Weekly Legislative Update 12/06/2022

You can make a difference

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 Facebook, Twitter, 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

H.J.Res.100 – To provide for a resolution with respect to the unresolved disputes between certain railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference and certain of their employees.
(A joint resolution is often used in the same manner as a bill. If passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and signed by the President, it becomes a law. Joint resolutions are also used to propose amendments to the Constitution.)
Passed the House 290-137 with Indiana Reps Mrvan, Carson, Baird and Yakym voting yea and all other Indiana reps voting nay. View the vote. Passed the Senate 80-15 with both Indiana Senators voting yea. View the vote.

H.R. 2930: Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2021
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 2220: To amend title 40, United States Code, to modify the treatment of certain bargain-price options to purchase at less than fair market value, and for other purposes.
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 231: PFAS Act
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 400 – 22.

S. 3115: POWER 2.0 Act
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 406 – 14. “This bill makes permanent the requirement for the chief judge of each federal judicial district to lead, at least annually, a public event to promote pro bono legal services for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.” (GovTrack)

H.R. 8454: Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act

Metropolitan Areas Protection and Standardization Act of 2021 or the MAPS Act of 2021

S. 3510: Disaster Resiliency Planning Act

S. 3655: Civil Rights Cold Case Investigations Support Act of 2022



“House Democrats chose caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader of the Democrats in the chamber next year, a historic move that will make him the first Black person to lead one of the two major parties in either chamber of Congress.” (CNN)

Passed the House, failed in the Senate
H.Con.Res.119 – Providing for a correction in the enrollment of H.J. Res. 100.
This legislation would have provided for 7 days of paid sick leave in the resolution with respect to the unresolved disputes between certain railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference and certain of their employees. It passed in the House 221-207 with Indiana Reps Mrvan and Carson voting yea and all other Indiana Reps voting nay. It did not pass in the Senate where it failed to reach the required 60 vote threshold. The vote was 52-41 with Indiana Senator Braun voting yea and Young voting nay. View the vote.

Passed the House, Senate next

H.R. 5455: Terry Technical Correction Act
GovTrack.us: “The First Step Act made the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive and authorized sentencing reductions for certain crack cocaine offenders convicted and sentenced before the Fair Sentencing Act became effective. Under current law, crack cocaine offenders whose conduct triggered a mandatory minimum sentence are eligible for a retroactive sentencing reduction under the First Step Act. However, in 2021, the Supreme Court held in Terry v. United States that low-level crack cocaine offenders whose conduct did not trigger a mandatory minimum sentence are not eligible for a retroactive sentencing reduction under the First Step Act.
This bill extends eligibility for a retroactive sentencing reduction under the First Step Act to all crack cocaine offenders convicted and sentenced before the Fair Sentencing Act became effective, including low-level offenders whose conduct did not trigger a mandatory minimum sentence.”
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 307 – 101. All Indiana reps voted yea except Banks, Yakym and Baird who voted nay and Banks who did not vote. View the vote.

S. 3846: Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “This bill modifies and reauthorizes through FY2026 the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The program provides state, local, and tribal grants to improve the criminal justice system’s response to people with mental health disorders.” The House passed the bill with changes not in the Senate version and sent it back to the Senate to approve the changes. The bill passed 389-22; all Indiana reps voted yea except Pence who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 3372: One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill authorizes grants to support community-based reentry resources for previously incarcerated individuals who return to their communities.”
This bill passed 259 – 167; Indiana Reps Mrvan, Carson and Hollingsworth voted yea; all other Indiana reps voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 6878: Pregnant Women in Custody Act
Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 324 – 90. Indiana Reps Spartz, Pence and Banks voted nay; all other Reps voted yea except Mrvan who did not vote. View the vote.

H.R. 4785: Uyghur Policy Act of 2021: To support the human rights of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups residing primarily in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and safeguard their distinct identity, and for other purposes.
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 407 – 17. All Indiana Reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 2521: DOULA for VA Act of 2021: To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on the feasability and advisability of furnishing doula services to certain veterans, and for other purposes. 
Last Action: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 376 – 44 (Roll no. 497).

Bills that may be considered on the House floor the week of Dec. 5: https://docs.house.gov/floor/

Passed the Senate, House next

H.R. 8404: Respect for Marriage Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Specifically, the bill repeals and 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 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 passed 61-36 with Senator Young voting yea and Senator Braun voting nay. This bill has been passed in the House and the Senate, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House. View
the vote. “NOTE: This will not protect the right to marry should the conservative U.S. Supreme Court overturn the historic Loving or Obergefell cases.” (INDems)

S. 1466: Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act of 2021
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 4337: Military Spouse Employment Act
Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 1193: Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act
LPassed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent. This bill passed with changes and so it goes back to the House.

S. 3662: Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act
Senate agreed to the House amendment to S. 3662 by Unanimous Consent.

S. 4052: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2022
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 4171: International Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022.
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

December in Congress:
Congress has some must pass–or we fervently hope they will pass–legislation before the end of this current Congress. These include funding the government, which will run out of money in 10 days; defense funding; passing the Electoral Count Reform act; raising the debt ceiling. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, Republicans have promised to leverage that agreement on reducing the social safety net. Yet at this point, raising it now seems unlikely. Funding the government may bring the opportunity to bring back the enhanced Child Tax Credit and other important funding for Dems, but there’s not much time and most Republicans are opposed.
A few other bills and provisions under consideration include:
“The SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to handle cannabis-related business. This has been a top priority for lawmakers in both parties.
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.  Meta is staunchly opposed to this bill and has been issuing threats about what it would do if this measure passes.
Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) permitting reform bill. Democratic leadership promised Manchin they would act on his proposal this year.
A provision that would cancel the vaccine mandate for members of the military. This is something McCarthy has pushed hard for. Democrats are demanding something in return, however, and it’s not clear what the GOP leadership will give up. This is a very sensitive issue.”
(Punchbowl News)
We’ll keep you  posted on this very important final month of the 117th Congress. 

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

In other news

“The Supreme Court on Thursday delayed a decision on whether to grant President Joe Biden’s bid to implement his student loan forgiveness plan, announcing instead that it will hear full oral arguments on an expedited basis. In a brief order, the court said it would hear arguments in February, with a decision soon to follow. In the meantime, the plan remains blocked.” (NBC News)

“The legal challenges facing the Biden administration over its student loan forgiveness program is leaving borrowers in limbo as the White House is now forced to halt administering the program until the Supreme Court rules on the matter.” The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in and in the meantime “announced on Tuesday they would be extending the pause of student loan payments into next year. The pause, which was set to expire on Dec. 31, was extended up to June 30, with Biden saying the extension allows the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term.” (The Hill)

“Reproductive rights advocates are on edge over a lawsuit to revoke the decades-old Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of mifepristone, which, if successful, would end legal access to abortion pills nationwide.” (The Hill)

“The U.S. gun death rate last year hit its highest mark in nearly three decades, and the rate among women has been growing faster than that of men, according to study published Tuesday…Among Black women, the rate of firearm-related homicides more than tripled since 2010, and the rate of gun-related suicides more than doubled since 2015…” (Associated Press)

“A gunfire attack on two electrical substations in rural North Carolina has left tens of thousands of people without power, schools closed, a curfew imposed, and authorities investigating what they say was an intentional, criminal attack.” (NPR)

“A measure of inflation that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve eased but remained at an elevated level in October, likely reinforcing the Fed’s intent to keep raising interest rates to cool the economy and slow the acceleration of prices. Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 6% in October from a year earlier. That was down from 6.3% year-over-year increase in September… Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a speech that the central bank could slow its rate hikes to a half-point increase when it next meets in two weeks — a message that sent cheers through the financial markets. Yet at the same time, Powell made clear that the policymakers intend to keep their key rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, at a high level for a prolonged period…In the meantime, the overall economy is showing signs of surprising durability. On Wednesday, the government estimated that the economy grew at a solid 2.9% annual rate from July through September. The job market, the most important barometer of economic health, remains robust. Employers have added a healthy average of 407,000 jobs a month so far this year, and unemployment remains near a half-century low.” (NewsNation)

Former POTUS
“Former President Trump called for the termination of the Constitution’s rules regarding elections to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election following the release of more detailed information about Twitter’s role in suppressing a story about Hunter Biden.” (The Hill)

“The Department of Homeland Security is projecting between 9,000 to 14,000 migrants may attempt to cross the US southern border a day when a Trump-era border policy ends in late December, more than double the current number of people crossing, according to a source familiar with the projections. Officials are bracing for an influx of migrants trying to cross into the United States when the controversial public health authority, known as Title 42, ends in three weeks. Since March 2020, border authorities have been able to turn away migrants encountered along the border under Title 42. That will no longer be the case in late December, as authorities return to traditional protocols following a court order earlier this month that struck down the policy. Under those protocols, migrants are either removed from the country, detained or released into the US while their cases make their way through immigration court.” (CNN)

“Three Florida-based immigrant rights groups sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday over the migrant flights that his administration organized to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in September.” (The Hill)


“Nearly 6 in 10 Hoosiers chose to neglect their civic duty by failing to vote in this year’s general election. Data compiled by the Indiana Election Division show voter turnout at the Nov. 8 election was 41% of the 4.77 million adults registered to vote in the state… Voter turnout in Northwest Indiana this year varied by county. But there’s little indication that the most expensive 1st District U.S. 
In Lake County, a total of 136,315 voters cast a ballot out of 369,255 eligible citizens registered to vote for a 2022 turnout rate of 37%, records show…Records show voter turnout in Porter County this year was 44%. LaPorte County’s voter participation was 41%…” (NWI Times

“Indiana’s attorney general on Wednesday asked the state’s medical board to discipline an Indiana doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio in a case that became a flashpoint in the debate over access to the procedure. …Dr. Bernard and her medical partner sued Rokita earlier this month, demanding an end to investigations seeking medical records about patients and their abortions. The lawsuit accused Rokita’s investigation of being a “sham” and said it violated requirements that investigations be based on merit, narrowly focused and kept confidential.” (Reuters)

Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s motion to block Attorney General Todd Rokita from accessing patient medical records has been denied by the court, stating it is now in the hands of the state’s Medical Licensing Board.  (RTV 6)

Open enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace will soon have a fix for the “family glitch,” meaning that thousands of previously ineligible Hoosiers may now qualify for cheaper coverage. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

The state of Indiana and all of its cities, towns and counties are set to receive up to $507 million as part of a massive settlement from lawsuits against drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and national distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen for their roles in the opioid crisis.  (Indy Star)

“The public will get a chance to weigh in on NIPSCO’s latest proposed electricity rate hike, which is expected to raise the average monthly electricity bill from $107.78 to $133.43. It would also start to gradually raise rates under a new tracker starting in July 2024. People can weigh in at public hearings Dec. 12 in Hammond and Jan. 4 in Valparaiso. They also can submit written comments to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor through mid-January. The first public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Alumni Hall in Purdue University Northwest’s Student Union and Library Building at 2233 173rd St., Hammond. The second hearing will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Valparaiso High School Auditorium at 2727 N. Campbell St…To submit comments, visit in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, email uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov or mail Public Comments, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 SOUTH, Indianapolis, IN 46204.” (NWI Times)

Indiana’s near-total abortion ban has been halted, again, in state court. This time, a Marion County judge ruled that the ban likely violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. (Indiana Public Media)

More than 80% of Hoosiers believe an abortion ban should have at least some exceptions. And more than half say abortion should be legal in most cases.  (WFPL)

After six years, it appears Indiana is finally able to force medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains. A second lawsuit was defeated, but the decision can still be appealed. (WFIU)

Election 2024
Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick has formed an exploratory committee to run for the office of Governor in 2024.  (Indy Politics)

U.S. Senator Mike Braun is running for Governor in 2024.  (Indy Politics)

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl issued a statement following Mike Braun’s decision to forego his reelection for the U.S. Senate in favor of running to be Indiana’s next governor. It reads in part: “As a so-called businessman, Mike Braun has done very little to improve Indiana as a U.S. senator and he surely won’t do it as governor. Braun’s half-hearted efforts have been ineffective and he’s been more likely to be spotted on national cable TV shows than talking to Hoosiers in real life about solving real problems… Braun supports a form of extremism that was soundly rejected in the U.S. Senate just last night through The Respect for Marriage Act and his stances on social issues are out of step with the majority of Hoosiers. The Senator’s dangerous record – which also includes inciting an insurrection against our country – would be grounds to earn a pink slip in any other line of work. A Mike Braun administration would do nothing to improve the state’s dismal quality-of-life, workforce, and education rankings..” (INDems)

Legislative session 2023
 “Indiana’s top Republican lawmakers said they plan to prioritize school choice and enact a plan to “reinvent” high school education during the next legislative session. That will largely involve an expansion of work-based learning opportunities available for high schoolers. The goal is to graduate Hoosier students who are better prepared for the workforce — and increase the likelihood they will stay in Indiana — as the state tries to reverse its dismal college-going rate, as well as other academic impacts following the COVID-19 pandemic. But Democrats maintain the state needs to invest more in early learning first. They also emphasized that Indiana should offer a child care tax credit or lower the age for compulsory school attendance from seven to five. Educators said they have different concerns, too…” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Improving K-12 outcomes for students of all races and income levels and greatly elevating the postsecondary attainment levels of Indiana’s adult workforce are the most significant challenges facing the state, according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.  (Indy Politics)

Legislation allowing renters to withhold rent from landlords who don’t make critical habitability repairs, and expanding tax credits for renters, holds potential in Indiana, according to a report released Wednesday as lawmakers ready bills for the 2023 legislative session.  (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“Two state senators representing Northwest Indiana will be in position next year to have greater-than-usual influence over a wide swath of key legislation. Senate President Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, recently appointed Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs for the 2023 General Assembly, which is set to convene Jan. 9 for a four-month session. He joins Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services since 2017, as the only Region senators selected to lead one of the 22 permanent committees next year.” (NWI Times)

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