Month: January 2021

Immediate action information for wetlands legislation (and sample letter)

.January 2021 Legislative UpdateThe full Senate will vote on SB 389 on Monday, February 1, 2021
This is an isolated wetland in Indianapolis. At about 1.5 acres, it can hold more than 2 million gallons of stormwater. It’s also home to many species of flora and fauna dwindling in number due to the kind of habitat loss that will be allowed under SB 389.URGENT ACTION NEEDED!  Hello Water Allies.
The anti-wetlands Senate Bill 389 passed out of committee on Monday after significant misinformation was presented and limited opposition testimony allowed. Today, the full senate voted 19 to 29 to NOT engage a legislative summer study committee to investigate the issues and impacts.
 
This is the most dangerous piece of environmental deregulation we have seen in decades – it completely removes protection from isolated wetlands: an estimated 80 to 90% of Indiana’s remaining wetlands totaling 700,000+ acres. These impacts cannot easily be undone and will have far reaching consequences to water quality, flood control, and habitat. Please use your voice and contact your legislators, particularly senators, BEFORE MONDAY.
 
We are working with several partners to develop an FAQ document regarding many facets of this conversation, including the scientific and regulatory facts. However, time is of the essence. PLEASE pick up the phone, email, share, etc. This includes talking to ALL senators, including Democrats! The full Senate vote on this bill is Monday.
 
Find your senator here.
 
Find a full list of senators, including those who are authors or co-authors of the bill here. You will find our full statement on that page as well.
 
If you want to email multiple senators, we suggest clustering these emails in small groups to avoid spam filters.

You can read the full bill here.
 
Isolated wetlands are NOT simple wet spots in a farm field. Whether wetlands are connected by surface water or not, their unique habitat value and connection to groundwater provide many critical functions in our water cycle.
 
Thank you for your continued concern for our water resources!

Sample Letter regarding SB 389

Dear Senator __________________:

I am writing about an issue of great concern to me, SB 389.  This bill proposes the repeal of protection of the state-regulated wetlands law, IC 13-18-22, and of any administrative rule concerning that law.  SB 389 proposes to repeal the authority of IDEM to regulate activities in isolated wetlands.  IDEM testified in committee that 80% to 90% of Indiana’s remaining wetlands will lose protection if this bill passes.

Wetlands are an integral part of the hydrologic cycle.  Even isolated wetlands like those affected by SB 389 protect water quality, provide habitat for a diverse ecological system, and help manage stormwater. According to the EPA, one acre of wetland can absorb 1 to 1.5 million gallons of water. Wetlands provide flood and erosion control, recharge aquifers, provide spawning and nursery grounds for fish, and bring revenue into the state from waterfowl hunters and bird watchers.  In Indiana, eleven species of waterfowl use wetlands for nesting and 28 species utilize wetlands for their migration habitat.

Indiana cannot afford to lose more wetlands.  The passage of SB 389 will cause irreparable damage to Indiana’s environment. It provides no mitigation measures for the destruction of wetlands.  

I ask you to vote against the passage of SB 389, or at least, send it to a study committee.

Loss of time in the passage of this bill is negligible when weighed against the permanent loss of a valuable asset to the environmental and economic health of our state.




Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission named

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 28, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Julia Vaughn, Common Cause Indiana, (317) 432-3264 or jvaughn@commoncause.org

Diverse and Multi-partisan Group of Hoosiers Selected to Lead Citizens Redistricting Commission

Today the All IN for Democracy coalition announced it has selected a diverse and multi-partisan group of Hoosiers to serve on the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), a shadow commission that will demonstrate how redistricting should be conducted in Indiana. The ICRC will host a series of virtual meetings in February and early March and invite people around the state to join a discussion about what non-partisan criteria should drive the redistricting process in Indiana and to identify important community of interests in their region. Testimony from these meetings will be compiled and delivered to the Indiana General Assembly before they begin their map-drawing with a request that legislators follow the public’s instructions to draw fair maps, not ones that benefit one political party over the other.

Julia Vaughn, Policy Director for Common Cause Indiana and a coalition leader said, “Almost three hundred Hoosiers applied for a seat on the ICRC so it wasn’t easy narrowing the group down to nine. The individuals we chose bring different skill sets to the table but all are leaders in their communities and committed to a redistricting process that is transparent, open to public participation and results in districts that prioritize the interests of voters, not politicians. We are excited to get this process started and will announce the dates and times for our virtual public hearings early next month. I encourage everyone who wants redistricting that will allow voters to choose their politicians, instead of allowing politicians to choose their voters by manipulating district lines, to participate in these public discussions, and the public mapping project that will follow later this spring.”

The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission is comprised of nine Indiana voters:  Three Republicans, three Democrats and three people who are neither Republican nor Democrat. 

Republican members:

  • Clara Glaspie of Indianapolis: Ms. Glaspie is a longtime Republican activist who was the first Black woman to participate in the Richard G. Lugar Excellence for Women Leadership series
  • Leigh Morris of LaPorte: Mr. Morris is the former Mayor of LaPorte and retired as the CEO of the community hospital there.
  • Marilyn Moran-Townsend of Fort Wayne: Ms. Moran-Townsend is the CEO of CVC Communication and a co-founder of AVOW, Advancing Voices of Women, a group to support and empower women as civic leaders.

Democrat members: 

  • Missie Summers-Kempf of Portage: Ms. Summers-Kempf is active in a number of groups organized around racial justice and environmental issues in Northwest Indiana. 
  • Xavier Ramirez of Carmel: Mr. Ramirez is a student at Indiana University who works with the Civic Leader Learning Center as a student advisory board member. 
  • Ranjan Rohatgi of South Bend: Mr Rohatgi is Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Compuer Science at Saint Mary’s College where he developed a class called “Mathematics of Voting.”

Neither Republican nor Democrat members:

  • Christopher Brandon Harris of Hammond: Mr. Harris is a project manager for a commercial construction general contractor and participates in the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation. 
  • Sonia Leerkamp of Ninevah: Ms. Leerkamp is the former Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney who serves on the board of the Brown County League of Women Voters.
  • Charles Taylor of Muncie: Mr. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science at Ball State University who has moderated numerous political forums and is committed to civic education

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If you have any questions about this listserve/Google group please contact Lindsay at lshipps@citact.org
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Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
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