The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) will hold its last scheduled hearing on Thursday, April 22 at 7:30pm. A link to register for this virtual event is here. Webinar Registration – Zoom
This will be a chance for people across the state (not just in their own Congressional District) to learn the Commission’s conclusions from what they heard from citizens about redistricting at the nine Congressional District hearings to date.
The ICRC will be reporting on their findings to the Indiana legislature ahead of redistricting this fall, so this hearing is both a finale and a preview. Plus, attendees will be able to speak up with any comments or questions they might have. A great opportunity for those who attended one of the previous hearings, and for those who missed out the first time.
Please feel welcome to attend, whether you know anything about legislative redistricting or not. Contact Phil Goodchild (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-790-9054) with questions. Thanks.
Redistricting Commission Hearing Finale April 22 was last modified: April 14th, 2021 by Diana Hadley
Sometimes it’s important to explore the possibilities as we lobby. As I was contemplating the best way to communicate to my State Senator about an education bill, it occurred to me that even though I am a retired career educator with information to share, perhaps someone else could be more persuasive. I called our local school superintendent and suggested that an appeal from all of the superintendents in our county might be a persuasive way to proceed.
He agreed to contact them and collaborate with a message.
The result was far better than anything I could have proposed by myself. It’s a lesson for all of us to remember we don’t have to do everything, we just have to find the best people and ways to communicate about specific issues. Thanks to Randy Taylor, Mooresville Consolidate School Corporation Superintendent and Susan Haynes, Director of Communicaitons, for the effort they put toward the great letter below.
Dear Senator Bray, In support of the 94% of Indiana students who attend public schools, including the Morgan County students who are proud Bulldogs, Artesians, Eels, and Pioneers, we strongly oppose House Bill 1005, Senate Bill 412 and Senate Bill 413. Hoosiers all lose when children are not well educated and public tax dollars are not accounted for responsibly. Rod, you may not be aware that in your home county, hundreds of families already exercise CHOICE for schools, and they are choosing the public schools. More than 1,000 students who attend Mooresville, Martinsville, Monrovia, and Eminence schools do so from a different school district of residence. These schools are fully accredited and accountable, and Morgan County families know our public schools are the place for a high quality education. In Indiana communities, public schools have been and will continue to be the hub for vital services supporting the well-being of the whole child. Passing HB 1005, SB 412 or SB 413 would divert significant monies away from public schools, enhance the opportunity for a lack of oversight related to the intended educational purpose of such funds, further exacerbate insufficiencies tied to Indiana’s teacher compensation, and increase the risk to student growth, proficiency, and well-being. In Morgan County as well as countless counties across Indiana, the public schools are the largest employers in the county (Mooresville and Martinsville schools are the second and third largest employers for Morgan
County, while Monrovia and Eminence schools are the largest employers in their communities). Siphoning money away from the public schools will drain funds from these communities with lesser funding for employment, for the upkeep of infrastructure, and more. Indiana’s most vulnerable youth and families deserve a per-pupil funding level that promotes adequate and equitable funding. Unfortunately, the language of HB 1005 gives advantages to families with high incomes and adds disadvantages for our most vulnerable by shifting risks. HB 1005, if passed, will defeat the spirit of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and run counter to the initial rhetoric behind Indiana’s school choice. Even with the amendment, HB 1005 would result in 94% of Indiana’s students receiving less than the tuition support increase of $377 million over two years that Gov. Holcomb proposed. Teacher compensation, support staff pay, COVID-19 academic and operational-related costs, student support service demands, constantly changing graduation and accountability requirements, and K-12 workforce development efforts certainly deserve the funding necessary to serve Hoosier students. With the proposed legislation, private and voucher programs will receive about 38% of taxpayer funds for education while public schools receive 62%. With public schools educating 94% of students, these bills would effectively give private and charter schools $9.50 for each of their HAND-PICKED students while public schools receive a meager 65 CENTS per student. Why should Austin and Ethan Bray’s schools receive less per pupil funding than private schools down the street? Why should their districts and teachers struggle to provide a more accountable education than charter schools, with a fraction of the funding? We firmly oppose HB 1005, SB 412 and SB 413. We firmly support the adequate and equitable funding of our Indiana’s public schools representing 94% of Hoosier students and families. Respectfully, Randy L. Taylor Superintendent Mooresville Schools Dr. Jay Arthur Superintendent MSD of Martinsville Dr. Kirk Freeman Superintendent Monroe-Gregg Schools Laura Penman Superintendent Eminence Community Schools
Reaching out to others as we lobby was last modified: March 5th, 2021 by Diana Hadley
Coming Soon to Your Couch: Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission Public Meetings
We hear people say all the time, “I’m not interested in politics.” To which it can be replied, “Well, that’s really too bad, because politics are interested in you!”
In Indiana, we have a system in which elected politicians draw the legislative district maps used for state and congressional elections. Every ten years, they get together and literally place you into the groupings–districts–where they figure they are most likely to win based on voters’ Census data and voting records. By drawing made-to-order maps, your representatives are choosing you long before election day, when you are supposed to be choosing them. In this way the process called redistricting is the ultimate conflict of interest. If you sometimes doubt that your vote makes any difference, or wonder why in some elections you don’t even have a choice of candidates to vote for, our redistricting system is a big reason why.
This year is a redistricting year. It happens only once a decade. Would you like a voice in the process this time? The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) has been formed to demonstrate that redistricting done in a transparent way that encourages public participation will result in congressional and state legislative districts that are better for voters than districts drawn by incumbent representatives behind closed doors.
The ICRC is holding virtual public meetings to hear from Hoosier voters what they want in their new districts. Should districts emphasize compactness? What about competition–should maps be drawn to maximize competitive elections? Should current politicians have districts drawn around their residences, or should they be drawn “incumbent blind”? Also, what are the important communities of interest in Indiana, and should they be kept intact, or divided, in the new districts?
You are invited to this conversation. What do you think should drive redistricting where you live? There will be an ICRC public meeting for each congressional district. It is important that the ICRC hear from a broad range of Hoosiers, because the testimony from these meetings will be consolidated into a report the ICRC will give to state legislators before they begin redistricting this spring, so they will know what voters say they want their maps to look like.
Redistricting will impact federal and state elections for the next decade. It really matters that Hoosiers from all over the state are a part of this conversation. Including you.
Here is the schedule for the public meetings. Again, all virtual—you can participate from your own couch! Register in advance, either at www.allinfordemocracy.org, or by using the link following the meeting for your congressional district listed below. And feel free to share this; the invitation is open to all. Note that the meeting for the district including Indianapolis (district 7) is first, and the meeting for many Indy suburbs (district 5) is second.
Now is the time to make your voice heard! Please contact Phil Goodchild with any questions (email@example.com; 317-790-9054). Thank you.
February 24 – Congressional District 7, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST
.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.
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.
Immediate action information for wetlands legislation (and sample letter) was last modified: January 30th, 2021 by Diana Hadley
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.
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.
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
Since 1972, IFCL has worked to translate our Christian values into legislative action, and to help shape responsible decisions by our state government. What inspires us as people of faith about the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission is that second word: citizens.
The ICRC will be a citizens’ commission, not a politicians’ commission. The ICRC process will be guided by citizens, not controlled by special interests. The goal of the process will be to encourage representation that looks more like the citizens of Indiana as a whole. Also, to limit the advantage that any one political party might hold over the redistricting process.
We, as Quakers, emphasize that each individual has worth, dignity, freedom, and responsibility before God. We are convinced by our faith and experience to look for that of God in every person. In terms of good government, that translates into our belief in a democracy where eachcitizen’s voice deserves to be heard, and where each citizen’s vote deserves to count equally. With a more transparent redistricting process, in which all citizens can participate, we can be more confident that our elections will produce representatives who truly represent each of us and our communities.
The other thing that excites us about the ICRC process is rooted in our efforts to promote the politics of conciliation. Now we all know that Hoosiers don’t all share the same opinions. But that does not make us each other’s enemies. We all know that Hoosiers love a good competition, but that depends on fairness. And Hoosiers are fundamentally fair people. They favor a fair contest of ideas, in which all opinions receive a hearing. Gerrymandered districts discourage fair electoral contests. So the ICRC process will rely on citizen involvement as the fairest way to draw new maps and to elect candidates like all of us. Citizens will have direct input on the redistricting criteria—the rules for ensuring fair map-drawing. And using those rules, citizens will be able to participate in a map-drawing competition, open to all, to be judged by the commission.
This will be an opportunity for people from everywhere in our state to take part. If government is the expression of our will as a people, this process will be a very hands-on way for Hoosiers to make their will known. And the legislative district maps it produces would lead to more competitive elections, in which candidates would have to listen to all voices, balance all interests, and if elected be more likely to act for the good of all constituents.
So we will be encouraging our members, and people of every faith, to take part in the ICRC project. With citizens involved at each point in the process, it will lead to redistricting reform by providing a better example to the Indiana General Assembly.
More information from coalition member Common Cause Deadline for application: Jan. 4, 2021 Julia Vaughn It’s clear that if we want a better way to draw maps in 2021, we have to do it ourselves. Link Below (in blue): Note Jan. 4, 2021 Deadline And, you can be part of the solution by signing up for our Citizens Redistricting Commission today! I’LL SIGN UP! Common Cause Indiana, through our leadership role in the All IN for Democracy coalition, is organizing the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), a diverse and representative group of nine Hoosiers who will lead a public discussion about what criteria should direct redistricting in Indiana and identify important communities of interest throughout the state. This information will be compiled and delivered to legislators with the request that they follow its recommendations as they embark on their map-drawing efforts. ICRC members will also serve as judges for our public mapping competition which will invite Hoosiers to get directly involved in redistricting by drawing Congressional and state legislative maps themselves using open source software and public data. I’ve been with Common Cause Indiana a long time and I know our members. Many of you would be great candidates for a seat on the ICRC because you understand that the future of democracy requires politically engaged people putting aside partisanship for the public interest. Link Below (in blue) It’s a big commitment but I hope you will consider throwing your hat in the ring. To read the eligibility requirements and to access the application, visit our website to get started! Thanks for all you do,. Julia Vaughn, Policy Director and the team at Common Cause Indiana
Common Cause Indiana P.O Box 1603 Indianapolis, IN 46206 317.296.4607
State Representative Robin Shackleford attended the November 21 IFCL Zoom meeting to receive the 2020 IFCL Legislator of the Year recognition and discuss possible issues for the 2021 Indiana General Assembly.
In presenting the award, Diana Hadley mentioned Rep. Shackleford’s ability to listen to all of sides of an issue during Statehouse hearings and her actions that help all Hoosiers—even those who may not be able to speak for themselves.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting were police reform and redistricting reform.
Representative Robin Shackleford is IFCL Legislator of the Year was last modified: December 3rd, 2020 by Diana Hadley
Both of Indiana’s U.S. Senators, Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh, attended a 1963 event in Stilesville, Indiana, a town of approximately 300 residents located on Highway 40.
Imagine the kind of small town event that could have featured such important guests.
Answer: the dedication of a new post office.
Founded in 1830, Stilesville had a postmaster who provided mail delivery to the town and the farm community that surrounded it as early as 1832, but it wasn’t until 1963 that the postal service moved from the east end of Hampton’s Texaco station into a new brick facility of its own.
I was an eighth grade student who had a speaking part for the dedication of the new post office, so I have a picture with the senators. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, as I look back I know that meeting them instilled in me the notion that they had important jobs, but they were real people like my family and friends in Stilesville. That belief has kept me contacting my elected officials about important issues for the rest of my life.
I did so last week with the connection of the post office situation now to that post office dedication in 1963.
Looking through old clippings from the dedication I saw that the senators felt that the post office was an important government service that benefitted all citizens.
The Danville Republican quoted Senator Hartke saying, “This post office serves just as vital a link for the people of this community as any 100 times the size.”
Harke added, “No matter what you do in this Stilesville community no part of the federal government comes as close to you as does this post office and its employees. This is why we in Washington take so much interest in the kind of service you get from your post office. This is why there is constant effort to improve service, keep up morale of employees, add new buildings and machinery.”
That determination to serve all people efficiently in 1963 is the bedrock of today’s 91% approval rating of the USPS, higher than any other federal agency.
Many have listed the ways people depend on the postal service for medicines, pension checks, and other important personal communication in addition to employment for 97,000 veterans and 7.3 million people overall.
And yet this important, affordable, dependable service has been challenged by the demand to prefund retirement benefits unlike any other agency and then criticized as a failing business. Rather than attempts to hamper its efficiency and then criticizing its business success, it is time to support the USPS as the citizen service the founding fathers intended and that it has continued to be.
I hope others will tell their personal post office connections to help persuade our senators and the Trump administration to support one of our country’s oldest, necessary and most respected institutions.
United States Postal Service needs citizen support to continue important service was last modified: September 14th, 2020 by Diana Hadley
Phil Goodchild safely presents Julia Vaughn the IFCL award for 2020 Lobbyist of the Year.
August 1, 2020
For some time now, at the end of each session of the Indiana General Assembly IFCL has recognized two legislators of the year. In keeping with our non-partisan approach to our work, we generally recognize a legislator from each party, as a reminder to the world and ourselves that no single party has a monopoly on truth or virtue.
In addition, we’ve recently decided to recognize a Lobbyist of the Year. Call it equal time for lobbyists. We are delighted to recognize, as our inaugural recipient of this award, Julia Vaughn for her work as Policy Director for Common Cause Indiana.
Our criteria for selection, while they may seem subjective to some, are grounded in our Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. Since the mission of IFCL is to relate these Quaker testimonies to help shape responsible decisions by our state government, we believe it is fitting to acknowledge lobbyists (as well as legislators) whose work exemplifies these testimonies.
And Julia’s career at Common Cause fits these testimonies to a “T.”
Quakers value simplicity, and if you know Julia, she is nothing if not direct in her speech. If you want the unvarnished truth, she is your person. When it comes to speaking directly and plainly, she could be a Quaker.
Quakers prize integrity. You don’t last as long and still have as many trusting colleagues and respectful adversaries as Julia has without a core of honesty.
Quakers seek community with others. Julia’s relentless efforts for redistricting reform in the coalition she co-founded, All IN for Democracy, is a model of cooperative effort. And her negotiation in earnest with legislators from both political parties is recognition that good government requires working with the entire community, not just those we choose.
Quakers yearn for wider acknowledgement of the God-given equality of all people. The portion of Julia’s career I have witnessed has been a pursuit of equal access to our electoral process for all Hoosiers, regardless of their social or economic station, their party affiliation, or their race, gender or religious beliefs.
The Quaker calling to stewardship is usually understood in the context of earthcare. In the context I’ve seen Julia work, she is a caretaker of democracy. Literally for decades, she has been a steward of government that works better for more people.
Peace—this is the one Quaker testimony I had to pause over in Julia’s case. This lady does not shrink from a good fight. But the Quaker peace testimony should never be equated with negativity or neutrality. Instead, it is a responsibility (in the words of Elton Trueblood) to engage in imaginative acts of peace-making. In this spirit, Julia and Common Cause lean forward in their advocacy. Always positive, whether on defense, filing suit to protect the weakest members of society, or on offense, organizing public support or negotiating for improved language in a new bill. Always striving to respond–to an injustice, or a flawed policy, or a bad bill–with something fuller, fairer, better.
We at IFCL are privileged to partner with Julia on issues of the utmost importance to our state and nation. Redistricting reform. Ballot access. Improved voter turnout. Election protection. We are very pleased to recognize her good work with this award, and we look forward to making common cause with her in the future. Julia, thank you.
2020 IFCL Lobbyist of the Year: Julia Vaughn, Policy Director, Common Cause Indiana was last modified: August 3rd, 2020 by Diana Hadley
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
1723 Ramsey Lane Plainfield, IN 46168