Indivisible nwi Weekly update 04/28/2024

You can make a difference

Tuesday, May 7 is the Indiana primary election. You can vote early until noon on May 6.
View your ballot at and click on ‘check voting status’. There you can also find you election day polling place., from the League of Women Voters, is another source for your voter and ballot info.

Join us for our May event on Thursday, May 9, at 6:30–at the Merrillville Library. We are hosting a Community Forum with Destiny Wells, Democratic candidate for Attorney General! She is a highly qualified and experienced candidate. Read more about this outstanding candidate here:  
Please register here.

Save the date! On Thursday, June 13, at 6pm at the Portage Library we will host our second Postcard Party! This time we will also be writing Letters to the Editor and playing trivia for prizes. And we’ll have food again! We’re focusing on letting people know about the amazing things the Inflation Reduction Act is bringing all of us. Every month there is something new–in healthcare savings, taxpayer savings–and in clean energy–and jobs! Join us to get the word out and make a difference!

Please take action!
The proposal to streamline Indiana’s high school diplomas and reduce options to just two primary graduation paths was recently revealed by the Indiana State Board of Education. The new graduation requirements “place much greater emphasis on employment, water down the rigor, fail to meet college admission standards, and remove World History, Economics, World Languages and Fine Arts as required courses.”  (MadVoters)
The proposed changes are very significant: watered down requirements for one diploma option and too rigorous and unattainable requirements for the other that would be comparable to what is now an honors diploma. It’s a complicated proposal that school systems will have difficulty staffing for and that colleges and universities may not recognize favorably in terms of admissions and scholarships. Please watch Lake Central’s short video explaining the proposed changes and then provide your feedback:

Thank you, Joe Biden:

  • “The Treasury Department announced that the pilot program of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that enabled taxpayers to file their tax returns directly with the IRS for free had more users than the program’s stated goal, got positive ratings, and saved users an estimated $5.6 million in fees for tax preparation.” (U.S. Dept. of Treasury
  • “The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue cash refunds for things like delayed flights and to better disclose fees for baggage or canceling a reservation.” (AP News)
  • “Patients have a right to privacy when it comes to their medical information, even when they travel to another state for an abortion, IVF, birth control or other types of reproductive health care, federal officials declared in a new rule.” (CNN)
  • “U.S. companies would no longer be able to bar employees from taking jobs with competitors under a rule approved by a federal agency Tuesday, though the rule is sure to be challenged in court.The Federal Trade Commission voted Tuesday 3-2 to ban measures known as noncompete agreements, which bar workers from jumping to or starting competing companies for a prescribed period of time. According to the FTC, 30 million people — roughly one in five workers — are now subject to such restrictions.” (AP News)

Enacted, signed into law by the President

H.R. 7888: Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act

H.R.815 – Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes.
Last Saturday the House of Representatives passed a series of foreign aid bills that allocate:

  • $60.8 billion for Ukraine (H.R. 8035) by a vote of 311-112-1. Indiana representatives Banks, Spartz and Baird voted nay; all other Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.
  • $26.4 billion for Israel (H.R. 8034) by a vote of 366-58. All Indiana representatives voted yea except for Rep. Carson who voted nay. View the vote.
  • $8 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies (H.R. 8036) by a vote of 385-34-1. All Indiana reps voted yea except Rep. Baird who voted nay. View the vote.
  • “Another bill [in addition to the foreign aid bills], passed by a vote of 360-58, would force the sale of TikTok and imposes strong sanctions on Iran, China and Russia. An amendment to that bill requires the Treasury Department to submit a report on Iranian assets and sanction exemptions.

On Tuesday these bills passed in the Senate as one piece of legislation

H.R.815 – Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes.
In addition to the supplemental foreign aid funding, this bill also includes the legislation that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban.
The vote for the entire package was 78-18. Senator Young voted yea and Sen. Braun voted nay. View the vote.


Passed the House, Senate next 
H.R. 8038: 21st Century Peace through Strength Act “To authorize the President to impose certain sanctions with respect to Russia and Iran, and for other purposes.” Passed 360-58 with all Indiana reps voting yea. View the vote.
H.R. 4639: Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act “This bill would prohibit law enforcement from buying data from data brokers to circumvent the fourth amendment.”
White House statement: “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 4639, the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act. It generally would prohibit the Intelligence Community and law enforcement from obtaining certain commercially available information – subject only to narrow, unworkable exceptions. It does not affect the ability of foreign adversaries or the private sector to obtain and use the same information, thus negating any privacy benefit to U.S. persons while threatening America’s national security.” (Statement of Administration Policy)
Passed 219-199, 1 Present with Indiana Representatives Mrvan, Carson, Pence, Buschon and Houchin voting nay and all other Indiana reps voting yea. View the vote.
H.R. 7888: Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (FISA)
Passed 273 – 147. Reps Banks, Baird and Spartz voted nay; all other reps voted yea. View the vote.
H.R. 5917: Strengthening Tools to Counter the Use of Human Shields Act
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 419 – 4
H.R. 3033: Solidify Iran Sanctions Act of 2023
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 407 – 16
These simple resolutions were agreed to on April 16, 2024. That is the end of the legislative process for a simple resolution
H.Res. 288: Encouraging the EU to DESIGNATE Resolution
On motion to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 411 – 14
H.Res. 883: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the slogan, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is antisemitic and its use must be condemned.
On motion to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 377 – 44
Failed in the House
H.R. 3602: Transnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter Prevention and Elimination Act “To prohibit the intentional hindering of immigration, border, and customs controls, and for other purposes.”
The bill “would reinstate Trump-era immigration policies such as the construction of the border wall. Both bills would also require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico.” It is nearly identical to HR 2 that the Senate has not acted on. (Highland County Press)
Failed under suspension of the rules which requires 2/3s to pass 215-199; Indiana Representatives Mrvan and Carson voted nay; all other Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.


“The U.S. Senate…dismissed two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The Democrat-controlled chamber voted, 51-49 along party lines, to adjourn the impeachment trial after finding that the impeachment articles accusing Mayorkas of not complying with federal immigration law and breaching the public trust did not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and were therefore unconstitutional.” (Georgia Recorder)

Passed the Senate, House next

S. 3687: A bill to direct the Office for Victims of Crime of the Department of Justice to implement anti-trafficking recommendations of the Government Accountability Office.
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

To find and contact your Members of Congress: 

In other news

“The US economy grew 1.6% in the first quarter, a much slower pace than expected. Interest rates are also hovering at a two-decade high, but fortunately for Americans, analysts say a recession this year isn’t in the cards.” (CNN)

“A grand jury in Arizona has handed up an indictment against former President Donald Trump’s allies over their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, including the fake electors from that state and several individuals connected to his campaign.” (CNN)

“The Arizona House of Representatives voted Wednesday to overturn the state’s 160-year-old abortion ban, setting the stage for a repeal that would leave the state’s 15-week restriction on the procedure in place.” (CNN)

“Hourly workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, overwhelming voted to join the United Auto Workers late Friday, a major breakthrough in the union’s effort to organize workers at plants nationwide.” (CNN)

“Pro-Palestinian demonstrations at Columbia University, Yale, and other colleges grew over the weekend and into Monday…” (USA Facts) “Students across the United States have been protesting in support of Palestinians in Gaza and in solidarity with students who were suspended at Columbia this past week. As the national spotlight has fallen on Columbia, similar encampments are growing at other schools, and officials nationwide are grappling with a response to what has become a coast-to-coast disruption.” (CNN)

“The US State Department’s annual report on human rights raises sharp concerns about the conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, citing allegations of war crimes.
The report noted that “human rights groups reported extensive and in many cases unprecedented conflict-related abuses and alleged the commission of war crimes by Israel, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other Palestinian militant groups.”” (CNN)

“The New York Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned the sex crimes conviction against Harvey Weinstein, the powerful Hollywood producer whose downfall stood as a symbol of the #MeToo movement, and ordered a new trial.” (CNN)

“The Biden administration has introduced a controversial set of new regulations intended to increase staffing levels and improve patient care in nursing homes.
The new staffing rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has faced fierce opposition from the industry and Republicans in Congress. It establishes for the first time national minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes that collect taxpayer money through Medicare- and Medicaid-funded services.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

“The Biden administration on Wednesday reimposed crushing oil sanctions on Venezuela, admonishing President Nicolás Maduro’s attempts to consolidate his rule just six months after the U.S. eased restrictions in a bid to support now fading hopes for a democratic opening in the OPEC nation.” (NewsNation)

“The Biden administration unveiled a final set of sweeping changes to Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination at government-funded schools…The final changes, which reinstitute protections for student survivors of sexual assault and harassment that were rolled back during the Trump administration, will take effect Aug. 1. (The Hill)

“The Supreme Court appeared ready to reject former President Donald Trump’s claims of sweeping immunity and the broad protections he has sought to shut down his federal election subversion case, but also reluctant to give special counsel Jack Smith carte blanche to pursue those charges.
After nearly three hours of oral arguments, several of the justices seemed willing to embrace a result that could jeopardize the ability to hold a trial before the November election.” (CNN)

“Hospitals across the country have long operated under the same federal law that says they must treat and stabilize all patients when they have a medical emergency.
But in states that now ban abortions and have limited or no health exceptions to these restrictions, medical providers face an impossible situation. They can administer a medically necessary abortion and violate state law, potentially facing jail time and losing their licenses, or they can decide not to provide the abortion and violate federal law, potentially resulting in the patient experiencing significant harm or even dying.
The Supreme Court [heard] oral arguments on this legal conflict in Moyle v. United States. This case centers on the federal law, known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, which was designed to prevent hospital emergency rooms from refusing to treat patients who couldn’t pay.” (The Conversation)
“Idaho said the law doesn’t mention abortions, and the state has set its own standard: a total ban on abortions except when it is needed to save a pregnant woman’s life, but not to prevent serious risks to her health. As the Supreme Court wrestled for the first time with the fallout of a state abortion ban since it overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Justice Samuel Alito seemed to endorse the idea that a fetus needs the same “stabilizing treatment” as the pregnant person.” (The Hill

“The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision in Grants Pass v. Johnson [heard last week] probably isn’t going to end well for homeless people. The case, which asks whether a city in Oregon may enact so many restrictions on sleeping in public and similar behavior that it amounts to an effective ban on being unhoused, drew many questions from justices skeptical that the federal judiciary should play much of a role at all in addressing homelessness.” (Vox)

“The first criminal prosecution of a former president began in earnest with opening statements and testimony in a lower Manhattan courtroom. But the action quickly spread to involve more than half a dozen cases in four states and the nation’s capital. Twice during the week, lawyers for Trump were simultaneously appearing in different courtrooms.” (AP News) ICYMI, read a synopsis of the week from APNews.


Indiana’s largest teachers union gave its official support to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer McCormick on Wednesday, citing her “common sense and bipartisanship” approach to state politics and education policy.  (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
“An Indiana gay rights group on Wednesday called for primary election voters pulling Republican ballots to leave the race for governor blank in an electoral boycott.
Indiana Equality dubbed all six Hoosiers running for the GOP nomination “pro-discrimination candidates” in a news release.
“If any of these Republican candidates for Governor get elected, they will weaken Indiana’s economic future by rejecting the Hoosier Hospitality welcoming values of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Executive Director G. David Caudill said.” (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
 “As the School City of Hammond looks to fix its finances and avoid state intervention, its school board approved on Tuesday night a consolidation plan that includes the closure of Wallace, Morton and Kenwood elementary schools.” (NWI Times)
“An organization helping survivors of rape and domestic violence is planning a major expansion, thanks to federal funding. Fair Haven Rape Crisis Center plans to buy the building where it’s rented space for many years in Downtown Highland, renovate it with a new entrance, and then build an addition with four individual living spaces…To help pay for the expansion, Fair Haven has received about $1.8 million from federal funding programs.
U.S. Representative Frank Mrvan (D-Highland) said he was able to secure $750,000 in Community Project funding because of Fair Haven’s credible results and outcomes..
Meanwhile, the Lake County Community Economic Development Department was able to allocate almost $1,075,000 in HOME Investment Partnerships money from the American Rescue Plan.” (Lakeshore Public Media)
The LaPorte County’s plan commission held a public workshop to discuss the proposed BlueStem solar farm in the northeast part of the county.   (WSBT)
“Indiana University changed its policy on encampments one day before pro-Palestine protesters began constructing one in Dunn Meadow, changing a decades-old rule and banning unapproved tents, posters and other structures.” (Indiana Public Media)
“In a historic day for the city of Fort Wayne, Sharon Tucker was sworn in Tuesday as the new mayor…Tucker, Fort Wayne’s first Black mayor and the second female ever elected to the position, will serve as the city’s leader through the end of 2027.” (WANE)
The United Auto Workers union, which represents thousands of workers in the bistate Calumet Region, landed a historic tentative agreement with Daimler Truck at the last minute before the contract expired at midnight Friday, averting a strike.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

To find and contact your Indiana legislators: