already in progress.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“Thousands of immigrant children who came through legal channels to Indiana — roughly 17% — don’t have insurance coverage and the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana voted Wednesday to do something about it. Specifically, the panel is urging lawmakers to fix that gap by waiving a regulatory five-year waiting period…Charitable organizations attempt to cover some of the gap, but waiving the five-year waiting period would vastly improve the state’s dismal maternal and infant health rates.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Curious about the nine U.S. Congressional House seats that will be decided Nov. 8? Read about the candidates here. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“A study committee trying to find solutions to Indiana’s housing affordability problems on Thursday examined whether state government could front infrastructure costs for new housing — instead of builders, buyers and municipal governments.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) Thursday announced he has appointed State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) to serve as the next chair of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law.  (Indy Politics)

“U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, granted full and unconditional pardons to all Americans with federal convictions of simple marijuana possession in an executive action this month, but don’t expect Indiana to follow suit. “The President should work with Congress, not around [it], to discuss changes to the law federally, especially if he is requesting Governors to overturn the work local prosecutors have done by simply enforcing the law,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “Until these federal law changes occur, I can’t in good conscience consider issuing blanket pardons for all such offenders.”” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“The state gasoline tax will increase 1.1 cents in November. On Nov. 1, the tax will be 23.1 cents per gallon.” (WISH TV)

“A newly-released fiscal study of the state’s near-total abortion ban shows Indiana will need to spend almost $44 million in Fiscal Year 2023 to cover additional costs related to births and lawsuits. Those costs increase each year after. The analysis…was done by the State Budget Agency and show various costs that weren’t initially available when lawmakers passed the law during an August special session…The abortion ban is currently on hold after an Owen County judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking its enforcement. The Indiana Supreme Court has stepped in to take over the case and schedule a Jan. 19 oral argument. This case is based on privacy and liberty rights in the Indiana Constitution.
A second case is also pending challenging the ban on religious freedom grounds.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“U.S. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican, centered his reelection bid on fighting inflation and spending in a debate Sunday night while his primary challenger, Democrat Tom McDermott, focused his message on abortion rights and attacked Young’s votes for spending bills. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Indiana Debate Commission hosted Sunday’s event, which also featured Libertarian challenger James Sceniak. He struggled to answer several questions during the debate.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Read about the likely field of GOP candidates for governor in 2024. There are many, but perhaps most significant is that if Braun decides to run then Todd Rokita is expected to run for the open senate seat. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Nearly 200 ballots mailed to or cast early by Winfield-area voters for the general election erroneously included or omitted some local candidates.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

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