February 2021 Newsletter
The 2021 legislative session is wrapping up its 6th week, with a number of committees rushing to schedule the hearings of their assigned bills before the session’s midpoint. Deadline for bills to receive its 3rd reading is the 2/22 in the House chamber and the 2/23 in the Senate chamber. Bills that don’t receive their 3rd reading are considered dead for this session.
The majority of the bills that IMAN Associates were monitoring didn’t get a hearing and most likely they are dead for this session. HB1185: Anti-bullying bill (Porter) didn’t receive its 2nd hearing in the House Committee on Education. Rep. Greg Porter, a champion for anti-bullying legislation, “filed an amendment to add language to HB1005 (Behning) requiring charter and voucher schools to adopt anti-bullying practices. The amendment was voted down in committee.” We plan to work closely with Rep. Porter and provide needed support to bring this bill back in 2022.
However, we identified two bills that can negatively impact Indiana Muslims, communities of color and Hoosiers at large if passed.
SB311: Use of Force (Baldwin) gives police officers full discretion in using deadly force. The bill prevents city and county officials, even the officer's own police department, from enforcing protocol or standards on the use of deadly force.
SB353: Various Election Law Matters (Houchin) requires a proof of citizenship when registering to vote. We oppose this bill since it leads to voter suppression, and disenfranchisement of communities of color, immigrants and refugees. The cost associated with obtaining a birth certificate or a proof of citizenship will place a barrier for low income voters to exercise their civic duty. It also impedes our grassroots organizing, especially when we hold voter registration drives in mosques and community centers.
We need your help! Contact committee chairs and let them know you oppose those bills.
SB311: Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law Chair: Sen. Michael Young
Copy and paste the following text and send it to Sen. Young’s legislative Assistant at Madalynn.Conner@iga.in.gov. Give him a call at 317-232-9517 and urge him to vote NO on SB311.
Dear Senator Michael Young,
In the wake of the police brutality that our nation witnessed recently, I am appalled to see a bill like SB311 proposed in the Indiana General Assembly. The bill gives police officers full discretion in using deadly force. It allows police officers to use deadly force whenever the officer felt it justified and no individual or agency could tell the officer otherwise. Communities of color, who are consistently the victims of racial profiling, will suffer the most if this bill passes.
Also, the bill strips away the process of checks and balances, which is central to our democracy. Every official or branch of government is kept in check by another. However, SB311 removes any checks from an officer's use of deadly force and therefore puts our legal system out of balance. Local officials and police departments should be able to create protocol on the use of deadly force. To prevent them from doing so is a danger to the public.
I urge you to vote NO on SB311.
SB353: Senate Committee on Elections Chair: Sen. Jon Ford
Copy and paste the following text and email it to Sen. Jon Ford at Senator.Ford@iga.in.gov. Give him a call at 317-232-9400 and let him know you oppose SB353.
Dear Senator Jon Ford,
I’m deeply concerned about SB353 and the unnecessary barriers it creates. The cost associated with obtaining a birth certificate or a proof of citizenship will hinder many low-income voters from exercising their civic duty. It can lead to the disenfranchisement of communities of color and the elderly. When Indiana consistently ranks in the bottom ten in voting, I expect the Indiana General Assembly to enact laws that increase voter turnout and not further suppress it.
I join other Hoosiers in their opposition to SB 353. I urge you to vote NO on this bill.
The Hendricks County Commissioners rejected the rezoning of Clermont Village
In an unexpected move, the Hendricks County Commissioners rejected the recommendations of the Hendricks County Area Plan Commission to rezone Clermont Village in the 2/9/2021 public hearing. The Commissioners voted 3-0 to deny the application, citing environmental concerns.
The Commissioners’ decision was shocking to Elizabeth Link, the owner’s developer, especially after spending the last few months working hard to address the commissioners’ outstanding concerns.
Matt Callahan, Muslim Advocates senior staff attorney who has been providing guidance and support to Alhussnain Seminary leadership, condemned the decision and warned Hendricks County of an “expensive and unnecessary religious discrimination lawsuit.”
Local media, including Indystar and WRTV, covered this story.
Check our newsletters for the latest updates at the Indiana Statehouse and upcoming events in the Muslim community.