Category Archives: Social Justice

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.

Biased Crimes Legislation – Senate Bill 12

Progress for Indiana

A biased crimes bill (IN Senate Bill 12) authored by Senators Ron Alting and Mike Bohacek and sponsored in the House by Representatives Gregory Steuerwald and Anthony Cook, has now moved through the Senate and is currently awaiting hearing in the House of Representatives. In its current form the the bill’s language allows a court to consider bias as an aggravating factor when imposing a criminal sentence. Prior to final passage in the Senate, the bill was amended regarding victim characteristics and replaced with the words “including bias.” Supporters of the bill in its amended form site that it would allow judges to more freely determine whether bias was an aggravating circumstance when a crime is committed without being constrained by specific language. While some legislators are pleased with the bill in its current form, a number of individuals in the House and Senate are pushing for the bill’s original language. Many legislators are displeased with the lack of specificity. Foremost among them are the bill’s original authors, Senators Alting and Bohacek. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb also supports reinserting victim characteristics in the bill. The Governor has indicated that any so called hate crime bill that did not include victim characteristics would signal that Indiana is reticent on hate crimes in general and would not have the intended effect of portraying the State in a favorable light. The business community in Indiana is pushing for the passing of this bill along with a list of specific victim characteristics, as many believe that having legislation regarding bias crimes would improve Indiana and its reputation, especially for business owners. It is noteworthy that Indiana is one of five states that do not currently have their own law regarding bias crimes.

by Haley Compston, Purdue Communication student

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 

Indiana State Senator Greg Taylor

Highlighted Legislator

It comes with great pleasure to introduce our next highlighted legislator, Senator Greg Taylor. Senator Taylor was first elected in 2011, where he has proudly represented District 33. This district includes Northwest Indianapolis which includes the area around the Indianapolis Museum of Art and The Children’s Museum. Senator Taylor is married to Danielle and they have three children together: Jackson, Savannah, and Estella. He went to Law School at Indiana University. Senator Taylor is also a member of the Great Light Church, the Indiana State Bar Association, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers.

Like Senator Ron Alting who we featured in the last issue, Senator Taylor is very passionate about bias-motivated crimes prompting him to author Senate Bill 469. Although this bill did not make it any farther than the First Reading, this bill protected individuals who have suffered from personal injury because of a biased crime. During the 2018 Session, Senator Taylor also authored Senate Resolution 60 which called for an interim study committee to make recommendations on legislation in this year’s session. When asked why he authored the resolution, Senator Taylor told the Indiana Senate Democrats, “This is a huge step forward for all those in Indiana who has ever been wrongly harmed or had their property vandalized due to the color of their skin, their religious affiliation or their sexual orientation”. We are very lucky to have a Senator who is so passionate about resolving the issue of bias-motivated crimes. On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Senator Taylor for all the hard work he has done.

Indiana State Senator Ron Alting

Highlighted Legislator

We are pleased to highlight, Greater Lafayette’s own, Ron Alting. Senator Alting is a Lafayette native and graduated from Lafayette Jefferson High School and Purdue University. He represents District 22 which consists of the Greater Lafayette area. Sen. Alting was originally elected to the Senate in 1998 and currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader Emeritus and chairs the Public Policy committee.

In the current session, Senator Alting authored Senate Bill 12 which would help victims of bias crimes. This bill would send the message that the State of Indiana will not tolerate hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, or social group and add an additional count and penalty for any crime that is motivated by hate.

In a recent interview Campaign for Hoosier Families conducted with Senator Alting, we had the opportunity to ask him about Senate Bill 12. One question we asked prompted an insightful answer as to why Hoosiers need to support the bill; “the number one reason why we need to pass this bill is because it’s the right thing to do. It’s being on the right side of history and it’s just the right thing to do. We all are created equal. We all should be treated equally. There should never be winners or losers in civil rights.”

We are also grateful to him for partnering with LUM and adding his name to the Kilinker-Alting Family Family Advocacy Internship which is now in its 3rd year. On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Senator Alting for all he has done in the past and for all the work he will continue to do.

by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern

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

Highlighted Legislator – Carey Hamilton

Indiana State Representative Carey Hamilton

Representative Carey Hamilton recently authored House Bill 1098, a bill to cap the interest rates on payday loans. The cap on payday loans interest rates will make it so families are able to pay off the loans without having to worry about astronomical interest rates. (See the article above titled “Targeting Low Income Families & Children” for more information about the threat posed by the predatory lenders and Representative Hamilton’s bill.)

State Representative Carey Hamilton has done tremendous things during her time in office. Representative Carey Hamilton currently serves as the Democratic whip in the Indiana House of Representatives and represents Indiana House District 87 in Northeast Indiana. Representative Hamilton serves as the ranking minority member of the Financial Institutions Committee as well as serving on the Environmental Affairs and Ways and Means Committees.

Representative Hamilton has quite the impressive background before she was even elected into the Indiana House of Representatives in 2016. For nine years, Representative Hamilton served as the executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition. Furthermore, she worked as a nonprofit executive for over 20 years.

On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Representative Hamilton for all she has done to push back against unscrupulous payday lenders. We will continue to follow and support House Bill 1098.

by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern