Category: News

IFCL works with coalition to oppose SB 613

April 9, 2019

Emily Ketterer, Statehousefile.com reporter, interviews IFCL members Jim Donahue, Noell Krughoff, Mary Blackburn, Phil Goodchild, Josh Curry and Beth Henricks after the House Financial Services Committee passed an amended SB 613 Tuesday, April 9.

IFCL continues to oppose this bill with a coalition of nearly 100 service, faith-based and military groups. We urge citizens to contact their State Representatives (See “Find and Contact Your Indiana Legislators” below) to vote against this bill that expands predatory lending when it advances to the House as early as Thursday.

Updates will be made when they are available.

Find and Contact Your Indiana Legislators




Redistricting Reform Rally for SB 105, March 26

March 20, 2019

Phil Goodchild

Time is growing short for meaningful action by the Indiana General Assembly this session on redistricting reform.  SB 105, the redistricting standards bill passed by the Indiana Senate last month, needs a hearing by the House Elections and Apportionment Committee to stay alive this year.

Please join us for a rally and march in Indianapolis on March 26 — “Slay the Gerrymander!”  

See below for more event details. This event is sponsored by All IN for Democracy, the coalition working for redistricting reform of which IFCL has been a part.

Thank you for your interest and activism.

Will SCOTUS Slay the Gerrymander? 

On March 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two partisan gerrymandering lawsuits: one from North Carolina where Republicans used redistricting to their advantage, and one from Maryland where Democrats did the same. It’s time for the Supreme Court to take a stand on this issue — and declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional.

If they do, it will absolutely help our efforts to win redistricting reform here in Indiana. As it stands now, without a definitive decision from the highest court in the land, politicians know they can get away with drawing maps that serve political interests,not the public interest. This has to stop.To call attention to the important cases being heard at the Supreme Court on March 26th — and to highlight the need for a hearing and vote on SB105, the redistricting standards bill that passed the Indiana Senate last month — the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting is holding a rally and march for redistricting reform.

WHAT: Rally and march for redistricting reform
WHEN: March 26th at 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: Federal Courthouse (corner of Ohio and Meridian Streets in downtown Indianapolis)
RSVP: Email Julia at jvaughn@commoncause.org

We’ll meet at noon in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Indianapolis — at the corner of Meridian and Ohio Streets — for some brief remarks by activists and legal experts.  Then we’ll march three blocks to the State House to send a message to legislators that Hoosiers want action on redistricting reform this year.I hope you will be able to join us next week to stand in solidarity with the attorneys and activists who have brought this litigation to the nation’s highest court — and to call for Indiana legislators to take action on redistricting reform this year.





IFCL joins coalition against payday lending expansion

March 12, 2019

IFCL has been working with over 60 faith-based, service and military groups to oppose SB 613, an expansion of payday lending services. See the recent update from our partners at Indiana Institute for Working Families

Erin Macey, Senior Policy Analyst, Indiana Institute for Working Families 317-270-0874

Broad Coalition Gathers at Statehouse to Oppose Large-Scale Expansion of Loans at Loansharking Rates in SB 613

Indianapolis, IN – Indiana veterans’ groups, faith leaders, social service agencies, and community advocates gathered Monday at the Statehouse to send a strong message to the Indiana House of Representatives: Reject Senate Bill 613.

Advocates walked through the bill using this chart and offered those present a copy of this bill analysis, noting that while Indiana made an extremely limited exemption to its loansharking law in 2002, SB 613 would open the floodgates to high-cost lending by authorizing multiple larger, longer products outside that 72% cap and even rewriting the definition of loansharking itself. It will also substantially increase the allowable costs on all kind of consumer loans – from auto loans to personal installment to lines of credit and beyond.   

“The bill this year is far worse and more far-reaching than past years,” said retired Brigadier General James Bauerle of the Indiana Military / Veterans Coalition.

In fact, former Department of Financial Institutions regulator Mark Tarpey issued a written statement calling SB 613 “the single most negative piece of consumer credit legislation that I have seen in over 40 years as a former regulator of consumer credit in Indiana.”

Indiana’s current payday lending law – narrow as it is – has already created problems for borrowers like Steven Bramer, Jr. who came to speak at the press conference. “I got myself in a horribly expensive cycle,” Iraq War veteran Bramer told the audience. He called on Indiana lawmakers to reject the even larger loans proposed in SB 613. “I protected you at one point. Now, it is time for you to protect me.”

Outreach Minister Marcie Luhigo from The Creek Church in Indianapolis also shared the story of a Bill and Misty, working homeowners who came to the church for assistance after a cycle of payday loan debt caused them to fall behind on their mortgage and other bills. Bill and Misty finally sought help from the Church’s generous ministry. “We see a lot of Bills and Mistys,” she said.

Leaders representing Episcopal, Catholic, Pentecostal, Muslim, Unitarian, Quaker, and Christian faiths also stood with the coalition. “We are called to address injustice,” said Pastor Tammy Butler Robinson of House of God Church, speaking on behalf of the faith community, “and SB 613 opens doors for lending practices that are unjust and which take unfair advantage of people in desperate circumstances.”  

Social service agencies represented at the press conference expressed concern that SB 613 would increase the workload of these agencies, as many families seek out help only after trying to manage a financial crisis with high-cost debt. “Adding larger, longer term and higher rate loans to vulnerable families will only make their lives, and our work, more difficult,” said Mark Lindenlaub, Executive Director of Thrive Alliance.

President and CEO Tanya Bell of Indiana Black Expo, Inc. put it more simply: “Making loan sharking legal in the guise of helping is absurd.”   

Bell concluded the conference with an appeal, “I urge lawmakers to stop listening to the lenders, and start listening to this coalition. We represent your veterans, your faith based groups, families, your social service agencies and community organizations. And we are ALL telling you to reject SB 613.”

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An online file folder with resources, copies of statements, and photos is available here. 




Redistricting Bill Advances

February 28, 2019

Phil Goodchild

Well, we’re halfway there.  Last week, SB 105, the redistricting standards/criteria bill that IFCL has been lobbying for, passed out of the Indiana Senate 26-23.  It now moves over to the House, where the hearing process starts anew.  If only we can motivate them…
The House has been slow to act on redistricting reform.  Despite a positive recommendation from an 18-month study committee in 2016, the House has not to date advanced, or even taken a vote, on reform.  We must encourage the House to do right by Hoosiers and take action this year, before it’s too late.  
For this purpose, the redistricting coalition IFCL has been working with is holding a press conference on Thursday, March 7th at 3:30pm with legislators, civic leaders, and coalition spokespeople.  The purpose of the event is to urge House Elections Committee Chairman Tim Wesco to give SB 105 a hearing and vote in his committee.  We’ll also call on Speaker Brian Bosma to back up his support for redistricting reform by using his leadership position to ensure that the House take action on redistricting reform this year.  The press conference will be on the 3rd floor of the State House, in the south atrium. 
And you’re invited!  If you believe Hoosiers deserve a full and fair debate on redistricting reform in both legislative chambers this year, please come to this event.  Together, our presence will lend weight to our message!
Please contact Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com; 317-790-9054) or Ed Morris (emorri@earthlink.net; 317-691-5542) with any questions.  Thank you for your support.




Several bills hope to protect environment

Feb. 1, 2019

Environmental Policies that IFCL supports:

Protecting Hoosiers from unregulated confined feeding operations that affect water and air quality.

Animals are being raised in extremely tight spaces. Not only is it unhealthy for the animals, management of their waste is currently poorly regulated. HB 1378 offers reasonable guidelines to protect downstream and downwind areas from water and air bacterial contamination. Urge your legislator to have this bill heard.

Protecting our water and streams

SB4 is a good bill that is moving forward. SB 4 will establish the first-ever water planning in Indiana. Both SB 4 and HB 1438 will require audits of water loss from drinking water systems, which should help prioritize infrastructure projects to stop leaks and conserve water.Construction practices can affect water quality by allowing sediment and run-off to clog streams. HB 1266 and HB 1531 would reduce local control in ways that could increase sediment pollution. We do not support these bills

Protecting our natural resources

HB 1376: Indiana Outdoor Stewardship Act will help provide funding for land acquisition for outdoor uses.
Questions have been raised recently about how timber management of state forests is determined. SB 610 calls for a State Forest Commission and Management plan.

There are many good bills that may not get a hearing before the deadline in the 3rd week of February.

Supporting Redistricting Reform

Having a supermajority of one party decreases the vitality of our democracy; citizens can feelthat their vote isn’t important and one party can determine the direction of legislation withlittle input or restraint from another point of view. There are several bills addressing redistricting reform. Unfortunately, none of them have yet been heard. SB 91 calls for an independent redistricting concern and IFCL supports this.

Reducing barriers to solar energy

Coal burning endangers the health of Hoosiers by increasing rates of asthma, preterm births, cardiovascular disease and heavy metal contamination of our groundwater. Last year a bill was passed that discourages residents, companies and schools from installing solar collection systems and selling back kilowatts generated to the local utility. Support SB 430 which would eliminate this restriction. Additionally, HOAs can limit solar installation. HB 1331 removes unreasonable restrictions on homeowners who want to install solar collection systems on their property. SB 205 needs to be heard. It proposes that SPEA be commissioned to study environmental policies.

For more information on any of these issues, go the the Hoosier Environmental Council’s 2019Bill watch page. https://www.hecweb.org/billwatch2019/

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Redistricting Reform Legislative Update

Februrary 2, 2019

IFCL has been working with the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting at the Statehouse this January to pass redistricting reform. Senator John Ruckelshaus has introduced SB 91, which is the coalition’s bill to create a citizens redistricting commission for Indiana. So far, we have not gotten a commitment from the Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Senator Greg Walker, to hear this bill. With some encouragement from folks around the state, he is more likely to give our bill a hearing and vote. 

Please contact Senator Walker today by clicking on this link from Common Cause Indiana. https://actionnetwork.org/letters/senator-walker-give-us-a-hearing/?link_id=1&can_id=df9c01001f16dee04d57a3d43dd997ef&source=email-redistricting-reform-cant-wait&email_referrer=email_475631&email_subject=redistricting-reform-cant-wait.

In addition, the coalition recently released the following, a letter to Indiana legislative leaders to back SB 91 as well as another citizen redistricting commission bill, HB 1011.  

“(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- Ten public interest organizations — representing tens of thousands of Hoosiers — have issued a united call to the leaders of the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives to hear — and support — citizens redistricting commission reform bills this session.

SB 91, filed by Republican Senators Ruckelshaus (Indianapolis), Bohacek (Michiana Shores), and Ford (Terre Haute), as well as HB 1011, filed by Republican Representatives Torr (Carmel) and Clere (New Albany), would both bring about citizens redistricting commissions. Such a Commission, led by a politically balanced team of citizens, would be similar to Commissions in a growing number of states that aim to draw state legislative and Congressional maps that are colorblind to party affiliations, keep local government boundaries together, and stay in compliance with state and federal civil rights law.

More than 25 local governments in Indiana have adopted resolutions calling for a citizen-led redistricting commission for Indiana. “There is a groundswell out there for reform,” states Debbie Asberry of the League of Women Voters of Indiana. “Citizens know full well that very low levels of voter turnout and civic engagement are tied to the way that we draw districts in Indiana — where elections feel like foregone conclusions because they are drawn to favor one political party or another.”

“Legislative leaders have acted with foresight on some of the leading issues facing our state in the recent past,” notes Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Time is running out for our legislature to act on the leading issue of redistricting reform. If we fail to act in the 2019 session, we may have to wait another ten years before we have another shot at creating fairer maps for Indiana. Much is at stake for voter and civic involvement.”

“Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah are some of the states that recently enacted redistricting reforms. We have many models to follow – and states like Indiana can otherwise create our own path. But we must act. President Pro Tem Bray, Speaker Bosma, Leader Lanane, and Leader GiaQuinta, please do everything possible to see that reform bills are heard, receive votes, and become law,” intones Julia Vaughn of Common Cause Indiana.

Organizations who have signed on to the letter to legislative leaders include: League of Women Voters of Indiana, Common Cause Indiana, Women4Change Indiana Action Fund, Hoosier Environmental Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network, Earth Charter Indiana, Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation, and The Greater Indianapolis NAACP Branch 3053.”

Finally, next week will be an important one for the campaign to end gerrymandering in our state. Legislation to create a set of public interest standards for redistricting, SB 105, will get a hearing in the Senate Elections Committee on Monday, February 4. SB 105, sponsored by Senator Greg Walker, isn’t everything necessary for a fair and impartial redistricting process in Indiana, but it is an important piece of the puzzle. Coalition activists will be at the hearing to testify in support of this bill and to urge lawmakers to add amendments to make it stronger. We will also testify to the need to address not only HOW districts are drawn, but also WHO draws the maps — and will continue to call for the creation of a citizens redistricting commission with SB 91. If you’re not able to join us in person next week, you can watch the Senate Elections Committee hearing here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/meeting/watchlive/983fe2e2-7f7d-4669-ab80-36ddf4ca5bd5/?link_id=0&can_id=36ca9639678bd01d46e6e6b351e410bd&source=email-youre-invited-redistricting-reform-lobby-day-on-feb-4th&email_referrer=email_486080&email_subject=youre-invited-redistricting-reform-lobby-day-on-feb-4th

Time is running out for redistricting reform. Contact IFCL to learn how you can help build support for reform in your community.




Indianapolis Thrive Plan

this is the excerpt

Indianapolis is on the brink of an historic step and needs your help now to make it a reality. Incorporating input from nearly a year of public meetings, the City has drafted a sustainability and climate resilience plan! If there is a good show of support, the plan, which is called Thrive Indianapolis, will be finalized and move toward implementation.

The Hoosier Environmental Council has been helping to coordinate a coalition of public interest organizations to carefully review the City’s draft Thrive Plan. The Plan has many good steps forward in the realms of renewable energy, public transportation, recycling, and natural resources. That being said, the City’s Plan could aspire to more ambitious yet feasible goals, especially given the serious conclusions of state and federal climate change reports.

The coalition mentioned above developed the following 5 goals that would take the Thrive Plan to the next level:
Indianapolis, community wide, is 100% powered by renewable energy by 2030
There is environmental justice such that all parts of the City have clean air, water, soil, healthy food, and protection from flooding
All residents are within a 15-minute walk of public transit and of a public green space, park, or trail.
Community-wide solid waste generation is reduced 30% by 2030 and a plan is written by 2025 for achieving zero waste.
By 2030, companies and institutions in the City begin implementing their own sustainability plans.

Please take just 2 minutes to add your support for the plan and consider adding a request for one or more of the 5 goals above. The deadline for comments is December 26, 2018.

To add your support:

1.) Go to https://indy.civicomment.org
Then click “Log-in” in the upper right and either log in or create a log in

2.) Next click “Indianapolis Thrive Plan”
This will bring up a special website that shows the whole draft plan and accepts comments.
3.) Click anywhere in the plan to add a comment.
4.) Share this email with your Indianapolis friends and family!
Thank you for taking time to provide input under this very compressed timeline. We wish you a wonderful holiday season!




Arkansas Has Cut 12,000 People off Medicaid in Just Three Months of a Work Requirement!

IFCL is fortunate to have Fran Quigley, Director, Health & Human Rights Clinic, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, joining our lobbying effort in a volunteer capacity.

See his concern about the future of the Healthy Indiana Plan below.

————–

Dear Friends,

Below is a new report with a stark reminder of what is at stake if Governor Holcomb succeeds in imposing his planned red-tape work requirement on Hoosiers who rely on the Healthy Indiana Plan for their healthcare:

Arkansas has already cut 12,000 people off of healthcare in just the first three months of rolling out their work requirement.

We know well the consequence of Hoosiers losing access to care. Many of our neighbors will suffer, and some of them will die: http://www.pnhp.org/excessdeaths/health-insurance-and-mortality-in-US-adults.pdf

Thanks to all of you who have pushed out the petition online and in-person: the online version now has well over 700 signatures. But please:

Consider another year-end push on social media and in-person to share the petition. It is online at https://www.change.org/p/stop-hip-work-requirements-that-take-health-care-from-indiana-s-people

Make plans to join us in the Statehouse in January to deliver the petition and the signatures to the Governor. More details coming soon.

Thank you for all your work to protect Hoosiers’ access to lifesaving healthcare,

Fran

Fran Quigley
PFAM: People of Faith for Access to Medicines, www.pfamrx.org, (317) 750-4891
Also: Director, Health & Human Rights Clinic, Indiana University McKinney School of Law




News Article On Indiana Redistricting

IFCL works with the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting for this important reform. The coalition is holding a rally at 12:30pm on Tuesday, November 20 — Organization Day — on the Capitol Street side of the Statehouse. The purpose is to motivate legislators to take up redistricting reform in the coming session. Our elected officials continue to assure us that Hoosiers really don’t care about this issue. To the contrary, as this recent column from the South Bend Tribune illustrates, redistricting reform is gathering momentum all over the state. Come join your fellow Hoosiers at the rally next Tuesday.

https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/opinion/our_opinion/our-opinion-a-vote-for-redistricting-reform-in-indiana/article_c72b749f-ec65-5131-bdb6-898875c0052e.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share




Join Us For A Redistricting Rally

Looking for ways to engage and make a difference after the recent midterm elections? Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) is part of a coalition working for redistricting reform in Indiana, and you can participate. Join us for a rally organized by the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting to let legislators know that 2019 is the year for redistricting reform in Indiana. The rally will be on Tuesday, November 20 at 12:30pm on the Capitol Street side of the Statehouse. The father of gerrymandering, Elbridge Gerry, will make a special appearance, and there’ll be a brass jazz combo, all to send an upbeat message: Hoosiers want fair redistricting for the state legislature and congressional districts. In addition, you can sign a petition at www.allinfordemocracy.org encouraging Gov. Holcomb to put redistricting reform high on his legislative agenda next session. If you have any questions, please contact Phil Goodchild (goodch713@aol.com; 317-790-9054).




Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
1723 Ramsey Lane Plainfield, IN 46168

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