I.) Take Action in the Indiana Senate
1.) SB 229: Stop a Bill that Would Hurt our WetlandsSB 229 will increase damage to and destruction of wetlands by exempting drain reconstruction from the state wetland rule. EPA estimates Indiana has lost more than 85% of its original wetlands. We can’t afford to lose more because wetlands soak up excess water which reduces flood risk, and Indiana is receiving more rain than it used to. Furthermore, wetlands are critical bird habitat.Read more on HEC’s Billwatch 2020.TAKE ACTION:Please ask your state representative to oppose SB 229.
2.) Support a Redistricting Transparency AmendmentWe need citizens to have access to the data and map-making software that lawmakers have via a dedicated website; this allows citizens to propose maps to their lawmakers (i.e., citizens-drawn maps). Learn why HEC is involved in redistricting.TAKE ACTION:Urge your state representative to support an amendment to a Senate elections bill that helps to create transparency in the redistricting process.
II.) Take Action in the Indiana House
1.) HB 1189: Allows for the Use of the Dangerous Chemical PFAS, when Safer Options AvailableHB 1189 has to do with PFAS, a toxic and persistent chemical; see harms to the human body in the diagram and in this Centers for Disease Control brief.HB 1189 specifically bans PFAS in fire fighter training, but has a problematic exemption from that ban. HB 1189 has an additional provision that make it harder to ban other uses of PFAS. Learn about how other states have handled PFAS.TAKE ACTION:Urge your state senator to support amending the bill so that it does not explicitly authorize the use of PFAS in fire fighting.
2.) HB 1414: Don’t Let Lawmakers Put up a Major Roadblock to the Coal-to-Clean Energy TransitionWhile coal plants have powered the Indiana economy for decades, they’ve hurt the respiratory health of countless Hoosiers and threatened groundwater resources in at least four regions of our state.The amended HB 1414 puts up a needless roadblock for electric utilities to retire old plants and replace them with much cleaner, zero-carbon-emitting resources; while a sunset provision was added to this deeply controversial bill, there is a risk that the legislature will – as in past instances – repeal the sunset. Read our assessment of the bill.TAKE ACTION:Urge your state senator to oppose HB 1414.
3.) HB 1337: Help Keep Our Drinking Water Facilities Aware of Chemical SpillsChemical spills, such as we have seen with US Steel and ArcelorMittal, can pose threats to our rivers and public health. HB 1337 requires notification of spills to water utilities whose drinking water intakes may be affected. HEC is working on ways to strengthen this bill further.TAKE ACTION:Please contact your state senator in support of HB 1337.
4.) SB 369: Talk to Your Senator about the Unexpected Result of the State Transit Bill VoteThe good news: SB 369, a bill that would have given counties a new funding option to expand public transit, both in cities and rural areas, drew an impressive six Republican co-sponsors.The bad news: Misinformation about the progress of transit expansion in Indianapolis – now underway due to similar funding legislation that was enacted for central Indiana – contributed to the bill’s defeat last week on a vote of 22 to 27. This outcome will leave communities around Indiana without the means to meet growing demand for transit service.TAKE ACTION:Find out how your senator voted, and either thank him or her for supporting the bill, or express your disappointment if they voted NO.
III.) Take Action in the Indiana House & Senate
HB 1265 & SB 214: Help Expand Lead Testing in SchoolsLead is toxic to the nervous system, especially for children. SB 214 and HB 1265 will require schools to test for lead in their drinking water. Lead can get in the water from pipes and fixtures, especially in older school buildings.TAKE ACTION:
IV.) Learn about the Fate of an Important Priority
Lake Michigan Shoreline AccessDespite bipartisan support, Sen. Glick’s (R-Lagrange) SB 325 stalled in the Indiana Senate due to strong opposition from some Republican senators and the likelihood that it would have been weakened by unfriendly amendments. SB 325 was a positive bill that would have preserved public access to Lake Michigan beaches and conformed to the landmark Gunderson v. State decision from the Indiana Supreme Court.HB 1031 (Miller, R-Elkhart), the competing bill in the House, also failed to advance after the bill was pulled from the House calendar. Even though the bill’s impact was moderated by amendments, it still conflicted with the Gunderson decision and would have limited public access to Lake Michigan. The demise of HB 1031 is a victory for Lake Michigan shoreline access and helps advance our legislative agenda.For the time being, the public’s right to use the Lake Michigan shoreline remains secure as confirmed by the Gunderson decision.
V.) Mark Your Calendar & Get Involved
Take Your Advocacy to the Next LevelWant to magnify your impact for Indiana’s environment, but not sure how to do it? See below for ways that you can deepen your involvement!#1: ATTEND THIRD HOUSE MEETINGSA very effective way to talk with your legislators is by attending town hall meetings (called “Third House” events); these are happening across Indiana! Town hall meetings not only allow you to engage your lawmakers, but to raise awareness of key environmental issues in your community overall.Please be sure to talk about the issues that we have been raising in our weekly e-blasts and let us know how your legislators respond! If you get feedback, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- February 10th: Columbus
- February 14th: Fishers, Elkhart
- February 21st: South Bend
- February 28th: ElkhartAlso, please let us know if you encounter Third House meetings in your communities — by looking at your newspaper, e-news from your local Chamber or local Farm Bureau, etc. — and contact our Manager of Outreach so that we can add these to our website’s calendar.#2: WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITORPlease consider writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE) to your local paper to amplify your voice! If you are willing to compose an LTE, please contact our Manager of Outreach so that we can provide you any economic or scientific facts to help you make the biggest possible impact.#3: GET MORE BACKGROUNDIf you would like to learn more about bills this legislative session and would like to read talking points to help you engage with your representative and senator, please visit our Bill Watch 2020 page.#4: ATTEND OUR UPCOMING EVENTSAlso, please consider attending these other upcoming events and spreading the word!
- Saturday, February 8th: Indiana Civic Day
- This is the best opportunity all session to get up to speed on an array of public interest priorities, including the environment. Our Executive Director will provide a mid-session update & calls to action. Register today!
- Thursday, February 13th: Statehouse Mid-Session Update
- Learn about all climate-related legislation being discussed in the Indiana legislature in a talk by our Executive Director. Join our presentation in Carmel!
- Thursday, February 20th: NWI Green Drinks Greening Your Community
- Learn about happenings in the Indiana Statehouse, how to get involved, and tips for speaking with your state lawmakers from our Manager of Outreach. RSVP!#5: JOIN UPCOMING WEBINARSThe IU Environmental Resilience Institute’s free webinar series is a great way to get up to speed on how cities can become more climate resilient. Descriptions, speakers, and registration details are accessible by clicking the links below.
- Wednesday, March 11th: Responding to Floods
- Wednesday. April 8th: Managing Extreme Heat
- Wednesday, May 13th: The Dangers of Low-Head Dams and Increasing Precipitation
VI.) Support HEC Green Businesses
VI.) Support HEC Green Businesses
Thank our New and Renewing HEC Green BusinessesPart of HEC’s vision for Indiana is a green economy with businesses that embrace sustainability from the products they sell to the services they offer to their internal business practices. When you are making purchasing choices, we invite you to reference our list of HEC Green Businesses to see how you can support Indiana’s green economy.
Information found from the Hoosier Environmental Council Newsletter
Hoosier Environmental Council
3951 N. Meridian Street, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46208