The Latest at the Statehouse
The session may be winding down, but it's still been quite busy at the Statehouse. We are still amplifying the Muslim voice on an array of legislative issues related to criminal, economic and racial justice. We are also working with the Executive branch to make sure they use allocated funds to smooth the transition for our allies from Afghanistan as they become our neighbors.
Here is a quick rundown of our activities in the last couple of weeks:
A Dignified Treatment to Female Inmates
SNAP Feeds Low-Income Hoosiers
We thank our constituents and partnering organizations for putting a big fight to ensure economically disadvantaged Hoosiers continue to have access to SNAP.
Despite this humble win, there are two other bills currently debated on both floors to end the SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA). If either SB3 or HB1001 passes, Hoosiers who rely heavily on SNAP to feed their children will miss out on "$200M in federal benefits to afford healthier food options for their families, purchased at more than 5,000 Indiana retailers."
Our friends at Feeding Indiana's Hungry are urging the Indiana legislature to support an amendment to allow SNAP EA to extend for the duration of the federal public health emergency. Please contact your legislators today using this link and advocate on behalf of more than 600,000 SNAP beneficiaries in our state. Thank you for taking action!
Anti- CRT Bill is Still Considered at the Statehouse
Before the committee hearing, Sen. Linda Rogers (HB1134 sponsor) amended the bill so teachers were no longer required to post list of learning material, there was no requirement for curriculum advisory committees. Also, language requiring schools to be impartial in teaching historical events was removed. The Senate Education and Career Development Committee approved the amended bill. It now moves to the Senate floor for a full vote.
The amendment made HB1134 slightly less terrible, but still included much of the problematic language. It still includes excessive oversight concerning lesson plans, and the anti-Critical Race Theory language. We will continue to fight this bill and try to either get it killed or continue to remove the worst parts.
We need your help again! Urge your senator to vote NO on HB1134 using this link.
Legislative Updates and Action Alerts
This week we worked on HB1294 which deals with using the least restraint necessary during the second and third trimesters of an inmate's pregnancy. This is already a practice in federal facilities, but our state facilities has not adopted it yet. The bill successfully passed out of committee and goes to the Senate floor.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have been under attack this session (HB 1354 and HB 1410) and we are working with community groups like Feeding Indiana's Hungry (FISH) to help preserve these benefits for our most at risk citizens. We've helped blunt many of the worst parts of this legislation and will continue to work on this language as it moves to the Senate. There should be more updates soon.
HB 1134 (Education matters) is still on our radar. HB1134 bans critical race theory from being discussed in schools, hence curbing freedom of speech in classrooms when it comes to race and institutionalized racism. It also burdens our teachers with additional workload and insinuates lack of trust. We are still watching to see if it will get a hearing and if so kill the bill. It could get a hearing Wednesday but the legislators know this is a deeply unpopular bill and there is still a possibility it doesn't get heard in committee. 29 letters were sent to state senators across the state, voicing your concerns regarding this bill. Your calls and emails are making a difference! If you haven't contacted your senator yet, please do so by clicking on this link:
Finally, Senate Joint Resolution 14 (SJR14), which would have amended the Indiana Constitution to give responsibility for state and Congressional redistricting to a politically balanced citizens commission, was denied a hearing in the Senate Elections Committee, despite the fact that committee members heard hundreds of citizens call for such a commission during the redistricting hearings last year. On Monday, SJR14 will be debated in the Senate Elections Committee, during which Senator Qaddoura will propose an amendment to create a summer study committee to explore how redistricting is done in other states and propose reform for Indiana.
We want to make sure the committee chairman and members hear from their constituents. If any of the committee members is your legislator, please urge them to support the amendment by clicking on the below link:
Senator Jon Ford - Terre Haute
Senator Linda Rogers - Saint Joseph and Elkhart counties
Senator John Crane - Hendricks and Putnam counties
Senator Stacy Donato - Cass, Fulton, Miami, Carroll counties
Senator Eric Koch - Lawrence, Monroe, Bartholomew, Jackson, Brown counties
Senator Greg Walker - Bartholomew and Johnson counties
Senator J.D. Ford - Hamilton and Marion counties
Senator Fady Qaddoura - Hamilton and Marion counties
Thank you for taking action with us.
Meeting with Marion County Prosecutor Mears
On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, a group of inner-city Muslims met with Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears to uplift their experiences and discuss a set of policy priorities that can bring positive impact to all communities. At the meeting, we lifted up a set of policy priorities, including:
This meeting is part of the Muslim organizing project led by IMAN Associates, Faith in Indiana and Masjid Alfajr, to empower the community and amplify the Muslim voice. We thank everyone for their participation and we look forward to future opportunities to continue to build bridges and make our communities safe.
Interested in joining the next meeting?
With the first half of the legislative session coming to a close, it has been a busy time for us at the Statehouse.
We were primarily involved in four fights in the first half: refugee assistance, TANF/SNAP benefits, voting rights and anti educator language. Our refugee assistance bill did not get a hearing in the House, however we are looking at bills that survived the first half to put our language in.
While Senator Qaddoura's resolution to look at redistricting didn't get a hearing due to the short session, we have been in communication with Senator Ford and his staff to continue working on this issue over the summer and will continue to fight for fair elections.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have been under attack this session (HB 1354 and HB 1410) and we are working with community groups like FISH to help preserve these benefits for our most at risk citizens. We've helped blunt many of the worst parts of this legislation and will continue to work on this language as it moves to the Senate.
We've been monitoring voting rights language and will continue to make sure that all citizens have access to the ballot box and fair elections.
Finally, we've been involved with the fight for "transparency in education" aka the anti Critical Race Theory bills that have been on the news. We successfully got the Senate to kill one bill (SB 167); however, there is still a House bill (HB 1134) for us to take care of. We believe the Senate does not have the appetite to hear the bill, and we will continue to apply pressure so they don't. Help us put pressure on your state senator by urging them to vote NO on HB1134.
We still have a few days left in the first half and anything can happen. We will continue to fight for your interests at the Statehouse and keep you apprised as things develop.
"Re-imagine Public Safety" Community Event
On Saturday, January 22, 2022, IMAN Associates, in collaboration with Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA) and Faith in Indiana, hosted more than 20 Muslim community members to discuss what public safety means to our community. Participants shared personal stories and reflected on how current policies impacted their lives. Racial and religious profiling and insensitivity to the diverse culture of our community were among the many concerns shared in the meeting. The group decided that "cultural and religious sensitivity training to law enforcement" can help mitigate many of the issues faced by our community on a daily basis.
Next Steps? The group plans to meet with the Marion County Prosecutor's office to discuss the proposal. If you are interested in attending this meeting, please contact us.
Public Service at the Grassroots Level
Party will hold its 2022 convention on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at the Indiana Convention Center (Indianapolis, IN). As for the Indiana Republican Party, it will hold its 2022 Convention on the same day but at the Indiana Farmers’ Coliseum.
The 2022 State Convention Delegates get to attend various party committee meetings and consider the Party platform during the state convention. They also get to nominate their party’s candidates for the offices of Secretary of State, State Treasurer and State Auditor.
Wondering if you qualify? You’d be surprised!
You must live in the precinct you are representing and be a qualified voter. You are required to have previously voted in the primary for the party in which you are voting OR haven’t voted in a primary before and have declared affiliation with the party.
Muslims are underrepresented in our US politics and we at IMAN Associates would love to support you on your journey to becoming a Precinct Committee Chair and state convention delegate. Let's walk you through the filing process:
1. Identify your precinct and district (many have changed since the 2020 census). Go to Indianavoters.in.gov and click on "Register to Vote" or "Check Your Registration Status." After you log in, your voting information, including the Precinct number, will be displayed on the main page.
2. Download CAN-37 form, and complete it with accurate information.
3. Sign the form in front of a notary.
4. Hand deliver the form to your County’s Clerk office before the deadline (Feb. 4, 2022 at noon).
If you decide to run for both positions, make sure to complete two separate CAN-37 forms.
Check our newsletters for the latest updates at the Indiana Statehouse and upcoming events in the Muslim community.