Inside the Statehouse - Week 7

Payday bill defeated!
We had an exciting victory to end a busy week as SB 245, which would have expanded predatory payday lending products, failed in committee with a bipartisan 4-5 vote. Your calls to legislators on the committee made a difference. Thank you! Please call these legislators and thank them for their NO vote on this legislation. 

Sen. Rodrick Bray  317-234-9426
Sen. Eddie Melton 317-232-9491
Sen. Frank Mrvan 317-232-9532 
Sen. John Ruckleshaus 317-232-9808
Sen. Greg Walker 317-232-9984

This week:

The Institute started the week in Senate Family and Children Services committee. SB 154, a bill that removes the asset limits for SNAP eligibility, passed 6-1 with an amended start date of January 1, 2018. The Institute is excited this bill will move to the full Senate.

This committee also had no vote hearings - meaning that public testimony was given, but the committee did not vote on the bill - on SB 485 an SB 527. The former is a bill creating a pilot loan program for low- and moderate-income families who need to make modifications to their homes to aid the independent functioning of family members with disabilities living in the home. The latter is a bill changing the income eligibility of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to not more than 50% of the federal poverty level and removes the statute that sets the dollar amount of need payments. The Institute spoke about the data supporting these changes, pointing out that the dollar amount in statute has not kept up with inflation which fails Hoosiers who need this assistance.

SB 312 Use of criminal history info in hiring (Boots) had quite a bit of public testimony on Wednesday. The Institute was joined in opposition by groups including RecycleForce and IndyCAN. The bill would allow state intervention to preempt local Ban the Box and 'fair chance' hiring ordinances to help employ people with records. Employment helps individuals become more economically self-sufficient, which we want for all Hoosiers. Unfortunately the bill passed through the committee 8-3.

As mentioned above, SB 245 Long term small loans (Holdman) was heard in Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions on Thursday. An amendment was offered that would include reducing the loan amount to $1750, the definition of minimum loan term, reducing the loan term to 18 months, eliminating the ability to charge delinquency fees, and reducing the interest rate to 18% per month and 216% APR  on the unpaid balance among other things. The Institute and 18 other individuals and groups, including members of the faith community, former payday borrowers, a former payday lending employee, veterans, and other non-profits who advocate for low-income Hoosiers, spoke to the dangers of this industry and the expansion of any payday products.Thank you for calling your legislators and thank you to the five committee members who voted NO on this bill.
 
Some other bills that saw movement in committee this week include:
SB 515 Tax administration (Hershman) passed out of committee 13-0. HB 1308 Various Prof licensing matters (Zent) passed out of committee amended 10-0. SB 276 Early education grant program (Holdman) had an amendment added that strengthens quality requirements, expands parental engagement requirements, and has 10% of funds used to increase capacity of the Level 3 and 4 programs. It passed as amended 8-3 and is recommitted to appropriations.
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Bills on the House and Senate floor this week:
  • SB 34 Background checks for school employees (Merritt) passed out of the Senate 49-1, unamended. 
  • SB 59 Reciprocity in professional licensing (Head) passed the Senate 48-0. This bill establishes reciprocity in licensing for some mental health professionals, making it easier for these Hoosiers to get back to work after a move to the state. 
  • SB 277 Healthy food matters had an amendment added that removed the fiscal part of the bill. However, Sen. Kenley, who proposed the amendment, assured the author and the rest of the Senate that he would keep the appropriations from this bill in consideration when creating the budget.
  • SB 440 Various tax matters (Holdman) passed 47-1.
  • SB 507 Economic development (Head) passed the Senate 48-0.
  • SB 558 Leases and sales of real property (Holdman) had an amendment added on Monday that tries to address rental occupancy limits that conform to the Keating Memorandum. Though there was discussion about the bill's language that could limit political subdivisions ability to include affordable housing  as a portion of new developments, the measure passed 29-19.
  • SB 9 SNAP and drug convictions is still on 3rd reading. We hope to see a vote on this before the deadline for bills to cross over (February 28).
  • SB 253 Study of voluntary paid family and medical leave passed the Senate 35-14! The Institute is excited to speak to Representatives about the importance of this study as this bill crosses over. Paid family and medical leave can change the course of a family's financial situation. The Institute is eager to be part of the conversation going forward. You can read more about paid family and medical leave here.
  • HB 1386 Competency based education (Behning) had an amendment proposed by Rep. Vernon that would include two urban schools in the competency based education pilot program, but it did not pass. The measure passed 68-21.
  • HB 1470 Government information (Ober) and HB 1523 Search fee for public record request (Richardson) are being tracked because the Institute does extensive public policy research and needs access to data and government records. We want to make sure this is still affordable and available. HB 1532 passed 62-25 with concerns that charging for public records is a bad precedent.
  • HB 1002 Transportation infrastructure funding (Soliday) had several amendments offered, a few proposed by the Democrats would transfer some of the tax burden off low- and middle-income families, but they were defeated.

Next week: 

HB 1008 Workforce development (Huston) will be heard on Monday, February 20 in House Ways and Means.
SB 8 Forfeiture (Boots) will be heard on Tuesday, February 21 in Senate Corrections and Criminal Law.
SB 242 Indiana Housing First Program (Merritt) will be heard  on Tuesday, February 21 in Senate Local Government.
HB 1178 Voter registration opportunity for all motor vehichle transactions (Kersey), HB 1308 Various professional licensing matters (Zent), HB 1470 Government information (Ober), and HB 1626 Study of universal service for telecommunications (Negele) will be on third reading on Monday, February 20. 

These dates are accurate as of Thursday, February 17, 2017. It is always best to check the General Assembly website as these dates and times can and do change. 


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Bills relating to our legislative policy agenda can be found below. You can find a complete and regularly updated list here


  • A PATH TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Put families on a path to self-sufficiency by protecting them from high-cost payday loans and predatory lending products. Support asset-building and financial literacy training by increasing funding for individual development accounts (IDAs). 
    • SB 245: Long term small loans (Holdman) Oppose
    • SB 474: Small loans (Melton) Support


  • INVESTMENT IN TWO-GENERATION SOLUTIONS: Investments in Head Start, preschool and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) ensure that young children continue to learn and grow while their parents work or seek further education. 
    • SB 276: Early childhood grant pilot program (Holdman)
    • SB 325: Voluntary prekindergarten program (Stoops)


  • REMOVE BARRIERS TO ADULT EDUCATION & WORKFORCE TRAINING: Allow for better coordination of skills training, higher education and necessary support services. Increase support for the Indiana Adult Student Grant and the WorkINdiana training program, and create Indiana’s first fund for job-driven adult literacy.
    • HB 1008: Workforce development (Huston) Support
    • HB 1281: Various higher education matters (Sullivan) Support
    • HB 1464: Work sharing unemployment benefits (Carbaugh) Support


  • ASSISTS &REBOUNDS: Help Hoosiers rebound more quickly from tough times by removing the asset test from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility requirements and raising Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility to 50 percent of the federal poverty level.
    • SB 9: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and drug convictions (Merritt) Support
    • SB 154: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Merritt) Support
    • SB 527: TANF eligibility (Stoops) Support
    • SB 528: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Stoops) Support


  • QUALITY OF LIFE & QUALITY OF WORK: Ensure that all working Hoosiers can balance work, family and household budgets through policies that promote fair scheduling, paid leave and high-quality, well-paying jobs. 
    • HB 1183: Employee paid sick leave (Lawson) Support
    • HB 1442: Paid sick and safe leave (Porter) Support
    • SB 3: Paid personal leave (Randolph) Support
    • SB 253: Paid family and medical leave program (Tallian) Support
    • SB 318: Minimum wage (Mrvan) Support


  • BUILD A MORE JUST HOOSIER ECONOMY, STARTING WITH EQUITABLE BUDGET CHOICES: Make equitable budget choices that remedy Indiana’s regressive tax structure, increase economic mobility for working families and promote a more just economy for all Hoosiers.
    • HB 1001: Biennial budget (Brown) Monitor
    • HB 1002: Transportation infrastructure funding (Soliday) Monitor




 
Friday, February 17, 2017

ACTION ALERT: Call Committee Members Today on Payday Loan Bill

ACTION ALERT

Tell Your Lawmakers Charging Low-Income Borrowers 200% APR is Not OK

 

 SB 245 will be heard Thursday, February 16th at 10am in Room 130


The Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee will meet tomorrow to decide the fate of SB 245, a bill that would allow payday lenders to offer 2-year installment loans of up to $2500 at 240% APR. Under the original bill, a family making just over $30,000 a year could take out the full amount, paying over $9500 IN INTEREST over two years.

We understand that lawmakers are working on an amendment to bring the loan amount down to $1750 and the APR to 216%. This is still not acceptable.

It is almost unnecessary to point out that research demonstrates that these products drive families into bankruptcy and onto public assistance; the numbers speak for themselves. As one Hoosier payday borrower put it, "These businesses become a lifetime ball & chain that will drag a person into a worse financial situation than they were in the day before." We cannot allow this bill to pass.

Current state law caps installment loans of $2000 or less at 36%, and an APR of 72% is consider felony loan sharking. This new bill is a radical departure from a long-time standard of protecting consumers from usury - unethical or immoral lending.
Payday storefront
Please call members of the committee and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 245. Amended or not, this bill will damage Hoosier families and the economy.

Senator Travis Holdman (Chair/Bill Author), 317-232-9807
Senator Greg Walker, 317-232-9984                    
Senator Rodric Bray, 317-234-9426                      
Senator Jeff Raatz, 317-233-0930                      
Senator John Ruckleshaus, 317-232-9808            
Senator Joseph Zakas, 317-232-9490
Senator Andy Zay, 317-234-9441
Senator Frank Mrvan, 317-232-9532
Senator Eddie Melton, 317-232-9491  
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If you are interested in testifying, please contact emacey@incap.org for more information. 
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inside the Statehouse - Week 6

The Institute has been in committee hearings, watching floor debate, and meeting in legislators' offices this week discussing childcare tax credits, the gap in middle-skill jobs, paid family and medical leave, the removal of SNAP asset limits, and payday lending. And that's just at the State level!

The Institute also had two staff members in DC sharing self-sufficiency data with Indiana Congressional delegates tailored to the districts they represent as well as updated information on the gap in middle skill jobs in Indiana. (You can find your county's self-sufficiency standard here.) We stressed the importance of removing barriers so small businesses can get the skilled workforce they need, how investing in career & technical education and apprenticeships can open doors to middle-skill jobs, and how Congress can ensure that investing in infrastructure means good jobs for working Hoosiers. Representatives from the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition met with Reps. Walorski, Messer, and Hollingsworth, as well as staff from Rep. Banks, Sen. Young, and Sen. Donnelly's offices. 
L-R: Tom Orr of LISC, Peggy Frame of SECS, Congresswoman Walorski, Jessica Fraser of IIWF, Olga Volokhova of DWD, and Andrew Bradley of IIWF
L-R: Tom Orr, Peggy Frame, Congressman Messer, Jessica Fraser, Andrew Bradley, and Olga Volokhova
L-R: Peggy Frame, Congressman Hollingsworth, and Andrew Bradley
Congressman Banks keeps boots from his services in Afghanistan in his office as a pledge to "never forget our veterans".
This visit to DC addressing workingforce skill development coincided with the hearing on HB 1008 in House Ways and Means. This bill establishes conditions for workforce readiness grants as well as tax credits for workforce development. The Institute testified on the importance of workforce readiness grants and workforce tax credits which help adult or non-traditional students who often have work and family obligations in addition to their attempts to upgrade their skills. 

In his State of the State address, Governor Holcomb said, "Right now there are 30,000 unfilled jobs in Indiana, and some 2 million Hoosiers do not have the education and skills needed for today’s jobs. So we’ll invest some 2 million dollars in this budget to create regional “Jobs Ready Grants” to help current workers complete credentials or certificates in high-demand, high-wage fields, so they can enter the workforce in more skilled and highly-paid positions." The Institute hopes the conversations at the federal and state levels as well as within the Governor's office result in more Hoosiers in jobs that allow them to reach economic self-sufficiency.

This Week:
On Tuesday, policy analyst Erin Macey testified on the benefits of childcare tax credits which SB 364 would give to families making under $37,000/year, noting that quality childcare in Indiana is increasingly less affordable

As a research institution who needs access to data and public records, the Institute listened to testimony on HB 1470 and HB 1523 which address management of government data and a search fee for public records. Those bills passed out of committee 8-0 and 7-1 respectively.

Wednesday was a day of committee meetings with HB 1002 Transportation Infrastructure Funding, HB 1410 Property tax deductions, HB 1405 Public defense reimbursements, and HB 1450 Property tax matters getting hearings. These bills address the Institute's interest in an equitable budget and tax structure in the state.

HB 1001, the state's biennial budget, was discussed in House Ways and Means on Thursday. Many different organizations came to make their case for funding in Indiana's budget. Appropriations that the INstitute would like to see either remain constant or be increased include: the Adult Student Grant, the Work INdiana program, the allocation to Indiana's Food Banks, among others.

House Floor
HB 1004 Prekindergarten education (Behining) passed 61-34
HB 1154 unemployment insurance (Leonard) passed 95-0
Senate Floor
SB 9 Supplemental nutrition assistance program and drug convictions (Merritt) and SB 253 Study of paid family and medical leave (Tallian) were on 3rd reading all week, but were not called for a vote. If you haven't already called your state Senator about these bills, please call and ask them to support these measures. Find your legislator here.
SB 34 Background checks for school employees (Merritt) and SB 440 Various tax matters (Holdman) were on 3rd reading, but were also not called for a vote.  

Next week:
Senate Family and Children Services will meet at 9:30am on Monday February 13, 2017 in the Senate Chamber. Two big issue bills for the Institute will be heard in this committee. SB 154, which deals with the removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility, will have a vote only hearing.  SB 527, a bill that would set the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) income eligibility requirement to 50% of the federal poverty level and remove the dollar amount set in statute for each payment, will have a hearing with public testimony. SB 485, a bill establishing a pilot program allowing zero or low interest loans to be made to low and moderate income Hoosier with a family member with a disability to make modifications to their homes. The Institute will be there to support and speak on these bills.

SB 245, a bill unnecessarily expanding payday loan products to include a 24-month loan of up to $2,500 with an APR of 240%, will be heard in Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 10am in Rm. 130. The Institute and partners have been trying to stop this harmful legislation with face-to-face meetings, constituent calls to legislators, blog posts, and newspaper articles (that you can find here and here). Please join our mailing list if you would like action alerts on this bill and others this session. 

The Institute is also preparing for a hearing for SB 312 'banning Ban the Box' the box on job applications that asks about criminal history, from local ordinances. This legislation would expressly prohibit 'fair chance' hiring ordinances for people with records, like the one Marion County has, and would preempt political subdivisions from prohibiting employers from using criminal history in the hiring process. This bill is assigned to the Senate committee on Pensions and Labor and will be heard Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10am in Rm. 233.

Other bills up for discussion include HB 1308 in House Employment Labor and Pensions, which deals with different licensing matters specifically expediting the issuance or renewal of licenses, certificates, registrations, or permits to military spouses. This bill will be heard by the House committee Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 8:30am in Rm. 156-A

Please note that the schedules above are current as of February 11, 2017. It is always important to verify the scheduling of bills and sessions on the General Assembly's website as these can and frequently do change. 

**If you're not already a follower, the Institute's Twitter feed is a particularly good resource for daily information on issues affecting working Hoosier families. You can also check out our Facebook page or sign up for our mailing list.  
______________________________


Bills relating to our legislative policy agenda can be found below. You can find a complete and regularly updated list here


  • A PATH TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Put families on a path to self-sufficiency by protecting them from high-cost payday loans and predatory lending products. Support asset-building and financial literacy training by increasing funding for individual development accounts (IDAs). 
    • SB 245: Long term small loans (Holdman) Oppose
    • SB 474: Small loans (Melton) Support


  • INVESTMENT IN TWO-GENERATION SOLUTIONS: Investments in Head Start, preschool and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) ensure that young children continue to learn and grow while their parents work or seek further education. 
    • SB 276: Early childhood grant pilot program (Holdman)
    • SB 325: Voluntary prekindergarten program (Stoops)


  • REMOVE BARRIERS TO ADULT EDUCATION & WORKFORCE TRAINING: Allow for better coordination of skills training, higher education and necessary support services. Increase support for the Indiana Adult Student Grant and the WorkINdiana training program, and create Indiana’s first fund for job-driven adult literacy.
    • HB 1008: Workforce development (Huston) Support
    • HB 1281: Various higher education matters (Sullivan) Support
    • HB 1464: Work sharing unemployment benefits (Carbaugh) Support


  • ASSISTS &REBOUNDS: Help Hoosiers rebound more quickly from tough times by removing the asset test from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility requirements and raising Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility to 50 percent of the federal poverty level.
    • SB 9: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and drug convictions (Merritt) Support
    • SB 154: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Merritt) Support
    • SB 527: TANF eligibility (Stoops) Support
    • SB 528: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Stoops) Support


  • QUALITY OF LIFE & QUALITY OF WORK: Ensure that all working Hoosiers can balance work, family and household budgets through policies that promote fair scheduling, paid leave and high-quality, well-paying jobs. 
    • HB 1183: Employee paid sick leave (Lawson) Support
    • HB 1442: Paid sick and safe leave (Porter) Support
    • SB 3: Paid personal leave (Randolph) Support
    • SB 253: Paid family and medical leave program (Tallian) Support
    • SB 318: Minimum wage (Mrvan) Support


  • BUILD A MORE JUST HOOSIER ECONOMY, STARTING WITH EQUITABLE BUDGET CHOICES: Make equitable budget choices that remedy Indiana’s regressive tax structure, increase economic mobility for working families and promote a more just economy for all Hoosiers.
    • HB 1001: Biennial budget (Brown) Monitor
    • HB 1002: Transportation infrastructure funding (Soliday) Monitor
Friday, February 10, 2017

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