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Newsletter - January 20, 2022

LWVIN | Published on 1/20/2022



LEAGUE DAY AT THE STATEHOUSE 2022
A recap of League Day at the Statehouse may be found HEREIt includes photos, video of the presentations, documents available for the event, and media coverage of the event. About 40 members attended the program and visited with their legislators about League priorities. Next year we hope to have fewer constraints on attendance and make our presence in the Statehouse more obvious!

League Day was also registered as one of the January 6 Unity Day of Remembrance /Defend Democracy events around the country. We had 32 registrants, but only a few showed up to send postcards or check their registration.We hope they learned something more about the League in the process.

REDISTRICTING REFORM - GOING FORWARD!
Our legislative agenda is focused on a constitutional amendment that would remove the mapping responsibility from the legislature and place it instead in a multi-partisan citizens commission. Legislators who have opposed a citizens commission in the last decade have said their hands are tied by the Indiana Constitution.SJR 14, a Senate Joint Resolution sponsored by Senator Fady Qaddoura, would remove that impediment. The text of the resolution may be found HERE.

We’ve put out a call for phone calls and emails to Senator Jon Ford and members of the Senate Elections Committee to put SJR 14 on the agenda so it can be discussed, debated, and voted out to the full Senate while the most recent redistricting process is fresh in legislators’ minds.

Senator Ford will have to act today, January 20, to put it on the agenda for next Monday. If you have not contacted him, do so today! Senator.Ford@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9400. Voicing our support is necessary to propel this resolution forward!

Other committee members who need to hear from constituents:

If you are in Johnson or Bartholomew Counties, please contact Senator Greg Walkerand ask him to support SJR 14. 
Senator.Greg.Walker@iga.in.gov 317-232-9984
If you are in Saint Joseph or Elkhart Counties, Senator Linda Rogers needs to hear from you. Senator.Rogers@iga.in.gov 317-232-9400

At League Day we coordinated with All IN for Democracyto highlight our skewed maps and we initiated our Democracy Hanging by a Thread Quilt project. The Coalition is mirroring that with a virtual quilt and potentially other virtual and physical models. The quilt project may well be finished before we accomplish redistricting reform, but we will display it until democracy no longer hangs by a thread!

Linda Hanson, LWVIN co-president



VOTER SERVICES COORDINATION COMMITTEE UPDATE

2020 General Election Report and Analysis

The extensive 2020 Report is published! Thank you to Ken Jones and his team of researchers in providing us a wealth of information regarding an overall view, and by each county, of General Election activity. During the 2021 IGA session we heard legislators frequently ask “what’s the data for that?” and rarely heard data offered. Now we may have the answer. You may view the complete report, and see the summary recommendations, on LWVIN.org under Resources/Voter Services

The Report has been provided to all Senate and House Election Committee members. The complete report has also been provided to all County Clerks. The County Clerks were invited to provide feedback if they saw data they disagreed with or have other questions. Local leagues are encouraged to work with their County Clerk to begin a dialogue about the information and how the local league may work in partnership with the Clerk.

Jan 17th MLK Day Conner Prairie
Indy and Hamilton County members staffed an all day event to provide voter registration, VOTE411 information and additional voting rights information. We had 57 direct attendee engagements to discuss voting rights.

2022 IGA Election legislation
Bill information is now being accumulated to be evaluated and watched for legislator messaging opportunities. We hope to have strong local support of messaging local legislators regarding support/opposition for particular bills and amendments. You may follow IGA election/voting rights bills via LWVIN.org. On the Home page scroll down the middle frame to “Informed Voters”.

We’re always looking for support from our local league members. Email voterservicelwvin@gmail.com if you would like to increase your participation or have questions.

Ken Jones, Patrice Waidner, and Jorgena Watson



ROSTER REMINDER FOR MEMBERSHIP CHAIRS OR TREASURERS
The annual roster count date is very close… January 31.

Be sure your membership is up-to-dateon the national roster since this count is used to determine the PMP statements that will be sent this summer.

For ClubExpress-based leagues: Your rosters will be automatically updated and you do not need to update the national roster. Just be sure any non-renewing members are listed either as “Expired” or “Dropped”. You can find more information on the state website at lwvin.org/clubexpress.


Thomas K Gardiner, LWVIN Treasurer

The Center for Inquiry Indiana will hold its annualIndiana Civic Day at the State Library on Saturday, February 12.

Speakers include Julia Vaughn of Common Cause, Barb Tully of Indiana Vote by Mail, Kit Malone of the Indiana ACLU, Tim Maloney of the Hoosier Environmental Council, Pam Locker of the League of Women Voters of Indiana on Women's Health, Marilyn Shank of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and Hal Johnston of the Indianapolis Veterans Court.

Members of the League can attend for the member price of $10. An optional lunch is available for $15.

Go HERE 
for more information and to register.




DID YOU KNOW? YOU CAN GO SOLAR BY JUNE 2022 TO QUALIFY FOR 10 YEARS OF NET-METERING!

What is net-metering, and why does it matter for installing solarpanels?

Well, it’s a part of what makes solar a great financialinvestment. Net-metering credits solar owners for the energy they contribute to the grid at the same value as the energy they draw from the grid. In other words, your energy company pays you the same amount as they charge you per watt.

But SEA 309 is changingthat
. Installations after June 2022 will no longer be eligible fornet-metering and can expect to be credited only $0.03/kWh whilestill paying three to four times as much. That’s a huge change inaffordability!
To make the most of solar energy - a great investmentthat eliminates your energy bills and can pay for itself within 10years -install your system now.Solarize Indiana, a volunteer-lednon-profit, is here to help you navigate the process.Sign up for one of their free workshops at solarizeindiana.org/events and take your first step to clean, affordable energy!

Our thanks to the Greater Lafayette Climate Action Plan Nov. newsletter for this article.
NATIONAL RESOURCES ACTION ALERT
As we enter a new week for the 2022 Indiana General Assembly, here are our top priorities for action. There are only two more weeks before the deadline to hear and pass bills in their house of origin, so we need to act quickly.

ASK YOUR STATE SENATOR to ask Sen. Messmer to schedule hearings 
in his Environmental Affairs Committee on three critically important pieces of legislation that we support. (If Ron Alting is your senator, also thank him for sponsoring the climate change legislation mentioned below.)

SB 412, SAFE COAL ASH DISPOSAL. This bipartisan bill would keep coal ash out of Indiana's groundwater and floodplains. Currently, Indiana’s interpretation of existing laws is resulting in toxic coal ash from unlined disposal sites contaminating local groundwater and floodplains.

SB 255 & SCR 3, ON CLIMATE CHANGE. SB 255, a bipartisan bill, would establish a Climate Change Task Force that would develop a statewide plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a vibrant sustainable economy. SCR 3 is a resolution that acknowledges climate change as a serious economic problem for Indiana. The driving force behind these bills is Confront the Climate Crisis, an organization founded by an amazing group of Indiana youth leaders.

ASK YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE to oppose two bills
, both up for full House votes, that would greatly weaken procedural handling of environmental issues:

HB 1100, AGENCY OVERSIGHT AND RULEMAKING PROCEDURES. A HARMFUL “NO MORE STRINGENT THAN” BILL would prevent the state from adopting environmental standards that are deemed “more stringent than” corresponding federal rules. Opposition to this bill is important because there are cases in which Indiana-specific standards are called for in order to protect our environment.

HB 1063, DE NOVO JUDICIAL REVIEW OF CERTAIN AGENCY ACTIONS 
WHICH ALLOWS MORE UNDUE INDUSTRY INFLUENCE OVER ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY DECISION-MAKING and would shift the burden of proof to the state environmental agencies instead of the current standard which puts the burden of proof on the industry to prove that an agency’s enforcement action is unlawful.

Thank you so much for taking action on the priority issues listed above.
If you have more time, please contact your state representativeto

Support the following bills by urging that hearings be held:
HB 1334, which provides a tax credit for landowners to preserve their wetlands.
HB 1304 and HB 1136, rooftop solar net metering bills. Net metering is important because it credits solar owners at the retail rate for any solar-generated electricity which they do not use on-site.

And to vote for HB 1196, in the upcoming House vote to prevent homeowner associations from prohibiting rooftop solar.

Kristina Lindborg, Cheryl Chapman, Liz Solberg, and Lisa Harris
Co-chairs, Natural Resources Advocacy

WANT TO RECEIVE ACTION ALERTS
, SO THAT YOU CAN KEEP UP ON ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION? Please contact us at kristina.lindborg@gmail.comAlso let us know if you have ideas to share and would like to get more involved with our work. We would love to have your help in protecting Indiana’s natural resources and addressing climate change.


REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS UPDATE
We began this year by sending the Governor and all the state legislators an email message entitled “League of Women Voters of Indiana’s Support of Reproductive Justice and Opposition to Texas SB8 Style Legislation in Indiana.”

This message, sent out Sunday, reaffirms the League’s statement that “public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.” It urges the state legislature to NOT pass vigilante legislation similar to Texas SB 8. It further encourages legislators to “provide supportive measures by encouraging contraceptive access through insurance, medical facilities, clinics, pharmacies, etc. Wanting to reduce abortions goes hand in hand with preventing pregnancy.”

This letter was co-signed by the Indiana League co-presidents, Linda Hanson and Barb Schilling, as well as 15 local Indiana Leagues-- Anderson and Madison County, Brown County, Calumet Area, Elkhart County, Fort Wayne Area, Greater Lafayette, Greencastle, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Howard County, LaPorte County, Muncie-Delaware County, Porter County, Southwestern Indiana, and Vigo County. 19 individual League members also signed it.

We want to thank Joanne Evers for all the work she put into this.


We are monitoring a wide range of bills covering wage history and wage range inquiries, equal pay, sexual health education, federal childcare funds during COVID, Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, jury duty and pregnant mothers, paid family and medical leave, restraint of pregnant inmates, health care for incarcerated women, maternal morbidity reporting, pharmacist prescribed hormonal birth control, regulations on health care providers, and postpartum contraception.

There are currently 4 anti-abortion bills. The one that stands out is a trigger ban bill SB 309 authored by Republican Erin Houchin. SB 309 would call the Indiana General Assembly back into session if Roe v. Wade is overturned or dismantled, allowing Indiana to immediately outlaw or severely limit access to safe and legal abortion.

Senator Liz Brown had promised to file a Texas SB 8-style bill this session, but word has it that leadership has decided to wait until further action by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the Texas and Mississippi anti-abortion bills before them.

So much depends on the SCOTUS ruling on Dobbs vs. Whole Women’s Health.The state of Indiana had asked the U.S. Seventh Circuit to lift a block of abortion restrictions allowed to stand by federal judge Sarah Barker. The Seventh Circuit said last week that they would delay ruling on the challenge until SCOTUS weighs in on Roe vs. Wade at the end of June.

Pam Locker, Joanne Evers, Sabrina Glidden, and Betsy Kachmar
LWVIN Women’s Health Advocates




The Bloomington-Monroe County League has a new podcast on election security on our website at
https://lwv-bmc.org/podcasts

Please watch it and forward it to your local legislators!
Ann Birch, Bloomington-Monroe County League

AGREEING TO DISAGREE, HOW LOCAL LEADERS LEAD

When the street department announced it would put a four-way stop just around the corner from Dari-Licious at Oak and Market streets, a Facebook acquaintance lamented that he’d not attended city meetings. He wasn’t enthused about the change to traffic there. When the county divided over wind farms, those who opposed them attended more meetings and made their voices louder than supporters. Whether it’s traffic flow or how we’ll power our community, local politics affect our daily lives far more than national politics does. Speaking up and trusting our leaders to find working compromises matters.

Our mayor, council people, commissioners, school boards, clerk, judges, among others, “make the decisions that educate our children, police our streets, assist our businesses, handle medical emergencies, put out fires, remove garbage, operate our courts and jails, handle foster care, serve our seniors, create space for recreation, and any number of social services we take for granted- until they go awry or go away,” wrote Harold Dean Trulear about the value of local elected leaders in a PRISM magazine column. Trulear urged readers to “pay more attention to the supporting cast than the celebrities.”

Yet fewer of us vote in local elections, read up on local decisions, or connect with our local leaders, even though we have strong and diverse opinions about our community. 
We grieve the concentration of grocery stores on one side of town, object to more dollar stores, and stew as we wait for trains to clear city tracks. On social media, we trade tips about which landlords to avoid and hunt for reliable daycare. We wonder if our county will have public transportation to the new county building. Meanwhile Councilman Mike Reidy noted in November that almost no one attends city council meetings. A few of us tune into Mayor Barton’s podcast or WBAA’s “Ask the Mayor.” Some of us navigate to the Montgomery County Facebook page to follow Tom Klein’s updates in the county.

We elect representatives to listen to our will and construct the policies that are best for us. We trust them to put the unum into E Pluribus Unum, to make “out of many, one.” In other words, to create a workable unity to ensure the community thrives in the present and for the future.

We trust that when they sit down together, they treat one another civilly, thus taking the civic part of their duty seriously. We trust that they hash out the emails, conversations, and concerns we citizens bring to them. Most of them work at being available to listen and respond to constituents. Imagine then, how our council people, mayor and other elected officials have to synthesize all that they hear and take conscientious actions.

Their challenge became clear at November’s “Running for Office” event when members of 4H’s high school leadership team guided attendees through an exercise meant to show just how hard it can be to agree to disagree
. The 4H leaders demonstrated how every person, even those who might closely affiliate with one another, have unique perspectives.

To demonstrate, the young people handed participants five recipe cards and asked them to write Agree, Mildly Agree, Neutral, Mildly Disagree, Disagree on the cards. They instructed participants not to debate but to hold up one of the cards after they read statements about local concerns which have generated discussion in our community. Position statements included topics such as universal, free preschool, voting IDs, broadband access, wind farms, and affordable housing. After holding up cards, the student leaders asked for a few voices to explain their (dis)agreement. Remember this is not a debate, they reminded us.

When responding to the statement about free public preschool, council people with different party affiliations noted preschool is good, but that “free” was their red flag. The funds have to come from somewhere. The question is how much and in what way we’d fund preschool.

Regarding wind power in the county, Former Councilman Aaron Morgan stated that he personally didn’t oppose them but more people who were opposed made their voices heard. He felt compelled to represent their will, not his own. When it came to affordable housing, most people agreed we needed more, but affordable for a retiree differs from what is affordable for single parents, lawyers, or a disabled person.

All of this reinforced what Mayor Barton said about local elected officials. Whichever their party- Republican, Independent, Democrat or other- they are on the same team: Montgomery County. Winning teams are built on having players with different perspectives, discernment, and skills, who round each other out.

Maria Reynolds-Weir
Montgomery County League



LWVUS PROGRAM PLANNING 2022-2024

Program Planning materials for 2022-2024 are available on the League Management Site!

PROGRAM PLANNING LEADERS GUIDE
PROGRAM PLANNING SURVEY


Jessica Jones Capparell, Director of Government Affairs, League of Women Voters of the United States

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