This week was the mid-session deadline for Senate bills to advance out of the Senate. Beginning February 28, the Senate will begin work on House bills that were approved in that chamber. This brief summary includes highlights of a few of the 198 bills approved by the Senate that are now eligible for action in the House of Representatives:
Archive for February, 2011
Tags: 2011 legislation, 2011 New Laws, clean energy, education reform, elections, firearms, Immigration Law, local government, marijuana, Organized Labor, right to work, Sentencing law, texting while driving, unemployment insurance trust fund, vote center
Tags: House of Representatives, Organized Labor, right to work, simpson-audio-video, walk out
On Wednesday, Feb. 23 Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson held a media availability to update the public at the mid-point of the legislative session and answer questions on recent Statehouse events.
The video and audio provided below was recorded during this media availability as Sen. Simpson replied to questions from Statehouse reporters.
When asked about the decision by the House Democrats to walk out this week, blocking a votes on several divisive bills, Sen. Simpson explained it is the constitutional right of the minority to use that tool to make their concerns heard when more traditional negotiations fail. She said it’s not an option to be taken lightly, and pointed out that House Republicans have also used the tactic in the past when they felt they needed to do so.
“It’s in the constitution. It’s a constitutional right of the minority…”
Sen. Simpson told reporters she has thought since the beginning of the session that the real question was how the Republican leadership in each chamber was going to control the radical agenda of a few members. This week’s events show that radical agenda has led to the shut-down in the House.
“You know at the beginning of this session…”
Will Senate Democrats support the Senate Republican leadership’s proposal that the so-called right to work bill (House Bill 1468) become a study committee on the topic?
“I don’t know how much more we need to study right to work…”
When will House Democrats return?
“I believe that the House Democrats who are in Illinois…”
“This legislative process works best when people come together and compromise…”
Why is the so-called “right to work” bill and other bills aimed at organized labor and public education are so important?
“Everybody who works for a living should be concerned…”
“This whole notion that public employees should not be able to collectively bargain…”
“There is lack of knowledge about what labor unions have done for this nation…”
Tags: 2011 General Assembly, Audio, Indiana Senate Democrats, Senator Simpson, simpson-audio-video, Video
Tags: Senator Greg Taylor, Senator John Broden, Senator Karen Tallian, Senator Lonnie Randolph, Senator Tim Lanane
INDIANAPOLIS— On Tuesday, a bill dealing with immigration was approved in the State Senate despite Democrat protests that the legislation encourages racial profiling, will cost the state jobs, and carries a significant financial cost for state and local governments. Senate Bill 590 would establish a number of restrictive provisions such as enabling law officers to verify an individual’s U.S. citizenship with “probable cause” and requiring that only English be used in any public document, including government websites and forms.
Senate Democrats rose strongly in opposition to the bill, citing the chilling consequences it would have on economic development, particularly in the state’s corporate and academic recruitment of high-skilled professionals from around the world.
Senate Bill 590 was approved by a vote of 31-18. It will now go to the House for further consideration.
State Senator John Broden, a Democrat from South Bend, says the bill is a jobs killer that will hurt Indiana’s economy, as recognized by top employers Eli Lilly and Cummins. Sen. Broden also says the local governments will see an unmanageable cost in enforcing the bill.
SEN. BRODEN: “This bill is a jobs killer…”
SEN. BRODEN: “I think this bill does have a significant fiscal impact…”
State Senator Tim Lanane, a Democrat from Anderson, outlined a number of requests from Hoosier job-creators urging the legislature to refrain from passing the bill due to a negative impact on business.
SEN. LANANE: “A couple days ago I saw something…”
State Senator Lonnie Randolph, a Democrat from East Chicago, says the issue should be dealt with on the federal level. He says state legislators should be dealing with the state budget and job creation, not this.
SEN. RANDOLPH: “All of the problems that we’ve got and we want to solve the federal…”
SEN. RANDOLPH: “We should be ashamed…”
State Senator Karen Tallian, a Democrat from Portage, says she can’t be quiet while Indiana becomes one of a handful of states to adopt some of the most restrictive and racially controversial measures in the country.
SEN. TALLIAN: “Now we’ve been told that we need this bill…”
State Senator Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, says that he is concerned about the bill’s potential affect on the new Indianapolis Convention Center.
SEN. TAYLOR: “I care about my convention center…”
For more information on senate bills or the Senate Democrats visit http://www.senatedemocrats.in.gov.
Tags: 2011 Session, Indiana House Democrats, Organized Labor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 22, 2011
INDIANA HOUSE DEMOCRATS: HOOSIERS NEED TIME TO EXAMINE HOUSE GOP ATTACKS ON FAMILIES
INDIANAPOLIS – The members of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus have issued the following statement on today’s events at the Indiana House of Representatives:
“The past few days have seen an unprecedented attack on Hoosier families by a radical House Republican agenda that will hurt millions in both the classroom and the pocketbook.
“House Democrats find it hard to believe that these proposals affecting so many are being advanced in the name of ‘reform.’ In point of fact, they are anti-child and anti-worker, and there needs to be sufficient time for the people of this state to examine the length and depth of what is being attempted here.
“The House Republicans are pursuing legislation that is diverting state tax dollars toward for-profit private schools through programs like charters and vouchers. This comes at a time when public schools already have been reeling from $600 million in spending cuts ordered by Gov. Mitch Daniels over the past two years.
“As more public money goes toward for-profit private schools, the funding available for public schools grows smaller and smaller. That means larger classes, as well as cuts in programs, instruction and materials that will adversely affect children who will never have a chance to attend a private school. In addition, House Republicans are seeking legislation that enables private schools to avoid many of the rules and regulations imposed on public schools.
“But the attacks do not stop there. House Republicans have advanced a second set of proposals that declare war on working families across this state. They attempt to portray these attacks as efforts to create jobs, but proposals like right to work have a documented history of driving down incomes for working men and women.
“We are pleased Gov. Daniels agrees with us that right to work does not need to be heard now, although it must be pointed out that he doesn’t rule out future consideration of this issue.
“Right now there are close to 300,000 Hoosiers who find themselves without jobs, and are desperately looking for ways to support their families. To date this session, the only thing the House Republicans have told these people is that if they lose their jobs, their unemployment benefits are going to be cut 25 percent.
“Hoosiers already make only 85 cents for every $1 earned by the average American, and these anti-worker proposals have been proven to slash wages by an average of $5,500 each year. They have had enough, which is why thousands of working men and women have appeared at the Indiana Statehouse these past few days. Their voices need to be heard.
“Indiana House Democrats will continue to deliberate on these issues until their full implications are grasped and debated.
“Despite his recent statements, the governor still has the ability to compel our attendance, which is why we have relocated to Urbana, Illinois, for the immediate future. By staying here, we will be giving the people of Indiana a chance to find out more about this radical agenda and speak out against it.
“We will remain here until we get assurances from the governor and House Speaker Brian Bosma that these bills will not be called down in the House at any time this session. Our leader, State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), is ready to talk to the Speaker any time. All the Speaker has to do is call.”
– 30 –
Attached are the bills of concern to House Democrats:
HB 1002 Charter School Expansion. Diverts state funding to experimental schools at a time when the state has cut funding to local schools by $600 million over the past two years.
HB 1003 School Vouchers. Allows a family of four making over $80,000 a year to receive taxpayer dollars to send their children to a private school.
HB 1479 Private Takeover of Public Schools. Allows the state of Indiana to take over poorly performing schools and for these schools to be managed by for-profit companies. It removes local decision making in schools.
HB 1584 Public School Waiver of state laws. Allows school boards to seek waivers of almost any school law or regulation.
HB 1468 Right to work. Places the government between employers and their workers. It weakens the ability of working people to bargain for fair wages and safe work environments.
HB 1216 Public Works Projects and Common Construction Wage. Weakens the ability of government to ensure that tax dollars are paid to the best and most qualified workers on public works projects, and that these tax dollars are spent at home.
HB 1203 Employee representations. Ends employee rights to join a union by secret ballot and opens employees up to retaliation and firing by an employer who finds out they are trying to use their right to bargain. This is preempted by federal law. Will require the state to use taxpayer dollars to defend this legislation.
HB 1450 Unemployment Insurance. Shifts hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes from big businesses to small business and will cut benefits for unemployed workers by 25%.
HB 1585 Right to work for Public Employees. Removes collective bargaining rights at the local level.
HB 1538 Minimum wages. Precludes a community from determining what wages are appropriate for its area.
HB 1001 Budget Bill. Allowed no public testimony on a school funding formula that cuts state support for K-12 across Indiana.
Tags: Legislation, right to work, Senate Democrat Caucus, Senator John Broden, Senator Lanane, Senator Simpson, Senator Tim Skinner
Tags: collective bargaining, Organized Labor, public school funding, right to work, Unions
On Monday, over 3,500 Hoosier laborers and teachers crowded the Statehouse to fight against Republican-proposed attacks on the rights of workers. Despite rainy conditions, union members lined the Statehouse sidewalks, waiting to enter the building and ask legislators to vote down numerous bills that would restrict their ability to organize and limit collective bargaining with employers on a variety of topics including safety conditions.
At a Statehouse press conference, Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson spoke out against several of the proposed bills moving through both chambers that she says are an assault on working families.
LISTEN: Sen. Simpson
Sen. Tim Skinner, a high school teacher in Terre Haute, protested against the attacks on teachers’ rights and the unfair promotion of charter schools.
LISTEN: Sen. Skinner
“Anybody in education knows that full day kindergarten is a plus for kids…”
“Governor Daniels is expanding charter schools. He has been consistently cutting funding for public education…”
Also in attendance to back the rights of Indiana’s hardworking wage earners were Senate Democrats Jean Breaux of Indianapolis, Greg Taylor of Indianapolis, Karen Tallian of Portage, Tim Lanane of Anderson, Frank Mrvan of Hammond and Jim Arnold of LaPorte.
Tags: budget, FY2012-2013 Budget, HB 1001
An amended version of House Bill 1001, the state budget bill, passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee on Friday by a party line vote of 15-8. The bill includes the House Republican’s primary amendment and a technical amendment.
The House Democrats presented an amendment which would have removed the Governor’s ability to make discretionary changes during the course of the biennium through budget cuts and reversions. That amendment was defeated by a party line vote of 8-15.
One of the key differences between the Governor’s proposal and HB 1001 as it stands now is a shift in where a $200 million reduction is made. The Governor’s budget proposal recommended that the state could capture an additional $200 million dollars by raiding the PDIF fund. Representative Espich’s version of the bill seeks the funding from four other sources:
1) Collection of L.O.I.T. overpayments from local governments ($88M)
a. Due to the lag between the collection of income taxes and certified distributions, the state over-distributed $610M of local income tax revenues to local governments over the last three fiscal years.
b. The December 2010 revenue forecast assumed that owed funds will be recaptured over the next four fiscal years, with the bulk of the overpayments being collected in years three and four.
c. Rep. Espich’s plan spreads the collections more equally over the four years, resulting in increased collections in years one and two and $88M additional funds available to redistribute throughout the state budget.
2) Collection of the Quality Assessment Fee ($48M)
a. Rep. Espich’s plan maximizes the Quality Assessment Fee, providing an estimated $48M.
3) Decreased Mass Transit Fund Contributions ($15M)
a. In 2007, the General Assembly increased the percentage of sales tax revenue dedicated to the Mass Transit Fund.
b. Rep. Espich’s plan reduces the Mass Transit Fund back to 2007 levels, redirecting slightly more than $7M per year.
4) Deplete the State’s Surplus Fund ($50M)
a. Under Rep. Espich’s plan, the remaining $50M in funds state’s surplus fund.
Tags: education, gun laws, Indiana steelworkers, marijuana, Public schools, Sentencing law, texting while driving, township government, vouchers, working families
The General Assembly is rapidly approaching the half-way mark of the 2011 legislative session. Facing mid-session deadlines, lawmakers are working diligently to get hearings on their initiatives and move them through their respective chambers. Beginning the first week of March, the Senate will begin to review House-approved bills, and the House will begin its deliberation of bills passed by the Senate. This brief summary highlights recent action taken by the Senate and other activities at the Statehouse. Continue reading ‘This Week in the Senate: Working families, education reform…’