Happy Friday, Friend!
Whew! What a week! Lots of bills we are following have moved forward at the State House, but not all of them are good. The Indiana State Budget was released, with increases to school funding, but poverty aid in schools and mental health and addiction aid are all facing cuts. Protections for youth who interact with the justice system are moving forward, but proper pregnancy accommodations legislation is at a stand-still. Additionally, earlier this week we saw the Indiana Senate vote to override a veto on a landlord-tenant bill that could result in Hoosiers facing eviction during the coldest time of year when we are trying to survive a global pandemic.
While some good bills move forward, some bad bills do, too. Which is why we all need to continue working together and fighting for children and families in Indiana!
Indiana State Budget
The Indiana House Republicans released their version of the state budget yesterday, HB 1001, which includes $22 million towards early childhood education and an increase by $378 million over the next two years towards state funding for K-12 education. Additionally, $150 million would be earmarked for one-time funding for programs to address learning loss due to the pandemic.
The budget proposal however does not address teacher pay, cuts funding for schools where low-income students are enrolled, and vastly expand state funding for children from middle-class families to attend private schools. The budget also cuts $26 million to the mental health and addiction budget, at a time when depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug overdose, and suicide are all on the rise due to COVID-19.
SB 368, "Juvenile Justice" was heard on Tuesday morning in the Senate Committee on Criminal Law. After discussion, powerful testimony, and amendments, the bill passed committee 6-1. This bill will ensure children aren't housed in adult jails, establish standards to make sure children are competent to stand trial, and create a system of automatic expungement for juvenile records.
Thanks to those of you who joined us in supporting this bill. Our letter of support was included in the official committee testimony.
Stay tuned for further advocacy efforts to support this bill as it goes to the full Senate, next!
Last week, HB 1309, "Pregnancy Accommodation," passed the House Committee of Employment, Labor and Pensions 12-1.
While MCCOY supports Governor Holcomb's desire to pass a comprehensive pregnancy accommodations bill this year, HB 1309 does NOT address the full needs of pregnant workers. It states that pregnant employees can ask for certain accommodations, but it does not require employers to provide those accommodations, leaving pregnant workers at risk of pregnancy complications or even losing their babies.
Indiana needs to join the 30 other states that have passed REAL pregnancy accommodations bills that would require an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
Landlord and Tenant rights
Last year, Governor Holcomb vetoed a bill, SEA148, that would prohibit Indianapolis from regulating relationships between tenants and landlords. If made into law, this would expand the process for expedited evictions, allowing less opportunity for tenants to negotiate with landlords or relocate their homes voluntarily, which would lead to greater homelessness, instability, and harmful health and societal outcomes.
Earlier this week, the Indiana State Senate voted to override this veto (30-17), putting many Hoosiers at risk of eviction during one of the coldest times of year and at a time when Indiana homeless programs are at capacity and with few resources.
The Indiana House of Representatives is expected to vote as soon as Monday, Feb 15, to complete the override of Gov. Holcomb's veto. Click on the link below to tell your representative to vote "NO" to overriding the veto on SEA 148.
Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc.
1375 W. 16th Street | Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
317-921-1266 | firstname.lastname@example.org