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 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 317-790-9054).
August 16, 2018
As IFCL looks toward the 2019 legislative session, we face several changes and challenges.
Bill Chapman, IFCL clerk since 2015 and lobbyist for the 2017 and 2018 sessions, has decided it is time for him to leave IFCL.
Bill has been a positive and persuasive voice for faith-based groups in general and IFCL specifically as he has worked with legislators in a bipartisan spirit to address issues that Quakers support.
In addition to our IFCL group, lawmakers and other lobbyists have appreciated Bill’s passionate effort to promote legislation that benefits all Hoosiers. We thank him for this incredible contribution.
At the August IFCL meeting, members approved Diana Hadley (Plainfield Friends Meeting) as clerk and Phil Goodchild (First Friends Indianapolis Meeting) as recording clerk for the next two-year period.
The coming legislative session is a revenue session. Myriad draft bills will be offered and debated at the Statehouse, representing great opportunity for input on issues of concern to Quakers and other people of faith. Now more than ever, IFCL needs the involvement of spirit-led people in its efforts to help shape responsible decisions by our state government. We invite your participation, at whatever level you feel called.
As IFCL identifies and researches issues of particular focus for the 2019 session, note meeting dates below.
Future meetings at First Friends Indianapolis:
Sept 15: Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
Oct. 6: Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
Nov. 3: Policy Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
Quaker Connections and Fundraising Meeting, 10:00 a.m.
Dec. 1: Full IFCL Committee Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
For Immediate Release
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation is excited to sponsor a free concert Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 P.M., the final evening of the 2018 Western Yearly Meeting sessions.
This is the second year that IFCL will sponsor such an event for Western Yearly Meeting.
This time singer/songwriter Krista Detor will share her musical gifts.
Detor has conducted songwriting seminars, performances and presentations at universities, outreach organizations and arts centers throughout the world, including Ireland’s prestigious IMRO performing rights organization. In February, 2015, she was Artist-in-Residence at the renowned Hedgebrook foundation. In addition, Detor began a series of intergenerational songwriting workshops and performances in 2013, ‘Time Travels,’ pairing seniors with younger participants, resulting in collaborative performance projects in conjunction with Bloomington, Indiana’s Creative Aging Festival.
Krista conducted the first of her signature cross-cultural collaborations, along with Dr. Rod C. Taylor, in Northern Ireland, May, 2017 – taking 14 songwriters on an immersive, 10-day songwriting retreat. In 2018, she & Dr. Taylor will return to Ireland with a group of songwriters, in addition to hosting six Northern Irish writers for a similar experience in the U.S. in the fall. She continues to tour the U.S., U.K., and Europe. She’s shared stages with Victor Wooten, Chuck Rainey, Joan Armatrading, Loudon Wainwright, The Neville Bros. and Suzanne Vega, among many others.
Krista lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and can be found on all social networking sites and at KristaDetor.com.
Friends and friends of Friends are welcome to enjoy Krista’s evening of musical fellowship in the Western Yearly Meetinghouse at 301 South East Street, Plainfield, IN 46168.
Although IFCL may be best known for its work with Indiana’s state legislation, the group supports all Quaker concerns including those that are most likely resolved through federal avenues.
Immigration reform has been such a topic. IFCL began conversations with Indiana’s U.S. senators and representatives two years ago regarding immigration reform at a time when all were receptive to the need for action.
As these conversations continue and relationships form across the aisles, IFCL often is contacted by state legislators who have related issues.
Such an opportunity to be involved occurred late in Indiana’s 2018 session when a legislator realized forms for professional and occupational licenses included an area about U.S. Citizenship that was troublesome. There wasn’t time to create a new specific bill, but the representative felt some urgency to correct the situation and contacted IFCL lobbyist Bill Chapman for assistance. Through information he had gathered working on 54 other bills, Bill helped find a path toward a resolution that ended positively in SB 419, a bill that not only passed, but received nearly universal support in both House and Senate and was signed by Governor Holcomb.
In short, Quaker issues are universal human issues, and IFCL is willing to work to improve the human condition and alleviate suffering at state and national levels. Anyone who has concerns that IFCL could address should feel welcome to share them with the contacts on this website.
When I was in my early 20s, I visited Germany for the first time and was amazed to discover warmth and hospitality in all of the Germans I met. Why was I amazed? I asked myself what fostered this previously unrealized negativity.
I concluded that growing up in the 1950s provided me with both educators and acquaintances who shared experiences as veterans and civilian survivors of a terrible war against Germany. Apparently, I had absorbed the information and created stereotypes without question.
As an adult I wondered how these wonderful people I was meeting could be associated with a country that first discriminated against part of its own population and eventually murdered over 6 million of them including children. Wouldn’t anyone step up to save another human being? Wouldn’t people unite to stop such inhumane acts?
At some point in my education I already had realized that as much as I loved my country, the United States was not innocent. A closer look at history outside of my homogeneous rural community revealed a country that embraced slavery and either performed or ignored inhumane actions against indigenous people, immigrants, and the poor during numerous periods of time.
Certainly, some people will step up to protect others in most conflicts. There are many stories about those who saved as many people as they could in Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, Syria—the list goes on.
I remember a shift in the wind in my early life when television news showed dogs snarling at young black children and fire hoses knocking them down. Eventually, a large diversified movement fought against that immoral time period.
Unfortunately, we, like many countries, fall back into inhumane actions—not over night but step-by-step—accepting small slips until we have devolved into something shameful.
So where are we now? In a country that boasts of honor and decency, people trying to gain entry into the United States for legal asylum from terror in other countries are separated from their families and detained in facilities that are questionable at best and inhumane by some accounts.
Will some become the minority of people who do the best they can to help those in need or will all of us apply pressure on our elected officials to work toward a bipartisan effort to correct this bad situation before it becomes something even worse.
I have a three-year-old grandson. All I have to do is imagine him being torn from his parents’ arms and sent to a separate detention center to understand what that would be like for any human being.
I have called elected officials and written some appeals for others to do the same. This is one of them. We must unite in this effort. Let’s step up and be the country described in Emma Lazarus’ sonnet posted on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Find your U.S. Congress senators and representative in Indiana.
Indiana Community Action Association
1845 W. 18th St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Tues., April 3 6:30-8:00 PM
Join the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network, an initiative of Prosperity Indiana and the Indiana Institute for Working Families, for a screening of The Ordinance, a documentary that examines the payday and auto title loan industry while also following a small Texas town fighting for change.
After the screening, members of a coalition of consumer advocates will lead a discussion about the film and answer attendees’ questions about the payday industry in Indiana. Coalition members include Erin Macey, Indiana Institute for Working Families; Glen Tebbe, Indiana Catholic Conference; Bill Chapman, Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation; and Marie Morse, HomesteadCS.
A New Voices bill that supports student journalists is back on the agenda for the 2018 Indiana General Assembly.
People ask me why I’m still working on this bill after my recent retirement from the Indiana High School Press Association. Although this effort isn’t about me, my 46-year career as a journalism educator explains my passion for the bill.
I was seeking my first teaching job in 1971 when I was offered a position teaching English at Mooresville High School. In addition to sophomore English classes, it included a journalism class and serving as adviser for the biweekly high school newspaper. Although I had a communication minor that included journalism, I had little experience actually working with a newspaper staff.
Despite my lack of experience, the principal told me not to worry with the comment, “The kids do all the work.”
It didn’t take long to realize there was a considerable amount of work for everyone to publish a student newspaper every two weeks, and I found that the stress of being a first year teacher had an uptick for me every two weeks.
At the end of the year when I was offered a new contract, my husband asked if I could get rid of the newspaper. With as much surprise to me as to him I said, “No. That’s the best part of my job.”
What I realized in less than nine months was that the writing of my journalism students had improved more than the writing of my English students because the student journalists also learned a variety of editing, interviewing, research, problem-solving, conflict resolution and time management skills as they practiced the First Amendment first-hand.
Consequently, for the next 33 years at MHS, I continued to advise the newspaper staff in addition to the yearbook staff for 23 years and a broadcast team for ten.
In each of these areas, my students were allowed the freedom to report about important stories because administrators supported that effort. In addition to coverage of academics and student activities, student journalists analyzed a variety of teenage concerns as they covered stories about school policies, political issues, binge drinking, drugs, depression, stress, health, suicide, loss of loved ones and STDs.
Even when coverage might generate controversial responses, administrators were good sources for information that could find an appropriate angle for the topics.
Today, administrators at many schools in Indiana support journalism students in the same way, but the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision of 1988 provided language that gave administrators the power to control the coverage, and for almost 30 years some have used that decision to censor anything that might cause their phone to ring with a negative response.
That censorship has led many states to pass New Voices legislation that gives every student journalist, not just those whose administrators are willing to work with them in a positive way, the opportunity to do meaningful coverage that provides information that can inform and improve their school community.
It is important to emphasize that HB1016 does not promote irresponsible practices.
- It fosters respect and responsibility—cornerstones of the society that our students will soon lead.
- It affirms the fact that students guided by certified advisers can be the most trusted and relevant source of information to educate their peers and discourage risky behaviors. (My experience is that student reporting can literally save lives.)
- It encourages a patriotic approach for civic duty. Journalism has been fundamental to democracy since the founding of our Republic. Studies show that student journalists become engaged citizens.
As the 2018 legislative session evolves, advocates for HB 1016 will be telling some of the real stories that celebrate student journalism with the hope that new legislation will encourage all administrators to work with student journalists as they explore topics that challenge them and improve their schools as they learn to respect the power and responsibility of the First Amendment.
My journalism colleagues and I appreciate all the effort IFCL lobbyist Bill Chapman has provided to make connections with legislators and promote this valuable bill for a second year.
Citizens who value scholastic journalism specifically and the First Amendment in general are encouraged to contact their state legislators by phone or email to share support of HB 1016.
“Hate crimes are different from other crimes. They strike at the heart of one’s identity- they strike at our sense of self, our sense of belonging. The end result is loss- loss of trust, loss of dignity, and in the worst case, loss of life.-
-Former FBI Director James Comey
When a person targets a victim on the basis of particular characteristics, but not limited to, one’s religious faith, race, nation of origin or sexual orientation, they harm both the victim and the wider community. This type of hate is at odds with the values of our state, nation and global community. As Indiana has come under national scrutiny as one of only five states (AK, GA SC and WY) without a Hate Crimes Law we believe there are clear indications that the Indiana General Assembly is finally ready to take legislative action.
Why do we need a Hate Crimes Law? Simply put, hate crimes happen. According to the FBI, from 2008- 2015 more than 400 hate crimes were reported. This figure is likely to be much higher as several cities, including Indianapolis, failed to report for multiple years. From these figures we note that the two most commonly reported motivators were race and religion. It is also important to remember that the federal government has a very limited capacity to prosecute hate crimes. In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Mitchell v. Wisconsin that hate crimes statutes were constitutional and in no way limited free speech or religious expression.
But under current Indiana law, can’t a judge take motives such as “hate” into consideration during the sentencing phase of a prosecution? Yes, but without a clear reference to motivation in statute this leaves the sentence open to appeal. While Indiana already has eleven specific aggravating circumstances, none address bias motivators. As the General Assembly has failed to enact hate crimes legislation in previous sessions, judges cannot help but interpret this inaction as an indication that bias should not be taken into account when considering sentencing.
What is the outlook from a legislative perspective in 2018? In short- promising. For the first time- Republican and Democrat Leadership in both chambers have voiced support for passing a hate crimes bill. IFCL has spent much of the summer in conversation with lawmakers urging them to support a bill that has strong protections for all groups. But perhaps even more importantly we have welcomed their suggestions and concerns. Our goal is to not simply pass any bill, but persuade strong majorities in both chambers to pass a bill with strong protections for all victims.
We ask for your support and assistance with a hate crimes bill- SB418(Glick). Please contact your House and Senate members and ask them to support SB418 We will be back with regular updates on the legislation and more information as to how in other ways you might specifically help with our efforts.
“Gerrymandering has created an absurd reality, where politicians now pick their voters instead of the voters picking their politicians.”
– Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
As we draw closer to the January 3rd start of the 2018 General Assembly, I wanted to ask for your assistance with one of the core issues that we have worked on over the last several years- Redistricting Reform. Sen. John Ruckelshaus (District 30-R) has filed his final version of the bill (SB159) and we expect it to be sent to the Senate Elections Committee for a possible hearing. Attached please find the final version of the bill: SB 159 (Redistricting).
The first steps in moving this legislation along the path to passage are 1) Keeping Sen. Ruckelshaus focused on pushing for a hearing in the Senate Elections Committee. 2) Encouraging Sen. Elections Chairmen Greg Walker ( District 41-R) to give the bill a hearing. Sen. Ruckelshaus has a number of bills he is offering this session so we must encourage him to prioritize SB159. Sen. Ruckelshaus has repeatedly stated that Redistricting Reform matters to him and his constituents. Sen. Walker has been non-committal as to whether he supports SB159 and whether it should be given a hearing. Please use the contact information below to contact these lawmakers and help us get this important legislation a hearing. It is also never too early to write, call or email other lawmakers asking for their support for Redistricting Reform. If your lawmakers already support SB159 reach out to them as well. Please ask them to commit to making passage of SB159 a legislative priority of theirs this session.
Sen. John Ruckelshaus
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232- 9400
Sen. Greg Walker
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(800) 382- 9467
Find Your Legislator: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2014/legislators/
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
1723 Ramsey Lane Plainfield, IN 46168
© IFCL 2017