Friday, February 15, 2019


Now is the TIME FOR ACTION on a host of issues that affect the economic well-being of working families in Indiana. This week we will see substantial activity on several of our key priorities. At the same time, bills that do not pass out of committee by Thursday the 21st will be effectively dead.

MONDAY 2/18: Hearing on TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES
At 9 a.m. on Monday, February 18th a statewide coalition comprised of healthcare experts, workforce development advocates, and a representative from the faith community will come together to support SB440 at a hearing in the Senate Family and Children Services committee. If passed, SB440 would adjust income eligibility requirements so that more working families are able to access the support that they need, and will ensure that TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) payments are adjusted annually to be consistent with the cost of living in Indiana. TANF was meant to be a lifeline when families struggle – and this bill would extend that lifeline to more Hoosiers across the state that need it to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

The State of Indiana currently has the fourth lowest TANF eligibility in the nation and has not experienced a TANF increase since 1988. While the minimum wage has increased four dollars, the cost of fair market rent in cities throughout Indiana has more than doubled, and the average median sale price of a new house has nearly tripled over the last 30 years, TANF has remained stagnant. The time to pass TANF eligibility reform is long overdue, and we need your support to ensure that SB440 is passed out of committee this week.
This is Institute Director, Jessica Fraser, in 1988 at age 7.

If you would like to help us in our efforts to see SB440 passed there are several things that you can do. Monday morning’s hearing is crucial for the future of SB440, we would like to ask that you
CALL YOUR SENATOR on the Senate Family and Children’s Services committee and voice your support for SB440.
Senate Family and Children’s Services Committee Members
Senator Ron Grooms     317-234-9425
Senator Jean Breaux      317-232-9534
Senator Greg Walker     317-232-9984
Senator J.D. Ford          317-232-9491
Senator John Crane       317-232-9984
Senator Jon Ford           317-232-9517
Senator Mike Gaskill    317-234-9443
Senator Randall Head    317-232-9488
Senator Erin Houchin    317-232-9488

TUESDAY 2/19: Hearing on RENT-TO-OWN CONTRACT PROTECTIONS & Budget negotiations
On Tuesday, February 19th, the House Financial Institutions committee will hold a hearing for HB1495 at 10:30am in 156-C. Coalition members have been working hard on the bill with committee members and are expected to hear a proposed amendment and vote during the hearing. If passed, the bill would ensure that when Hoosiers engage in rent-to-own land contracts that there will be a higher standard of accountability, transparency, and consumer protection measures in place that will prevent unnecessary forfeiture and make the path to homeownership easier to navigate for working families.

The Institute has been engaged with members of the House Ways and Means committee to insert language into the budget that would allow Indiana to leverage more funds for federal workforce development. The Budget Amendment will be heard on Tuesday, February 19th.  We will keep you posted on this and other budget related issues as they come up!

WEDNESDAY 2/20: Key votes on PAYDAY RATE CAP & INSTALLMENT LENDER BILL
On Wednesday, the Institute will be in Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions to support SB 104 and will oppose SB587. Both bills are listed as amend and vote only.

During the first meeting of the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, lawmakers heard over three hours of testimony on SB104 to cap payday loans at 36%. Senior Policy Analyst Erin Macey led the testimony in support, sharing the Institute’s research on the payday lending business model and what other states have done to curb the cycle of debt and distress created by payday loans. She concluded, “In short, we have learned a great deal about payday lending, its consequences, and the reforms implemented in other states. And we are here to ask Indiana to join the Department of Defense and 16 other states in offering Hoosiers the strongest and best protection against predatory lending – a cap of 36%.”

The fate of the 36% rate cap is yet unknown. At the end of the hearing, Senator Bassler, chairman of the committee noted, “my gut tells me that the status quo will not be maintained” and on Wednesday we will find out if the status quo will be changed or not. If you wish to see an end to predatory lending in Indiana, please CALL YOUR SENATOR and voice your support for 104.

Conversely, SB587 accomplishes the exact opposite of what working families in Indiana need. SB587 blasts a giant hole in our loansharking cap of 72% APR. On p. 12, the bill exempts and triples a hefty up-front, non-refundable fee from “counting” toward the loansharking cap. This would allow essentially unrestricted payday loans with APRs even higher than current payday products at 391%.

PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE TO LET THEM KNOW THEY SHOULD BE STRENGTHENING CONSUMER PROTECTIONS, NOT WEAKENING THEM:
800-382-9467:
Senator Bassler (Chair)
Senator Zay (Bill Author)
Senator Bohacek
Senator Gaskill
Senator Ruckelshaus
Senator Sandlin
Senator Walker
Senator Breaux
Senator J.D. Ford

SB 422 is in Senate Judiciary as amend and vote only. It’s a bill the Institute supports that gives tenants a 10-day written notice and right to cure for eviction regardless of lease type.

THURSDAY 2/21: Hearing on TRUMPED UP PAYDAY LOANS

On Thursday, the Institute will work to defeat SB613 in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology. If passed, SB613 would create NEW payday installment loans of $1800 in addition to the current payday products Indiana already offers. Plus, with these loans, lenders can now tack on credit insurance to make them even more expensive.
If your Senator is on the committee, please let them know that you do not support this proposal:
800-382-9467
Senator Perfect (Chair)
Senator Merritt
Senator Doriot
Senator Garten
Senator Houchin (second author)
Senator Koch
Senator Leising
Senator Zay (author)
Senator J.D. Ford
Senator Randolph
Senator Stoops

THIS WEEK IS ALSO YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CHAMPION YOUR FAVORITE BILLS
As we go into next week, it is important to note that any bill that does not make it out of committee by Tuesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate is effectively dead.
We urge you to contact your legislator if there are any bills that you care about that have yet to receive a hearing, especially the following bills:

SB590 and HB1073 - Prohibits an employer from discriminating against a pregnant job applicant or employee. Requires an employer to provide reasonable employment accommodations for a pregnant employee.

HB1302 - Establishes a paid family and medical leave program to provide wage replacement for employees who take family and medical leave.

HB1288 - Provides a child and dependent care refundable tax credit.

HB1289 - Sales tax exemption for diapers.

This week is a week for action, and we ask that you  CALL YOUR SENATORS/REPRESENTATIVES if you would like to see movement on any of your favorite bills this week!

Did you know you can also follow our progress by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter? And if you know someone who should be receiving this email please forward it along or share it with them on Facebook.

If you would like to support our work at the Statehouse and ensure that working families continue to have voice at the Statehouse, we welcome donations.



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