Indianapolis Urban League

Our Legislative Impact

Know Your Interest Legislative News Final 2.11.21

Our Legislative Impact

Policies we fought against and what we were able to stop:

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

This model is used in Kansas City where their crime was 15% higher than Indianapolis’. The bill undid community solutions developed like the majority citizen Use of Force Board and General Orders Boards and the Merit Board.

SB 311 – This bill tried to eliminate the use of force board and prohibits cities and towns from having such an entity. It also eliminated adherence to a use of force continuum based on the officer’s discretion.

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

SB 394 & HB 1427 Police department administration. These bills attempted to eliminate community policing by eliminating the General Orders Board, Use of Force Board, and the Merit Board and proscribed use of force standards based on the state’s law enforcement training board, as opposed to the community. Also, tried to eliminate the ability of IMPD and police agencies across the state to have higher standards than the state’s law enforcement training board.

HB 1376 Charitable bail organizations. This bill tried to make it harder for charitable organizations to address the challenge of cash money bail. The bill required a non-profit to be certified by the commissioner of the department of insurance. It limited 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.

SB 141 Central Indiana public transportation projects. Required the budget agency to withhold local income tax revenue from an eligible county if the eligible county failed to raise certain revenues for a public transportation project. (Current law requires eligible counties to raise: (1) 10% of the annual operating expenses of the project from sources other than taxes and fares; and (2) 25% of the annual operating expenses of the project from fares and charges.) Specified that the amount of local income taxes withheld from an eligible county may not diminish the amount of money distributed to the eligible county for deposit in the eligible county’s public transportation fund below the amount required to pay its debt service obligations for bonds issued for purposes of a public transportation project. Prohibited Marion County from creating additional IndyGo bus rapid transit lines if the revenue requirements are not met.

Fights For You Image 2.11.21

Policies we fought for in support of Root Cause Solutions

Police and Criminal Justice Reform: Officer Misconduct, Chokeholds, Sentencing

WINS:

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 the criminal act. 5) Requires sharing of personnel files for agencies hiring officers, and makes an appropriation to the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Academy for making capital improvements.

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 a process if a person cannot provide proof of financial responsibility after 180 days. Establishes a forbearance program that includes waiving 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 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.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

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.
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 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.

Health

WINS:

HB 1127 Mental health and addiction forensic treatments. Removes a provision that allows a: (1) delinquent child’s; or (2) person’s; Medicaid participation to be terminated following a two-year suspension due to certain adjudications or incarceration. Adds competency restoration services to the list of treatment and wraparound recovery services made available to certain persons in the criminal justice system. Adds competency restoration services to the list of services that qualify a person for mental health and addiction forensic treatment services. Adds: (1) recovery community organizations; and (2) recovery residences; certified by the division of mental health and addiction (division) or its designee to the list of organizations eligible for certain funds and grants from the division. Requires demographic data concerning race and ethnicity to be included in certain demographic research performed by the division.

HB 1340 Human immunodeficiency virus. Technical corrections and repeals certain criminal provisions.

SB 10 Statewide maternal mortality review committee.

SB 82 Mental Health Diagnosis Mental health diagnosis. Defines “mental health diagnosis” and sets forth requirements that must be met in order for certain licensed professionals to provide a mental health diagnosis. Requires certain mental health professionals who make mental health diagnoses and who determine the patient has not been examined by a physician in the preceding 12 months to recommend to the patient that the patient schedule an examination by a physician at the earliest opportunity. Requires notation of that recommendation in the patient’s medical record.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

HB 1333 Cultural awareness and competence training for healthcare professionals.  This bill requires a collection of race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability data consistent with the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

HB 1128 Mental health assessment of law enforcement officers.

HB 1321 Study of state mental health hospitals.

HB 1526 Utilization of mental health professionals as part of crisis intervention teams responding with law enforcement to calls involving a mental health or substance abuse disorder crisis.

SB 62 Prescription drug rebates and pricing. Provides that the defined cost-sharing for a prescription drug under a policy of accident and sickness insurance or a health maintenance organization contract must be calculated at the point of sale and based on a price that is reduced by an amount equal to at least 85% of all rebates received by the insurer or health maintenance organization in connection with the dispensing or administration of the prescription drug.

SB 296 Health Matters Health matters. Removes requirements of cost-sharing in the healthy Indiana plan. Removes requirements concerning prescribing a drug to a patient receiving services through telemedicine when the individual has not been previously examined by the prescriber.

SB 374 Student Suicide Prevention and Mental Health. Student suicide prevention and mental health. Requires the division of mental health and addiction of the family and social services administration (division) to (1) seek to enter into memoranda of understanding with state agencies and health care providers to collect statistical data regarding the number of incidences of suicide or attempted suicide by minor children, and (2) use the data collected to report to the department of education the number of identified incidences of suicide or attempted suicide by minor children that occurred in each Indiana school corporation in the preceding 12 months. Requires the department of education to use the information to provide targeted mental health and suicide prevention support to a school corporation in which an incidence of suicide or attempted suicide by a minor child has occurred in the preceding 12 months.

Food Insecurity: Changes in TANF and Food Desserts Addressed

WINS:

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 the 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.

*While HB 1146 did not get a hearing we were able to get $600,000 into the state budget to support a pilot health food project.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

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

WINS:

We raised concerns about school funding, particularly around changes to the complexity index. In the end, the state budget added $1.9 billion to k-12 education.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

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 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.

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 that would not require a law but rather an internal policy for the department.

Housing: Rental Housing Reform

WINS:

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.

Housing Economics: Rental Assistance, Property Taxes, Living Wage

WINS:

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), and 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 for 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.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

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 Indiana Civil Rights Commission has jurisdiction for the investigation and resolution of complaints of these employment actions.

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.