Weekly Legislative Update 12/14/2022

You can make a difference

“Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, told reporters the committee will hold its final public meeting on Monday and that the panel’s full report will come out December 2.” (CNN)
We’ll all need to be armed with truth and facts when Republicans take control of the House in January and the lies become even more rampant than they are now. This final hearing and report should help with the fight for truth.

As Republicans take control of the House in January, they are promising odious investigations designed to mis and disinform while dividing the country further and not producing any beneficial legislation.
Meanwhile an even larger Republican supermajority at the state level will likely produce bills that further erode public education, the environment, women’s rights, the rights of all of our children to read what they, their teachers and parents want them to read and to learn accurate American history, among other ‘conservative’ initiatives. It’s a four month session and we will be keeping you updated on how you can be involved in demanding legislation that help Hoosiers and that don’t deny us our rights. 

Disinformation is growing more rampant every day and WE are the line of defense for facts and truth. Indivisible’s Truth Brigade endlessly fights mis and disinformation and spreads truth and facts. We regularly post from the Truth Brigade on our FacebookTwitter, and webpage. When lies are endlessly repeated, many people believe they must be true. The only way to fight the lies is for all of us to endlessly repeat facts and truth. 

Enacted, signed into law by the President

Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 8404: Respect for Marriage Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Specifically, the bill replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage between two individuals that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)
The bill also replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.
The bill does not (1) affect religious liberties or conscience protections that are available under the Constitution or federal law, (2) require religious organizations to provide goods or services to formally recognize or celebrate a marriage, (3) affect any benefits or rights that do not arise from a marriage, or (4) recognize under federal law any marriage between more than two individuals.”
Passed in the House 267-157 with Indiana Reps Mrvan and Carson voting yea; all othe Indiana Reps voted nay except Hollingsorth who did not vote. View the vote. Passed in the Senate 61-36 with Indiana Senator Young voting yea and Braun voting nay. View the vote.


Passed the House and Senate, President next

S. 1617: Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 406 – 8

H.R. 263: Big Cat Public Safety Act
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 4052: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2022
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 408 – 17

H.R. 3462: SBA Cyber Awareness Act
Last Action: On motion that the House suspend the rules and agree to the Senate amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 417 – 0

S. 3875: Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 333 – 92

S. 2796: Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 408 – 11

S. 4834: PROTECT Our Children Act of 2022 (Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act of 2022)
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 421 – 1

H.R. 5796: Patents for Humanity Act of 2022
Last Action: On motion that the House suspend the rules and agree to the Senate amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 396 – 24

S. 3092: FEMA Improvement, Reform, and Efficiency Act of 2022
Senate agreed to the House amendment to S. 3092 by Unanimous Consent.

Passed the Senate, House next

S. 5229: A bill to direct the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the Capitol and to obtain a bust of Thurgood Marshall for installation in the Capitol or on the Capitol
Passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 5230: A bill to increase accessibility to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, to facilitate data sharing between such system and the National Crime Information Center database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and for other pur
Passed without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 4216: North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022
Last Action: Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 4216: North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

H.R. 7535: Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. This bill has been passed in the House and the Senate, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House on December 8, 2022.

S. 2333: Equal Pay for Team USA Act of 2021
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 4577: Clear and Concise Content Act of 2022
Passed Senate with amendments by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3316: A bill to provide for certain whistleblower incentives and protections.
Last Action: Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

H.R. 263: Big Cat Public Safety Act
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 2773: Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022
Last Action: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 3198: Registration for Index-Linked Annuities Act
Last Action: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 7077: Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act
Last Action: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. Passed the Senate with changes, so it goes back to the House.

S. 3903: A bill to require the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to establish procedures for conducting maintenance projects at ports of entry at which the Office of Field Operations conducts certain enforcement and facilitation activities.

Passed the House, Senate next

S. 1687: Small Business Cyber Training Act of 2022
This bill passed in the Senate and the House, but the House made changes and sent it back to the Senate.

The weeks ahead in Congress

Congress is working this week to finalize and pass an ominibus spending bill. The government will run out of money on Dec. 16 so the House is preparing a short term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. Democrats and some Republicans recognize the importance of passing an omnibus bill before the end of this term and there is still optimism that it will get done. Included in that legislation may be the Electoral Count Reform Act, another must pass bill for this lame duck session.

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

In other news

“WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention, President Joe Biden said Thursday…The swap involves convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The swap did not include another American that the State Department has declared wrongfully detained, Paul Whelan. “She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Biden said at the White House Thursday morning alongside Griner’s wife, Cherelle. “After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under untolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.”” (CNN)

“German authorities arrested 25 people suspected of a right-wing extremist plot to overthrow the country’s government on Wednesday. According to NBC News, the unnamed group, which includes veterans and a German descendant of a royal family, was inspired by “the so-called Reichsbürger, or Reich Citizens, movement which is motivated by conspiracy theories about the role and legitimacy of the modern German state.” But German authorities also named a key foreign influence on the group’s thinking: Qanon.” (MSNBC)

“Democrats on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Friday released their final report, which argues that structural weaknesses, leadership failings and the spread of misinformation contributed to the deaths of more than 1 million Americans during the pandemic.” (Politico)

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has announced she is no longer a Democrat, but will now be an Independent. For this upcoming Congress, nothing changes in the Senate; she will retain her Democratic committee assignments and will not caucus with Republicans. She is up for re-election in 2024, however, and would have faced a primary challenge if she had remained a Democrat. (NPR)

The courts
“A jury in New York on Tuesday found the Trump Organization guilty of all charges in a sweeping, 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors said was orchestrated by top executives at the company.” (NBC News)

“The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a second legal clash over President Biden’s ambitious student debt relief plan that is currently blocked by lower courts.” (The Hill)

The economy
“Prices rose less than expected in November, the latest sign that the runaway inflation that has been gripping the economy is beginning to loosen up.” (CNBC)

“The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments [Monday] in the marquee case of the term, a case that could radically reshape the way federal elections are conducted across the country… At issue is the so-called independent state legislature theory, put forth in this case by the North Carolina Republican State Legislature. If adopted, it would give state legislatures the power to put in place all manner of election laws and rules without any review by the state courts. At its most extreme, the theory could eliminate not just state judicial power over elections, but governor’s vetoes. And it might allow state legislatures to certify presidential electors who were not approved by the voters – an idea that Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to put forth in 2020.” (NPR)

Former POTUS
“President Donald Trump’s lawsuit challenging the government’s access to materials seized from his Florida resort home was formally dismissed. Judge Aileen Cannon’s order came after Trump declined to appeal a higher-court ruling that stopped a special master from reviewing the materials taken in the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago.” (CNBC)

January 6
“CNN has obtained 2,319 text messages that former President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent and received between Election Day 2020 and President Joe Biden’s January 20, 2021 inauguration. The vast trove of texts offers the most revealing picture to date of how Trump’s inner circle, supporters and Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to try to overturn the election results and then reacted to the violence that effort unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.” (CNN)


“Lawyers for an Indianapolis doctor on Thursday said they would voluntarily withdraw a lawsuit against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita because the case has now shifted to an administrative licensing action.  Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch ruled last week that he caused “irreparable harm” to the OB-GYN’s reputation and professional standing. But ultimately she chose not to block an investigation into Dr. Caitlin Bernard — who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl from Ohio in June. The doctor has maintained that she is being targeted by Rokita and his office. Although Welch denied an injunction, she did find that Rokita violated state confidentiality laws multiple times when he publicly discussed his office’s ongoing investigation into Bernard.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

The battle initiated by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita against Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana reproductive healthcare provider, disgracefully marches onward. Our embattled AG is wrong about this endeavor, in every possible way, but it is important not to lose track of who he is hurting, and why.  (Michael Leppert, MichealLeppert.com)

NIPSCO is encouraging income-eligible customers to apply for additional energy assistance programs the company launched Dec. 1. (WANE)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Wednesday filed two lawsuits in Fort Wayne against TikTok — both related to false claims made by the company about its video-sharing app of the same name.  (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Legislative session 2023
“A bipartisan group of Indiana lawmakers discussed their ideas at Mental Health America of Indiana’s symposium Friday. They say they believe the timing is right and the support from their colleagues is there to pass mental health legislation… State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) is backing a bill that would create a $1 surcharge on cell phone bills. That would generate around $100 million per year to fund the new 988 mental health crisis lifeline and response services, he explained… Another bill would divert Hoosiers facing jail time into mental health treatment centers if they’re deemed in need of treatment. State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) is behind that measure.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Indiana lawmakers will return to the  Statehouse in January for the legislative session in order to pass laws that impact every Hoosier. Arguably their most challenging task will be crafting the two-year budget for the state. (State Affairs – Indiana)

Election 2024
“Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch threw her hat into the ring for governor in 2024 Monday morning, putting an end to speculation and joining U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden in the race for the Republican nomination.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

The Indiana Republican primary for governor is turning into one of the most crowded and competitive early contests of 2024. (POLITICO)

“Indiana’s former superintendent of public instruction Jennifer McCormick is increasingly hinting at a run for governor in 2024, sparking new questions about who Democrats might rally behind for the statewide race. She joins a small field of other potential Democratic contenders — none of whom have filed candidacy paperwork or made formal campaign announcements. That includes Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, former state Rep. Christina Hale and former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly…Democrats have not claimed a statewide election win in Indiana since 2012.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R) said Monday he is “strongly considering” running for Indiana Sen. Mike Braun’s (R) seat in 2024 after Braun announced he will instead launch a campaign for the state’s governorship.  (WANE)

Eric Holcomb was non-committal when asked if he intends to run for United States Senate in 2024. With a primary that is likely to feature multiple big names, including Congressman Jim Banks, the addition of Indiana’s Governor to the race could give some pause before entering.  (Statehouse Happenings, WIBC)

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