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 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-790-9054) or Ed Morris (email@example.com; 317-691-5542) with any questions. Thank you for your support.
Redistricting Bill Advances was last modified: February 28th, 2019 by Diana Hadley
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/
Several bills hope to protect environment was last modified: February 11th, 2019 by Diana Hadley
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.
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.
Redistricting Reform Legislative Update was last modified: February 2nd, 2019 by Diana Hadley
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
1723 Ramsey Lane Plainfield, IN 46168