Indianapolis Urban League

Legislative News

“Know Your Interests”

A Community Call to Action Against Anti-Community Policing Bills and Support of Root Cause Solutions 

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WE NEED YOUR VOICES NOW! 

Knowledge is power. See what is going on and make your voice heard by contacting your legislator!

JOIN US!

Sign the petition to oppose SB 168, SB 394, SB 311, and HB 1427. Contact your legislator and make sure they hear your concerns.

INDIANAPOLIS URBAN LEAGUE IN ACTION

Know Your Interest Legislative News Final 2.11.21

We are tracking over 100 bills and weighing in against Anti-Community Policing Bills (HB 1033) and fighting for police reform (HB1006), and juvenile reform (SB 368), the Indianapolis Urban League has been active at the Indiana General Assembly in support of common-sense police reform legislation.

Now is the time to advocate not only for positive police reform and against anti-community policing legislation, but we also must support root cause solutions combating food deserts, improving tenant-landlord relationships, supporting mental health, and advocating for improvements in education.

We’ve also addressed efforts to chill the right to protest (194). 

Our letters of Advocacy: 
AACI Statement on SB 368,
Indianapolis Urban League Opposition to HB 1033, Indianapolis Urban
League Opposition to SB 194, IUL Use of Force Statement to House Ways and Means Committee.

This is not an exhaustive list of what is happening at the Indiana General Assembly and we will certainly engage on positive and detrimental bills impacting our community that are not on this list. We are watching and taking action.

Policies We’re Fighting Against…

                 Anti-Community Policing Bills

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We stand in solidarity with the business community, advocacy organizations, and the citizens who marched this summer to improve police and community relations.

Quick Facts

Click the red SB and HB links below to read the actual bill synopsis and bill language.

SB 168 – This bill seeks to replace Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) leadership with a five-person panel. Four of the appointments come from the governor.

This model is used in Kansas City where their crime was 15% higher than in Indianapolis.

The bill undoes community solutions developed like the majority citizen Use of Force Board and General Orders Boards and the Merit Board.

SB 311 – This bill eliminates adherence to a use of force policy including a use of force continuum based on the officer’s discretion.

This bill codifies the use of deadly force based on the dangerously problematic “an officer feared for their life” defense by removing the proportionate use of force in police-citizen encounters in Indianapolis.

HB 1376 Charitable bail organizations.

This bill makes it harder for charitable organizations to address the problem of the cash bail system.  The bill requires a non-profit to be certified by the commissioner of the department of insurance.

It limits the amount of cash bail that can be paid by a charitable organization to $2,000 or less on behalf of a defendant charged only with a misdemeanor.

HB 1033 Residency of police officers and firefighters. Removes the requirement that an individual residing in a county that is noncontiguous to a county in which a city is located live not more than 50 miles from a boundary of the city to be a member of that city’s police or fire department.

SB 394 & HB 1427

These bills harm community policing by eliminating both the citizen majority General Orders and Use of Force Boards. They prescribe the use of force standards based on the state’s law enforcement training board, as opposed to the community.

Also, they eliminate the ability of IMPD and police agencies across the state to have higher standards than the state’s law enforcement training board.

We also remain concerned about HB 1541 which eliminates the ability of a local community to develop ordinances pertaining to the tenant-landlord relationship.

HB 1070 and HB 1327 prohibit changes to public safety budgets consistent with defunding police movement and SB 198, SB 96, SB 34 and HB 1205 are various attempts at sending a chilling signal against to those who might be arrested during a protest.

This is not an exhaustive list of what is happening at the Indiana General Assembly and we will certainly engage on positive and detrimental bills impacting our community that are not on this list. We are watching and taking action.

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Policies We’re Fighting For…

                 Support of Root Cause Solutions

Police and Criminal Justice Reform Officer Misconduct, Chokeholds, Sentencing

HB 1006 Law enforcement officers.  1) Requires the Indiana law enforcement training board to establish mandatory training in de-escalation as part of the use-of-force curriculum and requires de-escalation training to be provided. 2) Establishes a procedure for decertifying an officer for misconduct. 3) Defines “chokehold” and prohibits the use of a chokehold under certain circumstances. 4) Specifies that an officer commits a Class A misdemeanor for turning off body camera to conceal criminal act. 5) Require sharing of personnel files for agencies hiring officers. Makes an appropriation to the Indiana law enforcement training academy for making capital improvements.

HB 1202 Sentencing. Establishes criteria for non-violent offenders to be released from prison if their current sentence is longer than the revised sentencing guidelines established in 2014. Provides for an education credit that reduces an inmate’s sentence. Establishes a process for sentence modification for non-violent offenders whose offense was committed before July 1, 2014.

HB 1199 Driving privileges. Provides that the bureau of motor vehicles (bureau) shall stay a suspension of a person’s driving privileges, and terminate that suspension, upon a showing of proof of future financial responsibility. Establishes process if a person cannot provide proof of financial responsibility after 180 days. Establishes a forbearance program that includes waiving of reinstatement fees and reinstates driving privileges for individuals completing a sentence but maintaining employment for three years. Extends traffic amnesty program for one year.

SB 110 Law enforcement officer misconduct database. Requires the law enforcement training board, in consultation with the office of technology, to establish a law enforcement misconduct database (database) that gives the public access to information on disciplinary actions against law enforcement officers.

SB 328 Dissemination of identifying information. Provides that if: (1) a person knowingly or intentionally disseminates the personally identifying information of a minor to intimidate, abuse, threaten, harass, or frighten the minor; and (2) the dissemination places the minor in reasonable fear of physical injury; the person commits unlawful dissemination of personally identifying information, a Class A misdemeanor.

SB 344 Prohibition of Use of Chokeholds. Defines “chokehold” and prohibits the use of a chokehold to effect an arrest except in a situation where deadly force is permitted.

Food Insecurity Changes in TANF and Food Desserts Addressed

HB 1009 TANF Exempts from being counted as income in determining eligibility for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program certain money earned by specified individuals pursuing a postsecondary degree, workforce certificate, pre-apprenticeship, or apprenticeship. Sets the income eligibility requirements for the TANF program at phased-in specified percentages of the federal income poverty level. Requires the division of family resources to amend the state TANF plan or take any other action necessary to implement the income requirements. Increases certain payment amounts under the TANF program. The bill includes additional provisions including cost of living adjustments and automatic rulemaking and makes other technical corrections.

HB 1146 Healthy Food Incubator. Healthy food incubator program. Establishes the healthy food incubator program fund (fund) and healthy food incubator program (program) under the administration of the Indiana housing and community development authority (IHCDA). Provides that the purpose of the fund is to provide financing in the form of loans or grants for projects that increase the availability of fresh and nutritious food in underserved communities. Defines underserved communities and applicant requirements and makes an appropriation to the fund.

SB 170 Food Desert Grant Program. Establishes the food desert grant program within the state department of health (ISDH) to assist new and existing retail businesses in offering fresh and unprocessed foods within a “food desert” (an underserved geographic area where, as determined by the ISDH, affordable fresh and healthy foods are difficult to obtain). Provides that a grant awarded under the program may be used to establish a new retail grocery store or to renovate, expand, or upgrade an existing retail business that will increase the availability and quality of fresh produce and other healthy foods. Requires the ISDH to consider certain criteria when determining whether to award a grant and requires the recipient of a grant to abide by certain terms and conditions. Establishes the food desert fund for purposes of awarding grants under the program. Requires the ISDH to report on the program annually to the general assembly.

Education Juvenile Justice Reforms, Equity, and Student Suicide Prevention

SB 33 Equity, diversity, and inclusion officers. Provides that each school corporation, charter school, and state-accredited nonpublic school shall maintain at least one equity, diversity, and inclusion officer. Establishes duties for the equity, diversity, and inclusion officer. Requires the department of education (department) to provide certain information and resources for an equity, diversity, and inclusion officer. Provides that the department, with the approval of the state board of education, may assign additional duties to an equity, diversity, and inclusion officer to: (1) improve comprehensive strategy fostering equitable, diverse, and inclusive training; and (2) provide and promote education to cultivate an awareness and understanding of the various federal, state, and local laws and policies regarding nondiscrimination. Requires an equity, diversity, and inclusion officer to meet certain annual professional development requirements. Requires each school corporation, charter school, and state-accredited nonpublic school to submit a report to the department. Requires that the school’s annual performance report include the number of times an equity, diversity, and inclusion officer responds to referrals by the governing body or school administrative staff.

SB 368 Juvenile justice. Requires the Indiana criminal justice institute to track the number of children committed to jail. Repeals the juvenile direct file statute, increases the age at which a court may waive juveniles in certain circumstances, and makes certain firearm offenses waivable. Provides for the automatic expungement of certain juvenile offenses. Removes the penalty of life without parole for persons who commit murder while less than 18 years of age. Makes it a mitigating factor for imposition of the death penalty that the defendant was less than 25 years of age. (Under current law, the mitigator applies if the defendant was less than 18.) Makes possession by a minor of marijuana and paraphernalia used with marijuana a juvenile status offense. Prohibits a juvenile arrestee who meets certain requirements from being housed with adult inmates prior to trial, with certain exceptions. Increases the availability of sentence modification for crimes committed by persons less than 18 years of age. Establishes a procedure for determining juvenile competency. Makes other changes and conforming amendments.

HB 1444 Comprehensive student support program. Establishes the comprehensive student support program (program) for the purposes of: (1) funding the formation and staffing of school-based and district-level comprehensive student support teams; (2) improving staffing ratios for student support personnel; (3) supporting the creation, expansion, and work of multidisciplinary school teams to address the school environment, school safety, school improvement, and crisis intervention and emergency preparedness; and (4) professional development for student support personnel. Provides that the board of education administers the program. Establishes the comprehensive student support program fund for the purpose of funding the program, and annually appropriates to the fund $1,000,000 from cigarette tax revenue, registration fees, fines, and penalties deposited in the state general fund.

We believe that the Indiana Department of Education should have a racial achievement gap policy which would not require a law, but rather an internal policy for the department.

Housing Rental Housing Reform

HB 1314 Recording discriminatory covenants. Permits a person to file a statement or notice that a recorded discriminatory covenant is invalid and unenforceable.

SB 270 Residential landlord-tenant matters. This bill establishes a series of protections for tenants and landlords by codifying processes and expectations for tenant-landlord relations.

Economics Rental Assistance, Property Taxes, Living Wage

SB 293 Central Indiana public transportation projects. Provides that for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2021, a nonprofit corporation in an eligible county must attempt to raise an amount that is equal to at least 2% of the revenue required to fund the annual operating expenses of a public transportation project from private donors. Provides that for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2021, revenue raised to fund the annual operating expenses of a public transportation project may only be used: (1) to purchase, establish, operate, repair, or maintain a public transportation project authorized under public transportation project law; or (2) to provide transportation-related services that benefit the eligible county.

SB 282 Rent, utilities, and mortgage assistance fund. Establishes the rental assistance, utility assistance, and mortgage assistance fund (fund) for the purpose of providing grants that may be used by an individual to make payments for: (1) rent; (2) electricity, water, sewage, or gas service; or (3) a mortgage on the individual’s residence; on which the individual is more than 30 days overdue. Specifies sources for the fund. Provides that the fund is administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (authority) and requires the authority to make information available to the public regarding the availability of grants from the fund. Appropriates $100,000,000 to the fund from federal relief funding provided by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

SB 334 Living wage minimum wage and employment benefits. Repeals the prohibition of local units from establishing, mandating, or requiring certain employee benefits. Allows for local units to maintain a higher minimum wage rate than the state’s minimum wage. After December 31, 2021, increases the minimum wage paid to certain employees from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour, then annually increases the minimum wage in $1 increments to $15 per hour through January 1, 2027.

HB 1011 Equal pay wage disclosure. Provides that it is an unlawful employment practice to: (1) pay wages that discriminate based on sex for substantially similar work; (2) discharge, discipline, discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any employee or other person because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared, or otherwise discussed the employee’s wages; (3) require as a condition of employment nondisclosure by an employee of the employee’s wages; or (4) require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose the employee’s wage information. Provides that the civil rights commission has jurisdiction for the investigation and resolution of complaints of these employment actions.

SB 99 Property taxes. Authorizes a county fiscal body to adopt an ordinance to provide a credit against the property tax liability for qualified individuals. Defines a “qualified individual” for purposes of the credit. Provides that the ordinance may designate: (1) all of the territory of the county; or (2) one or more specific geographic territories within the county; as an area in which qualified individuals may apply for the credit. Provides that the credit amount is equal to the amount by which property taxes on the property increased by more than 2% from the prior year (excluding any property tax liability imposed in a voter-approved referendum levy). Provides that the credit does not affect the allocation of taxes to a referendum fund. Requires a qualified individual who desires to claim the credit to file a certified statement with the county auditor. Provides that the county auditor shall apply the credit in succeeding years after the certified statement is filed unless the auditor determines that the individual is no longer eligible for the credit or the county fiscal body rescinds the ordinance. Provides a penalty for wrongly receiving the credit that is the same as the penalty for wrongly receiving the homestead standard deduction.

This is not an exhaustive list of what is happening at the Indiana General Assembly and we will certainly engage on positive and detrimental bills impacting our community that are not on this list. We are watching and taking action.

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