Representatives from Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation participated in a town hall style event with Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-District 27, and students at Earlham College Friday, October 27.
Senator Raatz and IFCL lobbyist Dr. Bill Chapman led discussion of a number of topics including education, voter registration, redistricting, alcohol sales, the opioid crisis, student First Amendment issues and citizen engagement for 90 minutes. Both Sen. Raatz and Dr. Chapman emphasized the importance of building positive relationships between lawmakers and citizens.
More than 1200 bills were introduced at the beginning of the 2017 legislative session. Sen. Raatz said information from constituents is welcome as he studies each bill.
Dr. Chapman explained that IFCL focuses on traditional Quaker values and issues as the policy committee reviews new bills to follow.
Other IFCL members described experiences at the legislature and encouraged students to become engaged citizens and discover the satisfaction of participation in government.
IFCL Earlham College Town Hall was last modified: November 9th, 2017 by admin
The Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation was honored at the Indiana High School Press Association’s annual fall convention Friday, Oct. 20, for support of a First Amendment bill for student journalists. Dr. Bill Chapman, IFCL lobbyist, accepted the award on behalf of the organization’s effort during the 2017 legislative session.
New Voices legislation speaks to the Quaker belief in “truth to power.” Some high schools throughout the country promote strong journalism programs and encourage students to report about important issues that relate to teenagers.
But some administrators control potentially controversial coverage, a practice that has prompted some states to pass specific legislation to ensure that students attending public high schools can report about relevant topics. Illinois passed a similar bill year.
IHSPA also honored Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany and Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, the New Voices bill sponsors.
Steve Key, general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, also was recognized at the Friday convention. Key was awarded the Ingelhart several years ago and continues to work for IHSPA issues on multiple levels.
The Indiana High School Press Association has supported student journalism since the organization was founded at Franklin College in 1922. The group’s “Friend of Journalism” award was named after Dr. Louis Ingelhart, a nationally recognized advocate for student press throughout his career at Ball State University.
Representatives Clere and DeLaney plan to work with students for similar legislation during the 2018 session.
Those with questions about the legislation are welcome to contact IFCL for more information.
IFCL honored at the Indiana High School Press Association’s annual fall convention was last modified: October 23rd, 2017 by admin
IFCL has shared information and its redistricting displays at additional events since Western Yearly Meeting.
The first was a presentation at Fairfield Friends Meeting August 27, and the second was a public forum on redistricting reform presented by The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting at Franklin College September 19.
Both events were well-attended. Although coordinators of the Franklin forum expected 75 to attend, they were thrilled when the number approached 200 and required more chairs to be set up.
The forum included speakers Paul Helmke (Professor, IU Bloomington School of Public Environmental Affairs, former Republican mayor of Fort Wayne and former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors), Luis Fuentes-Rohwer (Professor, IU Bloomington School of Law, with teaching and research interests in voting and redistricting legislation including gerrymandering cases) and Julia Vaughn (Policy Director, Common Cause Indiana).
State Senator Greg Walker R-District 41 also attended the Franklin event. Following the three presentations discussion focused on the need for redistricting and the importance of public pressure to encourage Indiana lawmakers to address redistricting legislation. Senator Walker agreed to continue to study the data and information regarding redistricting issues and to listen to those who had views about it.
Anyone interested in planning similar events for their communities should contact IFCL members who will help make connections with people who could help provide valuable information and promote group interaction about an important bipartisan topic that affects all Hoosiers.
Redistricting News was last modified: October 4th, 2017 by admin
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
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.
Tim Grimm FREE Concert was last modified: July 2nd, 2017 by admin
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.”
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.
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.
June 2017 Statehouse Article was last modified: July 2nd, 2017 by admin
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.
Legislator Of The Year was last modified: July 2nd, 2017 by admin
Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation
1723 Ramsey Lane Plainfield, IN 46168