Time for Action


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.



Friday, February 15, 2019

Continuing to Work for Hoosier Working Families


Another busy week in the Indiana state legislature has come to an end. This week saw the Institute working to protect occupational licensing rules, reform TANF, raise concerns about a bill to increase fees for consumers on a range of loan products, and respond to a proposal to create a voluntary paid leave program.

Occupational licensing: A 2016 study by the Alliance for a Just Society found that Indiana has 160 mandatory employment and licensing bans that prevent all individuals with criminal records from entering licensed, well-regulated career paths. Last year, the Institute worked on expanding Indiana's occupational licensing rules as they relate to Indiana's returning citizens. You can read about our efforts here and here. This week, the Institute worked with partners from last session to keep those positive changes in place by supporting amendments to HB 1569 that will ensure that Indiana continues to remove barriers so that working Hoosiers can reach economic self-sufficiency.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Institute Director Jessica Fraser and Policy Analyst Amy Carter have continued to meet with members of the Senate Family and Children Services committee to discuss the merits of SB 440. If passed, SB 440 would adjust the income eligibility requirements so that more working families are able to access the support that they need, and will ensure that TANF payments are adjusted annually to be consistent with the cost of living in Indiana. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on February 18, 2019 at 9:00 am in the Senate Chamber. Please help us collect stories about TANF using this link and SIGN ON to our TANF reform support letter today!

Consumer Credit Fees: In spite of the Institute’s request that the legislature study the Uniform Consumer Credit Code and consider the current context of low wages and high consumer debt before raising fees on Hoosier consumers through HB 1136, the House passed a bill that contains the following rule changes for state-chartered banks, credit unions, and non-bank lenders:
·   Increases delinquency fees from $19-25 on a range of products, like second mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and installment loans.
·   Changes the rules about how payments are applied, so that now a late payment can be applied to the overdue balance instead of the current installment, potentially triggering more late fees.
·   Increases transaction fees on open-ended credit (e.g. balance transfers, cash advances) from the lesser of 2% or $10 to the greater of 2% or $10

We thank Representatives Lehman, Shaibley, and Hamilton, who successfully proposed that the House remove a $10 credit reporting fee that was initially part of the package. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it will likely be assigned to Insurance and Financial Institutions or Commerce. Senator Zay will carry the bill.

Paid Leave: This week, Senior Policy Analyst Erin Macey testified in the Senate Committee on Pensions and Labor on a proposal to create a voluntary paid leave insurance program. 

"It’s not clear to me whether or not the proposal we have on the table today would meet the needs of the low-income Hoosiers who most need support as they start families, have medical needs, or must provide eldercare. However, I want to thank Senator Tallian and Senator Ruckelshaus for putting an idea on the table. Because it is clear to me that the status quo needs to change."

In testimony, Erin offered the committee a selection of the stories shared at the Institute's Zero Weeks events across the state and summarized new research from Harvard Business School about the effects of our failure to create a system to provide paid leave:
"We’ve heard from women who cobble together what little paid sick time they have – if any – to spend time with their newborns and recover from childbirth. Some go into debt, and others return to physically demanding jobs after just days or weeks after giving birth.
We heard from a father for whom lack of paid leave and a pile of hospital bills meant working overtime instead spending the last couple weeks of his sick child’s life in the hospital with him.
We’ve heard from folks who work at a clinic down in Jasper where many people work throughout chemotherapy treatments, and if they can’t, might be lucky if they can find help from a local charity with a month’s rent.
We’ve heard from individuals who have exhausted themselves running from work to caregiving and back again, and have missed saying goodbye to dying parents because they didn’t have enough time off.”
You can share your paid leave story with us here, or communicate it directly to your lawmakers and ask them to address the paid leave crisis. HB 1032 creates a program that would provide paid family and medical leave to ALL workers through a state insurance fund.
We are running out of time to get hearings on key bills. If you’d like to see them heard, please contact committee chairs:
·        HB 1288 creates a state-level child and dependent care tax credit.
·        HB 1289 creates a sales tax exemption for diapers.
·        HB 1073 and SB 590 require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. 
·        HB 1032 creates a statewide paid family and medical leave program providing 6 weeks of leave for all workers.
·        Several bills would raise the minimum wage in Indiana, including SB 214, SB 262, SB 355, and HB 1081

Do you love one of these bills? Ask your state rep or senator to sign on as a coauthor! Find your lawmaker here.

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.

Several key bills are getting hearings next week, including HB 1628, a bill to expand access to prek. Here are our tracked bills being heard this week. Reach out to get engaged if something on this list interests you!

HB1216
FIRST STEPS PROGRAM (CLERE E) Provides that, for purposes of determining a family's income under the first steps program, a family is presumed to have an income that is not more than 250% of the federal income poverty level if the family is receiving benefits under Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Makes an appropriation to the first steps program.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - House Ways and Means, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:30 AM, Rm. 404

Recent Status:   
1/15/2019 - added as coauthors Representatives Karickhoff, Behning, Hamilton
1/10/2019 - Referred to House Ways and Means

State Bill Page:   

HB1350
ABLE ACCOUNT TAX CREDIT (CLERE E) Creates a stand-alone credit for contributions to Indiana ABLE accounts. Provides that a taxpayer is entitled to a credit against adjusted gross income tax equal to the least of: (1) 20% of the amount of the total contributions made by the taxpayer to an account or accounts of an Indiana ABLE 529A savings plan during the taxable year; (2) $1,000; or (3) the amount of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income tax for the taxable year, reduced by the sum of all allowable credits. Provides that a taxpayer is not entitled to a carryback, carryover, or refund of an unused credit. Provides that a taxpayer may not sell, assign, convey, or otherwise transfer the tax credit. Provides that an account owner of an Indiana ABLE 529A savings plan must repay all or a part of the credit in a taxable year in which any nonqualified withdrawal is made. Provides that a rollover of assets or transfer of assets to an Indiana ABLE 529A account is a qualified withdrawal from a college choice 529 education savings plan.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - House Ways and Means, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:30 AM, Rm. 404

Recent Status:   
1/28/2019 - added as coauthor Representative Heaton
1/14/2019 - Coauthored by Representatives Schaibley and Porter

State Bill Page:   

HB1432
PARENTAL INCARCERATION (MACER K) Provides that a parent who is incarcerated must be allowed to participate in person in child in need of services (CHINS) proceedings regarding the parent's child. Provides that a CHINS case plan must include a description and discussion of: (1) the services and treatment available to an incarcerated parent at the facility at which the parent is incarcerated; and (2) how the parent and child will be afforded visitation opportunities, unless visitation with the parent is not in the best interests of the child. Requires a CHINS dispositional decree to provide a reasonable opportunity for a parent of the child who: (1) is incarcerated; and (2) has maintained a meaningful role in the child's life; to maintain a relationship with the child, subject to the safety of the community and best interests of the child. Provides factors a court may consider in deciding whether an incarcerated parent is maintaining a meaningful role in a child's life. Provides for circumstances under which a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship between a child and an incarcerated parent of the child may be dismissed.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - House Family, Children and Human Affairs, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 8:30 AM, Rm. 156-C

Recent Status:   
1/15/2019 - Referred to House Family, Children and Human Affairs
1/15/2019 - First Reading

State Bill Page:   

HB1476
POST GRADUATION OUTCOME FUNDING METRICS (HUSTON T) Establishes the postgraduation performance funding pilot program (pilot program) to develop assessment metrics for assessing and rewarding school corporations with performance grants for positive outcomes, including higher education and career and technical education outcomes, for students at least six months after graduation from high school. Requires the governor to develop assessment metrics and performance grant amounts for the pilot program. Requires the governor to prepare and submit reports on the assessment metrics and performance grant amounts developed for the pilot program.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - House Ways and Means, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:30 AM, Rm. 404

Recent Status:   
1/15/2019 - Referred to House Ways and Means
1/15/2019 - First Reading

State Bill Page:   

HB1495
REAL ESTATE LAND CONTRACTS (SUMMERS V) Defines "principal dwelling land contract" (contract) as a land contract for the sale of real property: (1) designed for the occupancy of one to four families; and (2) that will be occupied by the buyer as the buyer's principal dwelling. Provides that the seller under a contract must provide the buyer with an FHA appraisal of the property, a description of any liens encumbering the property, and make certain other disclosures to the buyer at least 10 days before the contract is executed. Requires a contract to provide for the payment of preexisting liens, and specifies that all preexisting liens must be satisfied by the end of the contract term. Prohibits penalties or additional charges for prepayment, and requires the buyer to record the contract within 30 days of execution. Requires the Indiana real estate commission (commission), in consultation with the department of financial institutions (DFI), to adopt a standard contract form and standard disclosure forms, and requires a seller to use these forms after December 31, 2019. Requires a contract to include a notice informing the buyer of certain protections for contract transactions under Indiana law, and requires a seller to provide a similar disclosure in the event of a default by the buyer. Specifies that the seller must provide the buyer with an annual statement of account. Establishes remedies for violations. Requires the commission, in consultation with the DFI, to adopt rules to implement the new provisions. Provides that a buyer who has completed the buyer's obligations under the contract is entitled to the homestead deduction regardless of whether the seller has conveyed title.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - House Financial Institutions, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:30 AM, Rm. 156-C

Recent Status:   
1/24/2019 - Coauthored by Representatives Clere and Fleming
1/24/2019 - Referred to House Financial Institutions

State Bill Page:   

SB105
REDISTRICTING STANDARDS (WALKER G) Establishes redistricting standards for congressional and state legislative districts. Provides that the initial proposed plans for congressional and state legislative districts must comply with the redistricting standards. Allows the general assembly, during the process by which the initial proposed plans become effective by being enacted as a law, to consider and adopt modifications to the initial proposed plans that deviate from the redistricting standards as long as the reason or reasons for each deviation are publicly explained and documented.

Current Status:   
2/4/2019 - Senate Elections, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:00 AM, Rm. 431

Recent Status:   
1/31/2019 - added as coauthor Senator Ruckelshaus
1/3/2019 - Referred to Senate Elections

State Bill Page:   

SB171
REPEAL OF CERTAIN TAX INCENTIVES (HOLDMAN T) Repeals the coal conversion system property tax deduction, the coal combustion product property tax deduction, the recycled coal combustion byproduct personal property tax deduction, the aircraft property tax deduction, the intrastate aircraft property tax deduction, the Hoosier alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer investment income tax credit, and the local income tax option hiring incentive credit.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:00 AM, Rm. 431

Recent Status:   
1/3/2019 - Referred to Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy
1/3/2019 - First Reading

State Bill Page:   

SB289
REPORTING ON WORKER MISCLASSIFICATION (NIEZGODSKI D) Requires the department of state revenue, the state department of labor, the worker's compensation board of Indiana, and the department of workforce development to report before November 1 of each year for three years, beginning November 1, 2019, to the interim study committee on employment and labor for the immediately preceding state fiscal year: (1) the number of employers that each department or the board determined during the immediately preceding state fiscal year improperly classified at least one worker as an independent contractor; (2) the total number of improperly classified workers employed by those employers; (3) the department's or board's estimate of the revenue not collected or the additional costs to the state that the department or board attributes to the improperly classified workers; and (4) the amount of the penalties and interest assessed against those employers by each department or the board, and the amount of the penalties and interest assessed that has been collected. Requires that the reports include only information in the form of aggregate statistics and not include information that can be used to identify specific employers or workers.

Current Status:   
2/6/2019 - Senate Pensions and Labor, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:00 AM, Rm. 233

Recent Status:   
1/31/2019 - added as second author Senator Boots
1/7/2019 - Referred to Senate Pensions and Labor

State Bill Page:   

SB374
VETERANS EDUCATION BENEFITS (MRVAN F) Provides that a student who is eligible to receive a tuition and fee exemption because the student is a child of a veteran must maintain at least a cumulative grade point average that the eligible institution determines is satisfactory academic progress, which may not be less than a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale or its equivalent as established by the eligible institution. (Current law requires the student to maintain at least a cumulative grade point average that the eligible institution determines is satisfactory academic progress.) Provides that if the Indiana department of veterans' affairs approves a request for a determination of eligibility for a person after the person initially enrolls in a state educational institution (institution) and while the person is attending the institution, the determination of eligibility shall be made retroactive to the date of submission to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs of the application to recognize the person's mother's or father's service related death or disability. Provides that the applicant may receive a refund equal to the amount of the tuition and fees paid to the institution by the applicant. Repeals a provision that limits the tuition exemption amount for a child of a veteran who served in the armed forces after June 30, 2011, based on the percentage of the parent's disability rating. Makes conforming amendments.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - Senate Veterans Affairs and The Military, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 9:00 AM, Rm. 233

Recent Status:   
1/8/2019 - Referred to Senate Veterans Affairs and The Military
1/8/2019 - First Reading

State Bill Page:   

SB407
STATE AGENCY MANAGEMENT (SPARTZ V) Establishes the economic and regulatory policy task force. Provides for members of the task force and duties of the task force. Requires the task force to prepare a report and recommendations.

Current Status:   
2/5/2019 - Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy, (Bill Scheduled for Hearing); Time & Location: 10:00 AM, Rm. 431

Recent Status:   
1/14/2019 - Referred to Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy
1/14/2019 - First Reading

State Bill Page:   























































Friday, February 1, 2019

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