News

Indiana’s Redistricting Issue

Redistricting-Map

The Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation took the opportunity to talk about Indiana’s redistricting issue at the Friday evening outdoor fellowship festival at Western Yearly Meeting, July 28, 2017.
Large acrylic maps of the state showed the division of districts for the Indiana Senate and House, and a puzzle map had pieces in the shapes of the U.S. Congressional Districts.

Discussion with those who visited the display focused on the issue of redistricting and the need for more citizen engagement in state government.

Several people said they had concluded it didn’t matter whether they voted in their districts because the districts were heavily weighted for one party or the other. (As many as 44 of the 100 districts for state representatives go uncontested because of the unequal division of the parties in those districts.) Because that scenario discourages equal representation and little discussion during election years when there aren’t two candidates, IFCL hopes to encourage legislators to support independent redistricting reform. Citizens are encouraged to weigh in on this topic with their legislators.

It is easy to contact legislators on the Indiana General Assembly website:
iga.in.gov

Here is a recent article on gerrymandering: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/study-finds-indiana-legislative-districts-help-republicans-win-more-seats/article_fa7ccdb8-a911-596b-94f7-07d3b7ecbb59.html



IFCL Events at Western Yearly Meeting

Thursday, July 27

4:45-5:45 Interest Group
How can we bring people together?

Friday, July 28

4:45-5:45 Interest Group
“How to helpfully engage with your senators and representatives?”

7:00-9:00 p.m.
Friends Outdoor Festival of Fun & Fellowship

Saturday, July 29

1:30-3:15 p.m. Panel Presentation:
Drug Addiction and How the Church Can Help
Bill Chapman and State Representative Robert Behning R-Indianapolis

7:30-9:00 p.m. Concert by Tim Grimm



Tim Grimm FREE Concert

Saturday, July 29 from 7:30-9 pm

Join us for a FREE concert sponsored by Indiana Friends Commitee on Legislation at Western Yearly Meeting/Plainfield Friends Meeting 203 S East St, Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 839-2789

 

Tim Grimm is a bit of a Rennaisance man in the performing arts world. He has for the past 15 years, blended his love for songwriting, travel, and the storytelling of acting (theatre, film and television). His most recent recording, THE TURNING POINT, produced the #1 song on Folk radio in 2014– KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS. It was a particularly gratifying honor, given the song is a tribute to Tim’s friend and musical icon, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Tim’s history with Ramblin’ Jack goes back 30 years– beginning with a bicycle ride that led to The Newport Folk Festival…. Tim contributing liner notes to Jack’s Grammy winning album, The South Coast (1995)… Jack’s recording Buffalo Skinners with Tim on Tim’s album, Coyote’s Dream (2003)….and now, most recently KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS.



June 2017 Statehouse Article

Diana Hadley
IFCL Recording Clerk

In the last days of the 2017 Indiana legislative session, I met with multiple legislators who were in various stages of being for or against a bill for student journalists that my colleagues and I had been promoting for months. The parting advice from a legislator after one of these meetings was, “Remember to keep your hands inside the ride during the last week of the session.”

Frank LoMonte, Student Press Law Center, helps Diana Hadley, Indiana High School Press Association navigate House testimony.
Frank LoMonte, Student Press Law Center, helps Diana Hadley, Indiana High School Press Association navigate House testimony.

I appreciated both the humor and the sympathy that spoke to my disappointment that the bill was on life support and losing ground by the hour. I like the metaphor of an amusement park ride because the legislative process is a rollercoaster experience. The student journalist bill had a series of big successes during its journey through the House with a unanimous education committee endorsement before passing the full House 88-4. The ride was still enjoyable through the Senate until amendments stopped it cold without a vote causing us to spend the last two weeks negotiating without success.

This was not my first attempt working for legislation, but it was the most time I had dedicated to such an effort, and I had forgotten how frustrating and intimidating the statehouse can be.

Fortunately, Dr. Bill Chapman, lobbyist for Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation, had already met with most of the legislators I needed to contact, so he provided valuable connections and insights that helped my group communicate our bill’s intent. It was especially nice that legislators liked Bill and were open to discussing issues he endorsed.

Dr. Bill Chapman, IFCL lobbyist; Steve Key, Hoosier State Press Association; and Rep. Ed Clere, R—New Albany; meet to discuss HB1130.
Dr. Bill Chapman, IFCL lobbyist; Steve Key, Hoosier State Press Association; and Rep. Ed Clere, R—New Albany; meet to discuss HB1130.

It is important to note that I was busy with just one piece of legislation and that Bill literally had reviewed the 1200+ bills proposed to help IFCL determine those that Quakers should support. It’s a daunting challenge for anyone, but in his first year as lobbyist he provided testimony and counsel for many topics and had legislators express their appreciation for a Quaker faith-based perspective.

That said, more support would be helpful. Not everyone has the opportunity or expertise to be at the Statehouse working on legislation every day, but we can all find ways to support Quaker concerns through interaction with the IFCL communication platforms, legislators, funding and events. Check out the numerous opportunities to attend IFCL sessions at Western Yearly Meeting July 27-30 and find your own way to work with IFCL as we try to make a positive difference for Indiana.



Legislator Of The Year

Clark Hadley, Diana Hadley, Scott Pelath, Bill Chapman
IFCL members Clark and Diana Hadley and IFCL lobbyist Bill Chapman (right) present Representative Scott Pelath (D) District 9 with the 2017 IFCL Legislator of the Year award.
Bill Chapman, Jim Merritt, Diana Hadley, Clark Hadley
Bill Chapman, IFCL lobbyist presents Jim Merritt, Jr. R-District 31, with the 2017 IFCL legislator of the year award. IFCL members Diana and Clark Hadley joined Chapman for the presentation.

Dr. Bill Chapman, IFCL lobbyist, said, “Sen. Jim Merritt, by offering a comprehensive package of bills focused not just on the illness of addiction, but also, the root causes, performed a tremendous service to our state. His advocacy made the illness of addiction a central part of the legislative agenda in both chambers this past session.”

With respect to Leader Pelath, Dr. Chapman said, “House Minority Leader Scott Pelath focused his caucus’ priorities on issues that spoke to the needs of economically challenged Hoosiers in both rural and urban communities. His leadership leant voice to the issues that are at the core of the work we do at IFCL. Both of these lawmakers were clear choices deserving of special recognition by our organization.”
At the legislature, as in other projects, IFCL aspires to be led by the spirit of God as mediated by the traditional testimonies of Friends: peace, simplicity, equality, integrity, stewardship and earth care.



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

© IFCL 2017