The legislative session is approaching midpoint.
We are nearing "Crossover". For those who are new to the legislative process, a bill must be passed out of its chamber (House/Senate) of origin by Crossover to continue on its way. If it does not, the bill is dead. This means, a House bill (labeled HB) must be out of the House by that time; same with Senate bills (labeled as SB). Some committees wrapped up their hearings last week while some still have some final hearings this week along followed by final floor debate before the first half of this year’s session ends.
Due to the tight hearing schedules of this short session, we anticipate many bills to die on the House and Senate floors.
Redistricting Reform bills need committee hearings!
The Chairs of the Elections Committee in both the House and Senate have not assigned yet committee hearings for redistricting reform bills filed in either chamber, which will make it very difficult to have a redistricting process in place in 2021. The two bills IMAN Associates, alongside other coalition partners at All IN for Democracy, are pushing to pass this legislative session are:
SB293 is the redistricting transparency legislation that the All IN for Democracy coalition wrote with Senator John Ruckelshaus. It would create a redistricting website that citizens could use to access census data and mapping software to draw their own districts and submit them to the General Assembly for consideration.
HB1024 is the redistricting commission legislation sponsored by Rep. Jerry Torr and based on the study committee draft from 2016.
48 days- a short legislative session indeed!
The Indiana General Assembly convened on January 6, 2020 to tackle a number of legislative issues, including the smoking epidemic, teacher pay and controlling health care costs in the short 2020 legislative session.
Teacher Pay has been in the frontline of issues since November 19, 2019, when Legislative Organization Day witnessed waves of red shirts engulfing the vicinity of the Indiana Statehouse. On that day, more than 15,000 teachers from around Indiana congregated to advocate for raising their pay and to demand not to be penalized for a drop in standardized test scores because of a new test adopted lately in the state.
Nevertheless, the assembly has been divided on the issue of raising teacher pay. While Democrats are pushing for it, Republicans hold firm that a short session is an inappropriate time to open up “the state’s two-year budget.” There are signs that it may have to wait until 2021.
Advocates for Redistricting Reform were present in the statehouse on Legislative Organization Day, as well as the first day of the 2020 session. ALL IN for Democracy coalition has organized a very successful State House press conference to announce two redistricting reform bills being introduced by Senator John Ruckelshaus (R – Indianapolis). We will share with you the bills once they are assigned to a committee.
Also, at the press conference, a bipartisan team of legislators pledged their support for redistricting reform by signing the End Gerrymandering Pledge – a national effort championed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eric Holder.
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