Category Archives: Campaign for Hoosier Families

The Right to Drive – Possible Legislation Coming

An estimated 4.5 million undocumented immigrants nationwide are driving regularly, most without licenses. In 2019, legislators in several states introduced legislation to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented residents including Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. Legislation in New York passed in the State Assembly and is now in the State Senate. At the moment only twelve states issuing licenses without proof of legal residence in the United states; those states being: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Vermont and Washington.


It is our understanding that State Representative Chris Campbell, who represents a large portion of Lafayette/West Lafayette, will be authoring legislation that will allow persons residing in Indiana, who do not possess the necessary immigration documents to otherwise qualify for a standard drivers’ license, to receive a driver’s card


Many states have adopted tough new laws to prevent illegal immigrants from driving, while expanding immigration enforcement by state and local police. The Department of Homeland Security figures show that at least 30,000 undocumented immigrants who were stopped for common traffic violations in the last three years have ended facing deportation. The numbers are rapidly increasing, and as a result are aggravating tensions in the national debate over immigration.

What has been asked of Indiana, multiple times, is for the state to approve a permit for undocumented residents. This permit would allow individuals to fearlessly travel to work, take their children to school, and to give them a peace of mind. In this day and age it is difficult to live depending on public transportation. The permit being discussed would provide reliable transportation to undocumented residents. Sadly, time and time again that legislation establishing a permit for undocumented residents to drive has been proposed it has quickly been rejected.


by Brenda Barrera, Campaign for Hoosier Families Intern

Helpful Tech for Contacting Your Legislators

Making Your Voice Heard in a Few Simple Steps

by Rob Krasa, LUM intern

The 2019 Session of the Indiana General Assembly may be nearing its conclusion, but the need to let your representatives know where you stand should not end with it. Today’s technology has made the process of reaching out easier than ever. It offers us a chance to contact those who represent us, whether locally or on the national stage, with just a few mouse clicks or text messages. Here are a few ways to utilize the internet to get involved in the legislative process:


Indiana General Assembly Website

This page on the Indiana General Assembly website makes it easy to find who represents you in both the Indiana State House as well as in the United States Congress. Simply entering your home address will provide phone numbers, email addresses and web pages to allow you to contact your elected officials with relative ease.

Indiana General Assembly, click HERE.


ResistBot

ResistBot is an automated system which not only provides contact information for legislators that represent you, but allows you to generate and send correspondence directly to your representatives with a few simple text messages, tweets, or Facebook messages. Simply text the word “resist” to 50409, tweet it @resistbot, or send it in a message to ResistBot on Facebook and follow the system’s prompts to generate and send a formally-formatted letter to the representative of your choice. You can also use ResistBot to make your opinion known to relevant legislators based on particular topics and issues as well.

Click HERE.


Capitol Call

Capitol Call is an app for Android and iPhone which will locate your legislators for you and get you in touch with their office via phone with just one tap of a button. It also provides alternate contact information and easily links you to other ways to get in touch if you don’t prefer making a call. The app also maintains an Action Center to keep you up to date on current issues, and how to best direct your opinion to make a difference where you want to see it the most.

Click HERE.


Countable

Focused primarily on the U.S. Congress, Countable is another website and app for Android and iPhone which not only offers opportunities and assistance for contacting your legislators, but also stays up to date with summaries and progress updates for all legislation moving through Congress. Simply visit the website or download the app and follow the prompts to begin your bill tracking or contact efforts.

Click HERE.

Substance Abuse Prevention Programs

On February 27, Senate Bill 111was referred to the House for further consideration. The bill, authored by Senators Eric KochErin Houchin, and John Crane, seeks to establish the Community and Faith Based Substance Abuse Program. If passed, SB 111 will enable the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to establish and administer this grant. The legislation would also fund a Community and Faith Based Substance Abuse Transportation Assistance Grant Program. Signaling widespread support for the bill, SB111 moved quickly through the Senate Family and Children Services and Appropriations committees. Twenty-three days after its first reading in the Senate, SB 111 passed with a roll call vote of 49 yeas and 0 nays. Unfortunately to date there has been no movement on the bill since being forwarded to the House of Representatives.

This bill, if passed, will help Hoosiers struggling with substance abuse across the state. Enabling both community and faith based programs to apply for grants to help with recovery is an important step in the right direction. According to a 2017 report by the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, 5.9% of Hoosiers had an alcohol use disorder within a year of the study. 30.8% of Hoosiers also reported tobacco use in the past month. These numbers, as well as the continued prevalence of hard drug use by some, are alarming. Understanding that substance abuse is an issue which affects individuals and families across the state, it is commendable that the General Assembly is considering such a bill. Hopefully, Senate Bill 111 will become law in the not to distant future.  

When asked to comment on whether the bill would be helpful to the homeless population served by Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter director, David Heckert commented, “It would be another option for our homeless guests a majority of whom struggle with addiction. It would also be a resource for building the capacity of existing programs as well as helping to starting new ones by making additional state and Federal funds available. I am pleased that providers, policy makers, and law enforcement officials are now considering addiction to be a chronic disease rather than a personal choice.”

To view the Report on Substance Abuse in Indiana, click HERE.

Capping Payday Loan Interest Rates

Hoosier Are In Need

by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern

It is a sad day for all of us at Campaign for Hoosier Families.  Senate Bill 104, which capped interest rates on payday loans, was defeated in the third reading with a vote of 22 yeas and 27 nays and will not continue any further this session. Consequently, the bill which we all had high hopes for is now dead. Originally authored by Senator Greg Walker and Senator John Ruckelshaus, this bill seemed to have the support needed at the State Capitol in order to pass both houses and become law. At the time of third reading, SB-104 had eight co-authors.Senate Bill 84 and House Bill 1098 which also addressed small loan finance charges did not make it passed the first reading.

To share your story, click HERE.

by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern

Indiana Minimum Wage Update

As you know raising the minimum wage is a priority for Campaign for Hoosier Families. While the minimum wage bills introduced in this current session did not move through the Indiana General Assembly this year, we encourage you during the off session to let your State Representative and State Senator know that you support raising the Indiana minimum wage as well overall income equality so that they may be persuaded to address it next year.

To find your legislators, click HERE.

Legislative Report – End of Third Quarter

Update for the C4HF Director

Dear Advocates –

As we enter the 4th Quarter of the 2019 Indiana General Assembly, I just wanted to let you know that we have a new C4HF Advisory Board, Haley Compston. Haley is a Junior at Purdue and is majoring in Communication. An interesting fact about Haley when she was 16 she was chosen to represent the City of Indianapolis at the Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit. Haley has always been interested in government, politics, and writing. She joined the C4HF Advisory Board thinking it would be a great way to be more informed and to do her part for the community while gaining professional experience at the same time.

I also wanted to share with you that we will be losing our student leader, Angela Weaver. Angela will be graduating from Purdue in May and following graduation will be spending the summer in DC and then relocating to Indianapolis in August. When asked about her experience as the Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy Intern, Angela shared “I enjoyed getting to learn about the legislative process and different efforts the Indiana General Assembly is doing to provide for low-income families.” We are grateful to Angela for recruiting new ambassadors as well as advisory board members as well as adding additional content and interest to the newsletter. Under her leadership the quality of the content as well as the reach of the C4HF newsletter has improved. We wish Angela much success in her future career.

We are always looking for volunteer C4HF Advisory Board Members. C4HF volunteers have the opportunity to contribute newsletter articles, engage legislators, build the C4HF listserv, and assist with grassroots mobilization and community outreach activities. As Haley pointed out “it’s great way to be more informed and to make a difference in your community while at the same time gaining professional experience.”
I am grateful to all of you for your interest and support of issues impacting low income families and individuals. Please continue to make your voice heard.
Godspeed,

The Rev. Susan Brouillette, Director
Campaign for Hoosier Families 

C4HF Minimum Wage Survey Results

Members of our own community weigh in with their opinions

In a previous newsletter, we offered our readers a chance to voice their opinions on the issue of minimum wage and how it impacts them personally in our community.  We appreciate all of our respondents taking the time to share their thoughts, and for giving us a cross section of where people stand on the matter locally. We discuss in this article some trends in responses when parsing the results.

A robust 95% of respondents believe that the current minimum age is not enough income to maintain a stable living.  As discussed in previous articles, the math checks out in support of this result as well.  The current minimum wage in Indiana has not kept up with inflation and increases in costs which have occurred since the last increase in 2009. This result appears to correlate with real-life experiences.  94% of respondents reported having worked a minimum wage job during their lifetime and almost the same number of respondents (90%) of respondents supported raising the minimum wage in Indiana.

We also asked respondents how an increase of $1 to their hourly wage would make an impact for them.  Some respondents conceded that this would make only a small difference, but many were adamant that that even a $1 increase would provide significant help in keeping up with bills, their ability to save, and reduce overall financial stress in their day-to-day lives.  Those who did support an increase were asked what the state minimum wage should be,  and most respondents favored increasing the minimum wage to a rate between  $10.00-$11.00 an hour.   This result falls reasonably in line with most of the legislation which has been proposed in this year’s General Assembly session.

A majority of responses also indicated that an increase would have a positive impact on the local economy, allowing more people to have more spending power which would support local businesses.  While the majority of respondents favored a increase in the minimum wage, some respondents believed that an increase would have a detrimental impact by raising prices on various goods and services and therefore negatively affect employment rates.  Recent studies indicate that this has not been the trend in locales where there has been significant increases in the minimum wage.

Overall, our survey results sheds light on strong support for an increase in the state minimum wage within the Lafayette community where Campaign for Hoosier Families is based.  Legislation currently introduced in the General Assembly needs our continued support to move forward. Remember to visit iga.in.gov for contact information to reach out to committee chairs and legislators who have the power to move these bills forward and make sure they are aware of your support of this issue.  Please also continue to submit your responses to our survey, the link to which can be found in this issue, and let us know where you stand.  And, as always, keep an eye on the Campaign’s Legislation Tracker, included in each issue going forward, to stay up to date on the status of not only these bills but all legislation related to topics covered in our newsletter.

by Rob Krasa, LUM Intern


1 U.S. News, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2018-09-07/minimum-wage-increases-didnt-impact-jobs-in-6-us-cities-study-shows

2 The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Total Number of Jobs: Evidence from the United States Using a Bunching Estimator, https://www.sole-jole.org/17722.pdf


C4HFMinimum Wage Survey

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Increasing minimum wage has been an ongoing issue in the State of Indiana. The majority of Indiana residents have stated that they believe our minimum wage is not enough and needs to be increased. The Campaign for Hoosier Families is interested in your opinion regarding the status of minimum wage in Indiana. We seek this information to guide our efforts in regards to the upcoming Indiana General Assembly Session. The Campaign for Hoosier Families strives to best represent those for whom it advocates and would greatly appreciate your input. Please complete this survey by clicking here.

by Angela Weaver, Intern for the Campaign for Hoosier Families

Redistricting Reform – The Latest News

Gerrymandering in Indiana

A redistricting standards bill authored by Senator Greg WalkerSenator Randall HeadSenator Mike Bohacek (Senate Bill 105) , and co-authored by Senator John Ruckelshaus, passed through the Elections Committee on February 4 in a 5-2 vote, meaning it now will move to the Senate floor for consideration. In its current state, the bill would require legislative action at the state and federal levels to ensure that minority voices are represented and at the same time minimize divisions in areas which are likely to share common interests, including neighborhoods and school districts. Deviations from these standards would be required to be disclosed. While Senate Bill 105 establishes redistricting standards which is a good start, it does not specify how the commission is to be comprised. As the Indiana Institute apply points out, “Who is drawing the district maps is just as important as the standards by which the maps are drawn.”  The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting All in 4 Democracy which Campaign for Hoosier Families is a member, would prefer Senate Bill 91 and House bill 1011 (Senate and House companion) as vehicles for Redistricting Reform since they call for an independent commission to be appointed by the legislative leadership.

by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student

IN General Assembly TANF Reform Bill – 2019

Learn More & Help Make A Change

Several state senators have authored a bill which seeks to begin much-needed reform to the TANF program. As highlighted in our previous newsletter, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides much-needed temporary financial assistance benefits for families as well as individuals which find themselves in dire financial situations. It is intended to ensure some sense of stability for those in such situations, but as we discussed, has been in need of reform for quite some time.

Senate Bill 440 aims to expand the eligibility requirements for receiving such benefits – based on the family’s income in relation to the federal poverty level. The bill would gradually increase the maximum allowable income to qualify for benefits under TANF up to 50% of the federal poverty level by July of 2021. The new threshold would be an increase of 17% providing access to benefits for many more Hoosiers in need. In addition, the bill aims to increase the payments made under the TANF program for most qualifying individuals and families, and would require these benefit amounts to continue to be monitored and adjusted according to increases in the Social Security cost of living adjustment. New payments would range from $248 monthly for most qualifying individuals and $409 monthly for families.

While the new payment amounts are not nearly enough to provide stability for qualifying people on their own, this is an encouraging move in response to awareness efforts by advocates such as yourselves to make the need for reform known. Expanding eligibility requirements is also a positive move forward for reforming this program and addressing the needs of those most impacted. To track the progress of this bill, as well as all bills moving forward in the 2019 session related to topics covered in the Campaign for Hoosier Families newsletter, see our Legislation Tracker (click HERE).

by Rob Krasa, LUM intern

Solving Food Deserts: One Bill at a Time

Families Need Healthy Food Locally

House Bill 1143 (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1143#digest-heading), authored byRepresentative Robin Shackleford and co-authored by Representative Steven Davisson, Edward Clere, and Vanessa Summers seeks to combat the prevalence of food deserts in the state, establishing both a healthy food financing fund and a healthy food financing program under the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The new fund will act to provide financing, in the form of loans and grants, for projects that will help increase the availability of fresh food in underserved communities. This is an important step in ensuring the health of Hoosiers across Indiana.

The bill has not moved since it was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the Indiana House of Representatives on January 7th. While the bill has yet to be heard by committee, its presence in the state’s legislative agenda illustrates legislators is encouraging since it signals that legislators are aware of food security problems within the state.  This map of Indianapolis illustrates the prevalence of food deserts,indicated by purple block groups, in Indianapolis. This map is courtesy of Savi, one of the nation’s first and largest community information systems.

by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student