Policy Update, October 27, 2017 
Thank you for your interest and support. Indiana United Ways provides its Policy Update on "even Fridays" (2nd and 4th Fridays). Contact us  if you have any questions or comments about content (past, present or desired for the future).  
At the Statehouse - Take Action
Take action in support of the charitable deduction
We are at a critical moment in tax reform. After seeing numerous outlines, a comprehensive, detailed tax reform bill will be unveiled in the U.S. House of Representatives next week to be voted on in Committee the following week. Indiana United Ways are particularly concerned about changes to the charitable deduction and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Exact changes to the EITC are less clear, but the tax reform bill will likely include provisions that could significantly reduce charitable giving. While the charitable deduction is preserved in current tax reform proposals, only 5% of Americans are expected to itemize their taxes because of the increase in the standard deduction. This means 28 million people will be taxed on their donations to charities. Provisions in current proposals could result in at least $13.1 billion less in giving each year. This will damage the very fabric of the charitable sector, an industry that employs 13.5 million people-or 10% of the national workforce.

Representative Mark Walker (R-NC 06) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would expand the charitable deduction to all Americans for up to one-third of the amount of the standard deduction. The Universal Charitable Giving Act (H.R. 3988) would expand the charitable deduction for all taxpayers, including those who do not itemize, by creating an above the line deduction. This would incentivize charitable giving for low- and middle-income taxpayers as well as protect giving for those affected by an increased standard deduction. View a summary of the bill from Representative Walker's office.

Raise your voice and tell your Member of Congress to fight for charities by co-sponsoring H.R. 3988.
At the Statehouse
Legislative study committees wrapping upState Capitol
During the legislative session, many interim study committee topics are recommended by the General Assembly.  The meetings allow experts in the field and state agencies to share information about the current state of issues in Indiana in preparation for the next legislative session.  In late May, the Legislative Council announced the topics to be studied in the interim before the 2018 session.  

View the House and Senate interim study committee assignments. Check the interim committee calendar for updates. A sample of current meetings on the calendar include:
Several interim committees are done meeting for the year and have submitted final reports.  A sample of final reports that may be of interest to our readers include:
  • Education - recommends that the IGA take no action on new teacher induction programs and that the Department of Education request a waiver to the graduation requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) so that Indiana may preserve its current diploma types
  • Elections - recommends that Indiana should continue to explore same-day voter registration as a means to promote a more accurate and current voter registration list, consider vote-by-mail and look at the security measures in place in other states that conduct vote-by-mail
  • Fiscal Policy - does not include any recommendations
  • Government - recommends that the IGA pursue legislation that would establish a healthy food financing fund and a healthy food financing program under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in the upcoming 2018 session
Charitable Sector Priority Area - Take Action
Indiana Coalition for Human Services and Children's Coalition of Indiana team up to offer fall learning opportunities
ICHS and CCI have partnered to host fall learning opportunities in Indianapolis.  The sessions are open to members and guests free of charge.  The meetings will cover a variety of topics throughout October and November.  Register now to attend sessions that interest you and view the flyer for additional event details.
  • Tuesday, November 14:  New Census Data and the Wage and Wealth Gap in Indiana presented by Andrew Bradley and Erin Macey of the Indiana Institute for Working Families. 
  • Tuesday, November 28:  Home Rule presented by Justin Schneider of Indiana Farm Bureau.
Education Priority Area
On My Way Pre-K expansion counties accepting applications
In June 2017, Governor Holcomb and the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced that 15 additional Indiana counties are now eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K. Ten of those counties (Bartholomew, Delaware, Elkhart, Howard, Madison, Kosciusko, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph and Tippecanoe) have agreed to pilot a half year program beginning in January 2018 for the second half of the 2017-2018 school year for children that will attend kindergarten in August 2018. To be eligible for the program families must earn less than 127% of federal poverty level and parents/guardians must have a service need.  Learn more about how to submit a family application. The other expansion counties (DeKalb, Floyd, Grant, Harrison and Vigo) will begin their programs in the 2018-2019 school year. 

If you are a community partner or local provider in one of these counties, you may use these county-specific flyers to help get the word out.
Health Priority Area - Take Action
Help promote the upcoming healthcare marketplace open enrollment period November 1 - December 15
Open Enrollment for 2018 health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace starts next month.  If you don't have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source of qualifying coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.  Use these outreach and enrollment tools to promote the open enrollment period with clients, community partners and more.  Important dates to note for outreach and enrollment activities include:
  • November 1, 2017: Open Enrollment starts - first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2018 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2018. 
  • December 15, 2017: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2018. 
  • January 1, 2018: 2018 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
  • January 31, 2018: Last day to enroll in or change a 2018 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a special enrollment period.  

Indiana 211 coordinates information about healthcare events all over the state. Whether you need information on your health insurance options, want someone to walk you through enrollment, or just have questions, 211 is here for you. Use the map to find an enrollment event near you or simply dial 2-1-1.

Income Priority Area Energy Assistance Program begins November 1
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) provides financial assistance to low-income households, below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level ($36,900 income limit for a household of four), to maintain utility services during the winter heating months through funding from the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant.  The program is administered through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and implemented through Community Action Agencies with outreach offices in every county. These agencies provide the intake application process and utility vendor payments. Contact your local Community Action Agency or call 2-1-1 to learn about the program and how to schedule client appointments.
At the Statehouse - Take Action
Weigh in on issues important to you!
Submitting comments during rulemaking periods is an important way to shape policy.  State and federal agencies appreciate specific comments about possible impacts and ways to improve proposed rules.  Below are a few open comment periods in Indiana.
  • FSSA Division of Aging is seeking public comment on its Home and Community Based Services Report.  Learn more and weigh in before the November 1 deadline.
At the Statehouse
IUW Public Policy 
IUW is a nonpartisan organization that works to advance policy principles and compromise solutions for the common good. Our policy priorities are developed and guided by our Public Policy Committee and our members, based on their programmatic work in Hoosier communities.
  • Education, so that children are prepared for and succeed in school;
  • Income/Financial Stability, so that individuals and families may achieve and sustain financial stability;
  • Health, so that individuals may access quality healthcare; and 
  • Strong Communities, where a statewide 2-1-1 network and a strong charitable sector help communities thrive.
Review our  public policy documents , including fact sheets, testimony and bill summaries. 
Frequently Requested Links / Documents
 iuw.org  - Learn about Indiana United Ways, current trainings and conferences and the ways we support local United Ways/Funds, partners and communities.

 IUW Policy / Advocacy info - Review and download IaUW Policy Priorities, Third House calendar, bill lists, fact sheets, talking points and testimony.
Federal Advocacy Action Center - Contact your member of Congress provided through our partnership with United Way Worldwide.

IUW Policy Update Archive - Read prior issues, special articles and key documents produced by IaUW related to public policy and advocacy.

Community Report Card - Check out key indicators in Education, Income and Health for your neighborhood, county or region.

IN211.org - S earch for human service information available through the referral database or by calling 2-1-1. Download reports about resources, needs, gaps and trends from Indiana 211 Partnership.
NRN Calendar - Register for high-quality and affordable training for nonprofit staff and volunteers by the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network.

Funding and Other Opportunities  Explore current requests for proposals, funding and recognition opportunities.

Indiana General Assembly  - Check the hearing or floor schedule, watch a live or recorded hearing or floor session and look up your legislators. 

Congress.gov   - Look up bills introduced or passed in Congress.