A Note from the Director - Rev. Susan Brouillette
Hello and Happy New Year.

This is our first newsletter of the 2019 General Assembly.  This publication features articles regarding the five issues that Campaign for Hoosier Families will be covering as part of its legislative agenda:  Minimum Wage, Redistricting, Food Deserts, Payday Lending, and Temporary Assistance for Need Families or TANF Reform .  Future newsletters will include a score card section where can follow the progress of bills related to these issues.  We also encourage you to check out our website at the button below which provides contact information for State Senate and State House members as well as suggestions on how to engage legislators. 

We are also pleased to announce that Angela Weaver, our 2019 Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy Intern, will be joining our Campaign for Hoosier Families leadership team.  Angela will be co-editing the Campaign For Hoosier Families newsletter and leading our advocacy efforts. Angela is a senior at Purdue and majoring in Law and Society. Prior to her internship with LUM, she interned with Indiana Legislative Services Agency, the Tippecanoe County Public Defenders Office, and Purdue Recruitment. Joining Angela is Rob Krasa, who is also interning at LUM this semester and is pursuing a Master in Social Work at Indiana University School of Social Work. Finally, we welcome to the team, Eli Heindricks, who is a sophomore at Purdue and double majoring in Political Science and Economics. We would welcome additional writers. Individuals interested in joining our leadership team may email me at sbrouillette@lumserve.org .

Thank you for your interest in advocating for low income Hoosier families and children.  We are glad to have you as part of our team. Go C4HF!
Minimum Wage in Indiana
Set the Standard, Don't Just Comply
by Rob Krasa, LUM intern
As discussed in our previous newsletter, the effects of income inequality are felt just as hard here in Indiana as they are across the country. One big step to take to help close this income gap would consist of a raise in our minimum wage. While opinions regarding such an increase are certainly mixed, the results of such increases across the country have been largely positive, and have not had the sweeping negative impact on local businesses and economies that some may fear. The history of the minimum wage here in Indiana reveals that a significant increase is long overdue, and studies done regarding numerous increases across the country show that workforce numbers and employment rates would not take the hit that one may expect. In short, it is time for Indiana to buck the past trends, raise the minimum wage, and take a major step toward fighting back against the inequality in income that affects our communities.
Survey Regarding the Minimum Wage in Indiana
Speak Up to Make A Difference
The Campaign for Hoosier Families is interested in your opinion regarding the status of minimum wage in Indiana. We seek this information to guide our efforts in regards to the upcoming Indiana General Assembly Session. The Campaign for Hoosier Families strives to best represent those it advocates for and would greatly appreciate your input.

Please complete this survey by clicking the Survey button below.
Cap Payday Lending Interest Rates
Targeting Low Income Families & Children
by Angela Weaver, Campaign for Hoosier Families intern
Payday loans are hurting low income families each and every day. But, what are payday loans? Payday loans are short term loans, but come with extreme interest rates. According to Credit.com , payday loans are specifically targeted to people with certain characteristics: renters, no four-year college degree, earn less than $40,000 a year, African-American, and separated or divorced. Payday loans may seem like a useful thing, which they can be. However, many borrowers get into trouble when they are unable to repay their debt quickly. These loans are more expensive than other types of loans because the interest rates are astronomical. According to PayDay Loan Consumer Information , “For two-week loans, these finance charges result in interest rates from 390 to 790% APR”. That is why Hoosiers all around are fighting for a cap on interest rates for payday lenders, specifically to 36% APR. If you have ever been personally affected by payday loans, please share your story below to help the Indiana Institute for Working Families increase awareness on this predatory lending. There are currently three bills this Session regarding payday loans that we will be following: SB 104 , SB 84 , and HB 1098 . If you would like to show your support for these bills, please contact your legislators today. On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Representative Carey Hamilton, Senator Eddie Melton, Senator Greg Walker, and Senator Mark Messmer for authoring these bills.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Learn More & Help Make A Change
by Rob Krasa, LUM intern
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is a program designed to provide assistance for families in desperate times of need. Operating as a federal block grant which is managed and regulated at the state level, it is intended as a resource of last resort for individuals and families who have fallen on severely hard circumstances. Established out of the effort for welfare reform in 1996, the original funding source expired at the end of the government's 2002 fiscal year (September). Funding has since operated as a bandage for the program, consisting of a long series of short-term continuances. 

Accordingly, the qualifications and benefits of the program have severely eroded in that time. As of this writing, only those families at 17% or less of the federal poverty level qualify, and even then, standard financial assistance of $288 monthly don’t even approach the lowest of rent or mortgage payments. This means that only about 16,000 of the nearly 1,000,000 Hoosiers experiencing poverty received TANF assistance last year, and most did not receive enough assistance to make a meaningful difference in their circumstances. Additionally, while TANF is intended to provide direct assistance to families in need, states are able to get somewhat creative with their appropriation of TANF grant dollars so long as there is some relation between the spending and benefits for qualifying families. As recently as 2016, this resulted in Indiana using only about 6% of the allotted $302 million for direct financial assistance. A vast majority (94%) goes to programs and case management service that help parents find jobs. Cash benefits as well as education/training benefits are necessary to help parents focus on obtaining the skills necessary to compete in an increasingly technological job market.

Change is long overdue.  For more information and to learn what you can do to make a difference and help make a change, visit the Indiana Institute for Working Families website. To view click More Information button.
Indiana State Representative Mark Messmer
Highlighted Legislator
by Angela Weaver, Campaign for Hoosier Families intern
Senator Mark Messmer recently authored Senate Bill 104 , a bill to cap the interest rates on payday loans. This bill will help low income families everywhere that need help from payday loans occasionally to cover their bills and to be able to pay off the loan at lower interest rates.

Senator Messmer is a state Senator for District 48 in Southern Indiana and is the Republican Majority Floor Leader. During the 2019 Session, Senator Messmer will be serving as the Chair in the Environmental Affairs Committee, as well as the the Chair in the Joint Rules Committee. He is the Ranking Member in the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee. Senator Messmer also serves as a member in the Public Policy Committee and the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. Graduating from Purdue University with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Senator Messmer is the owner of Messmer Mechanical, INC. He is also a member and music minister for the Holy Family Catholic Church.
Legislation to Fix Food Desert
Families Need Healthy Food Locally
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
In the 2019 legislative session, the Indiana Senate will consider a bill which will help residents in food deserts. Food deserts are urban or rural areas where affordable, fresh food isn’t easily available. Food deserts are currently defined as areas with no or few healthy food options available at retail outlets (more than one mile from a supermarket in urban areas and as more than 10 miles in rural areas). Numbers from the USDA indicate that roughly 10% of Marion County residents live in food deserts as of 2015. This lies in stark contrast to other Indiana counties. Only 2% of Hamilton County residents live in comparable food deserts for example. Senate Bill 143 aims to help fix the food desert problem. The bill proposes the implementation of a sales tax, not to exceed 1%, that will finance the healthy food and community development financing fund ( IHCDA ), a fund which will finance projects relating to healthy food, affordable housing, and community development. The bill will allow the fiscal body of an Indiana county to adopt the tax in areas designated as food desert districts.
Census 2020 Impact on Redistricting
Update on Restricting in Indiana
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
The 2020 census is right around the corner, meaning it's time to talk about redistricting. After the census, new legislative districts will be drawn. It is already evident coming into this 2019 legislative session that redistricting is on the mind of Indiana’s representatives as several bills dealing with the process are on the docket. Senate Bill 105 will seek to establish standards by which redistricting must follow. Three other bills:  Senate Bill 91 , Senate Bill 37 , and House Bill 1011 , concern the formation of a redistricting commission. It is important that voters keep their Representatives accountable during this time. The process of drawing new legislative districts needs to be implemented fairly and equally. Gerrymandering to benefit any singular political party should not be given a pass. The integrity of our democratic process must be maintained.
FREE - 'Reform Redistricting Now' Yard Signs
Make sure to get a hold of your FREE Campaign for Hoosier Families' "Reform Redistricting Now!" yard signs, available at the LUM Office. These signs are a part of a movement to hold our legislators accountable for making sure that party politics has nothing to do with how districts across the state are formed and all to do with those who belong in each district.

Be a part of this effort to create change and get ready to place these signs in your own yard today!
Campaign for Hoosier Families - T-Shirts
T-Shirts Available - While Supplies Last
Take a look at Sheila Klinker & Ron Alting showing off their brand new Campaign for Hoosier Families T-Shirts.

In an effort to gain publicity and raise funds for our wonderful cause, Campaign for Hoosier Families are selling T-shirts! The shirts are $15, you can come pick them up from the Lafayette Urban Ministry, or we will ship it to you for an additional $5.

If you are interested, please contact our intern, Angela Weaver, at weaver85@purdue.edu or fill out our attached order form, click below.