We’re coming down to the end of the session when the real budget decisions are made.
Bring posters! & wear red for public ed
Coordinated by the
Indiana Coalition for Public Education
AFT Indiana, Concerned Clergy, Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), Indiana Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Where’s the Statehouse?
The Indiana Statehouse’s official address is 200 W. Washington Street,Indianapolis, IN. It is at the northwest corner of Capitol and Washington Streets.
How do I get in?
The main entrance is on the Capitol Street side across from Market Street.
Handicap entrance —
An ADA accessible entrance is on the west side of the building via the Robert D. Orr Plaza.
Where do I park?
Parking is always challenging during the legislative session. The Circle Centre Mall a few blocks away has parking garages at reasonable rates. Street parking is available at metered spots that accept credit cards.
All visitors are screened by metal detectors. Bags and packages will be screened using X-ray equipment. Allow enough time to be screened before the events.
We will have some signs available, but feel free to bring your own hand-held messages. You may not attach a banner or sign to the building or grounds. Hand-held signs cannot be attached to sticks or similar objects. (We recommend a half-sheet of poster board for signs because they fit through the X-ray machine.)
Prohibited items —
helium balloons, smoking, firearms, pocket knives, animals (other than service animals)
It is ok to be enthusiastic, but rally participants must not be rude or disorderly.
You probably have heard about the Green New Deal (GND) but if you are like me, you do not know what exactly it means? Wikipedia defines the Green New Deal as a proposed stimulus program that aims to address climate change and economic inequality.
Groups and individuals across the country are doing teach-ins, town halls, and other programs to help us understand the GND’s potential. Locally, Muncie Resists is hosting a program on April 27 (see flyer). There will also be a program in Indianapolis in June.
Indianapolis: Green New Deal Town Hall
June 01, 2019, 2:30 – 4:30 PM
International Marketplace• 3769 Commercial Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46214
Host contact info: Ron Mitchell, email@example.com, (317) 641-3341
Purpose: To inform, motivate, and bring about actions to save our planet and species within a very short time. Join us at this Town Hall to hear leaders in our community share about how the Green New Deal is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime to invest in the American people, and what that looks like for us.
Oppose HB 1266, as it risks increasing sediment pollution of our lakes and rivers. (See Friday’s alert for more specifics. The vote on this will be Mon. afternoon, so call early or skip this one if you call thereafter.)
Support HB 1331, which reduces regulatory burdens on prospective solar panel owners.
Support, in the Budget Bill, HB 1001: a) $780,000/year boost to IDEM drinking water staff; and b) $10 million/year for the Benjamin Harrison Trust to save endangered natural areas.
2) Call or Email Your State Representative…
Oppose SB 472, which would likely stall pro-sustainable energy projects (over 250 Megawatts) and keep aging, uneconomical fossil fuel plants going for the next 18 months.
Our thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council for their bill write-ups, which we have edited to reflect LWVIN priorities.
Liz Solberg and Dave Simcox, on behalf also of Lisa Harris and Jeanette Neagu LWVIN Natural Resources Advocacy Coordination
The fourth annual Neighborhood I.D.E.A. conference was held at Ball State University in early March. Each year over 100 Muncie neighborhood leaders come together to listen and learn about the best practices to improve our community. It is always enlightening and fun, the food is great, and it is free to the attendees!
This year the program emphasized education, neighborhood planning, neighborhood partnerships, and community resources. One could choose only four of the 12 hour-long presentations in the time allowed.
The education track included:
Whitely neighborhood’s pursuit as an “education first community;”
Next Muncie, a group dedicated to improving Muncie’s amenities, economy, and education;
Muncie Community Schools’ Community Engagement Council whose mission is focused on supporting volunteerism, advocacy, and fundraising for MCS.
The neighborhood planning and partnership tracks discussed building a community website, grant writing, how to do membership drives, how participatory budgeting works, neighborhood murals, and Ball State’s commitment to Muncie.
The Community Resources track highlighted the homeless population, substance abuse, and how to support seniors and the disabled in Muncie.
The day concluded with a mayoral candidate forum. I have been to all four of the I.D.E.A. conferences and find them educational, inspiring, and great for meeting new people. I recommend the event to all, and you do not have to be involved in neighborhood leadership to attend.
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSES BIPARTISAN BACKGROUND CHECKS ACT & CHARLESTON LOOPHOLE BILL
Feb 13, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 by a vote of 23-15 and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 by a vote of 21-14.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement after the markup:
“I am pleased that both H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 passed out of the Committee today, making them one step closer to passing the U.S. House of Representatives. Although we know the issue of gun violence won’t be fixed overnight, there are steps Congress can and must take to address it. Closing loopholes in the current background check system are long-overdue legislative measures that will help address this national crisis.
“I commend Reps. Mike Thompson and Peter King for their efforts to advance H.R. 8, legislation to require background checks on all firearm sales. Equally, I commend Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn for introducing H.R. 1112, legislation to close the dangerous ‘Charleston loophole,’ a shortcoming in the current law that enables some firearms to be transferred by licensed gun dealers before the required background checks have been completed, which was the case in the tragic hate-crime shooting that took place in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I am heartened by the mobilization of so many Americans who are making their voices heard and advocating for passage of legislation to prevent gun violence. Both of the bills passed out of the Committee today tackle real problems within our current system.
[Speaking out to our legislators does make a difference!]
BACKGROUND: Under current law, background checks are conducted by licensed gun dealers only. Unlicensed sellers do not have to conduct a background check, even if the seller sells a large number of guns.
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, would make it illegal for any person who is not a licensed firearm importer, manufacturer, or dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not licensed, without a background check. The bill also provides a number of exemptions to this requirement, including gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.
H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, addresses a loophole that contributed to the tragic hate-crime murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. The shooter was not legally allowed to possess a firearm as a result of drug charges, but he still was able to purchase his gun from a licensed dealer, who made the decision to transfer after three business days had elapsed, despite not having received a definitive response from the background check system.
In the 2019 legislative session, three bills have been filed in the Senate and three in the House.SB 91 and HB 1011 are closest to the independent commission goals of our Coalition. Neither, however, has even been heard in committee, so it’s unlikely that they will be going anywhere.Deadlines for completing action in their respective chambers (passing out of committee and passing 2nd and 3rd readings in the chamber) are February 25 and 26.
Monday, February 25, 2019
Last day for 3rd reading of House bills in House
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Last day for 3rd reading of Senate bills in Senate
SB 105 would achieve part of our goals, but only by establishing redistricting standards. It does not address who will be responsible for drawing the lines, a crucial issue for reform.
Although SB 105, the redistricting standards bill, passed the Senate Elections Committee by a 5-2 vote on Monday, February 4th, it has been sitting on 2nd reading for more than a week. Senator Greg Walker is still contemplating language for an amendment to improve transparency and public access to redistricting data and mapping software. This amendment has to be added on 2nd reading and our coalition has been working with Senator Walker to craft language he is comfortable with.
The delay, however, is allowing opponents to come up with additional reasons to criticize the bill. The All IN for Democracy lobbying team has been busy talking to Senate members this week and has gotten more pushback this year than last. In some areas of the state Republican party officials are urging their legislators to vote NO on SB105. So, this means we really need to step up our grassroots pressure.
Legislators won’t act on this issue unless they hear from their constituents that redistricting reform is vital to the survival of our democracy!
As your constituent, I am urging you to support SB105, the redistricting standards bill.
We must end gerrymandering in Indiana, and this bill is an important first step toward that goal. I hope you will work with Common Cause IN and the League of Women Voters of IN redistricting coalition to make it stronger.
We need a fair, impartial, and transparent process in place when redistricting takes place in 2021. Please do what you can to make that happen.
Two presentations focus on the issue and where we go from here.
“Redistricting Reform: What’s Next?”
Presented by Linda Hanson, Spokesperson for LWVM-DC and LWVIN Board Director
The telephone conference was opened by a welcome from Patti Brigham, LWV of Florida.
Oshane McCrary of the Center for American Progress gave an update on Federal action:
On WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, for the first time in 8 years, there will be a hearing for a bill to enact universal background checks.It is HR 8 – The Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, and would require background checks for every firearm purchase.It will be marked up and voted on in the next couple of weeks.This is the number #1 action call right now…..contact your representatives and encourage them to vote for its passage.It has 228 co-sponsors; 5 of whom are Republicans.It looks likely to pass, as there are 218 votes needed.It is being heard in the Judiciary Committee
On the Center for American Progress website (at the very bottom of its opening page) is a powerful two-minute video about letting our legislators know that we will vote on the basis of support for gun reform.
The guest speakers were introduced.Amber Goodwin and Awo Eni were with us from the Community Justice Action Fund.
Amber is located in Houston.She has been working with Gabbi Gifford.When the Charleston shooting occurred four years ago (Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church) she became more active.Communities of Color were being affected by gun violence, but nothing was being legislated.The Community Justice Reform Coalition saw that the urban community wasn’t being included in the dialogue.She spoke of the need for policy to be let by survivors, in communities affected by gun violence.
There are policies that are evidence-based – proven efficacy.The goal is to put the responsibility back on the policy makers:
Fund proven methods to reduce gun violence.The Black community is decimated by homicides.There are proven methods of intervention.
Create trust, justice, and equity between communities and law enforcement.
Support initiatives to reduce gender-based violence.We must support domestic policies to include intimate partner violence.
Children must be protected from gun violence.Education on safe storage; guns are not acceptable in the hands of children.
Close dangerous loopholes with gun dealers. Address traffic between states.
Remove barriers to research. Gun violence must be funded as a Public Health Issue, with support from local Health Departments and the CDC.
Address hate crime head on!Acknowledge the connection between hate and gun violence.
It is our responsibility to pass legislation to make our communities safer.We must support positive legislation, and introduce it where none exists.
We must partner with local organizations, and uplift local organizations.
Florida is seeing success with Child Access Prevention through promoting trigger locks.They have support from the Veterans Administration.They are actively seeking funding to promote this initiative.
Florida is also working on legislation to ban assault weapons.They plan to put it on the ballot in 2020 as a Citizens’ Initiative.
Discussion on the number of guns in the Black urban community:Many are stolen, and there is an illegal flow from surrounding states.Chicago has very strict gun laws, but there is a known stream coming from Gary and Milwaukee – in states with weaker laws.It was also stated that communities need resources and skills to improve life so that they don’t resort to using guns.
Violence Against Women Act.The act expired during the government shutdown.There is no available funding, so action must be taken to see that it is renewed and funded.As an example of its reach – during 2017 there were over 350,000 calls to its hotline.
There also needs to be research into the intersection of suicide and gun access. We must encourage resources for trauma and healing within communities.Law enforcement officers are also increasingly resorting to suicide.
Doctors are becoming more vocal.The Giffords PAC and Doctors for America are promoting hospital-based interventions.All members are encouraged to reach out to doctors via email.
Florida – is expanding the Guardian Program – to arm teachers.It is being expanded to include all teachers who are trained.There is tremendous push-back from teachers.
Indiana has a bill introduced HB 1284.It would expand Indiana’s dangerous “Stand Your Ground” law by granting civil immunity to people who use deadly force against their fellow citizens.This bill would make it nearly impossible to take shooters to court for harming others.
The meeting ended at 7:45.
HR 8 – on the federal level – Universal Background Checks
HB 1284 on the state level – Expanded Stand Your Ground
Report from recent meetings of Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees:
Non-college career opportunities
The Board spends the first part of one meeting a month with presentations by education related groups. Several presentations have focused on non-college opportunities for Muncie students. One is through Vincennes University, with programs complementing the Career Center and Ivy Tech options. Another one is through Sustainable Muncie and its Purdue polytechnic programs such as robotics, quality control engineering and computerized engineering.
There are not enough properly trained Muncie students to meet local employment demands at companies like Progressive Rail, Muncie Power Products, Magma and others.
While there are county district students in the Sustainable Muncie program, there are no Central students. The Board conducted a lengthy discussion about how to make more students and families aware of these opportunities. A gateway program is needed at the Middle Schools as well as career discussion in elementary grades.
Work must start soon if these programs and opportunities are to be included in the MCS plan presented to the State of Indiana by June 2020.
Board members are attending many meetings related to the district’s leadership search. In early January they extended the timeline for proposals to encourage a wider range of search companies to apply. The Board will hold a leadership retreat in the near future for discussion with an outside consultant.
CHS Graduation Rate
A year ago, Central High School (CHS) reported a dismal 78.42 graduation rate when a state audit revealed inadequate documentation for 61 students who left for various reasons. With renewed attention to documentation, the 2018 rate improved to 94.1%. Chris Walker, CHS principal said, “Our rate will always be lower because we include special needs students who receive certificates of completion rather than the 40 credit general diploma.”
Building upkeep and repairs
Board member Jim Lowe is applying his BSU facilities expertise to the MCS buildings. He proposes a spreadsheet for each building listing both short and long-term projects. He shared the BSU spreadsheet for Worthen Arena as an example.
Senator Tim Lanane and Representatives Sue Errington and Melanie Wright discussed school safety, teacher raises, CAFO regulations, gender pay inequity, hate crimes legislation, and other legislation at the Legislative Update on February 9th at Maring-Hunt Library. They answered questions from the audience and listened to citizens’ concerns about education in Indiana, potholes on I-69, and other issues.
Voter Services will be doing voter registration in the high schools this spring.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Nicole Etcheson at VoterService@LWVMuncieDelaware.Org