Take Action NOW - Indiana Redistricting Reform
Check Out the "Legislation Tracker"
Dear Advocates -

To make it easier for you to know the status of bills that we are following, our team has created the " Legislation Tracker ." This document includes the bill number, the author(s), the content and the current status. It will be updated regularly; so, keep the link below handy.

Thank you for your willingness to be an advocate for Hoosier families and children.

All the best,
Rev. Susan Brouillette, Director
Campaign for Hoosier Families 
Redistricting Reform - The Latest News
Gerrymandering in Indiana
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
A redistricting standards bill authored by Senator Greg Walker , Senator Randall Head , Senator Mike Bohacek ( Senate Bill 105 ) , and co-authored by Senator John Ruckelshaus , passed through the Elections Committee on February 4 in a 5-2 vote, meaning it now will move to the Senate floor for consideration. In its current state, the bill would require legislative action at the state and federal levels to ensure that minority voices are represented and at the same time minimize divisions in areas which are likely to share common interests, including neighborhoods and school districts. Deviations from these standards would be required to be disclosed. While Senate Bill 105 establishes redistricting standards which is a good start, it does not specify how the commission is to be comprised. As the Indiana Institute apply points out, “Who is drawing the district maps is just as important as the standards by which the maps are drawn.”  The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting All in 4 Democracy which Campaign for Hoosier Families is a member, would prefer Senate Bill 91 and House bill 1011 (Senate and House companion) as vehicles for Redistricting Reform since they call for an independent commission to be appointed by the legislative leadership.
Cap Payday Lending Interest Rates
Targeting Low Income Families & Children
by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern
The fight to cap the interest rates charged by payday loans is all the talk around the Indiana State Capitol. The Indiana Coalition for Human Services of which LUM is a member has been has been fighting vigorously for this cap. The cap has gained a lot of traction and attention by advocates such as yourselves spreading the hashtag “#36IsTheFix.” Many of the payday lenders that market themselves to low income families charge anywhere from 390% - 790%. Given the severe economic harm to the most vulnerable in our state, it is vital that interest rates be capped at 36%. Since the last newsletter, Senator Breaux, Senator Stoops, and Senator Ruckelshaus have been added as co authors on Senate Bill 104. Senate Bill 84 has been referred to the Insurance and Financial Institutions committee. House Bill 1098 has been referred to the Financial Institutions committee, as well. 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. We would encourage them to send them a note thanking them as well. Their names and email addresses are listed below:

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. If you would like to show your support for these bills, please contact your legislators today.
IN General Assembly Minimum Wage Bills - 2019
Stay Informed About Income Inequality
by Rob Krasa, LUM intern
In editions of our newsletter leading up to the start of the 2019 Session of the Indiana General Assembly, we made a call for change highlighting the impact of income inequality in our state and community as well as the current status of the minimum wage in Indiana. It has become apparent that many members of the Indiana State House and Senate have recognized that need as well, as a total of four bills related to the issue have been authored and introduced into the Assembly in this session to date. We are pleased that members of the legislature recognize the positive impact an increased minimum wage would have on Hoosiers. F or those who have advocated for a change, i t is encouraging. As voters and members of the communities that would be affected by these changes should one of these bills be passed into law, it is important to stay informed and in the know as far as what each of these bills specifically would mean for the future of minimum wage in Indiana. The Indiana General Assembly operates a user-friendly website where you can track these and other bills, but learn about the various committees, and review the up to date Indiana Code. And all of this is available including the ability to watch live streams of legislative sessions and more -- by going to this link: iga.in.gov . In this article we’ll take a brief overview of each minimum wage bill currently active in the General Assembly and examine the similarities and differences of each.
Indiana State Representative Carey Hamilton
Highlighted Legislator
by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern
Representative Carey Hamilton recently authored House Bill 1098, a bill to cap the interest rates on payday loans. The cap on payday loans interest rates will make it so families are able to pay off the loans without having to worry about astronomical interest rates. (See the article above titled “Targeting Low Income Families & Children” for more information about the threat posed by the predatory lenders and Representative Hamilton’s bill.)

State Representative Carey Hamilton has done tremendous things during her time in office. Representative Carey Hamilton currently serves as the Democratic whip in the Indiana House of Representatives and represents Indiana House District 87 in Northeast Indiana. Representative Hamilton serves as the ranking minority member of the Financial Institutions Committee as well as serving on the Environmental Affairs and Ways and Means Committees.

Representative Hamilton has quite the impressive background before she was even elected into the Indiana House of Representatives in 2016. For nine years, Representative Hamilton served as the executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition. Furthermore, she worked as a nonprofit executive for over 20 years.

On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Representative Hamilton for all she has done to push back against unscrupulous payday lenders. We will continue to follow and support House Bill 1098.
IN General Assembly TANF Reform Bill - 2019
Learn More & Help Make A Change
by Rob Krasa, LUM intern
Several state senators have authored a bill which seeks to begin much-needed reform to the TANF program. As highlighted in our previous newsletter, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides much-needed temporary financial assistance benefits for families as well as individuals which find themselves in dire financial situations. It is intended to ensure some sense of stability for those in such situations, but as we discussed, has been in need of reform for quite some time.

Senate Bill 440 aims to expand the eligibility requirements for receiving such benefits - based on the family’s income in relation to the federal poverty level. The bill would gradually increase the maximum allowable income to qualify for benefits under TANF up to 50% of the federal poverty level by July of 2021. The new threshold would be an increase of 17% providing access to benefits for many more Hoosiers in need. In addition, the bill aims to increase the payments made under the TANF program for most qualifying individuals and families, and would require these benefit amounts to continue to be monitored and adjusted according to increases in the Social Security cost of living adjustment. New payments would range from $248 monthly for most qualifying individuals and $409 monthly for families.

While the new payment amounts are not nearly enough to provide stability for qualifying people on their own, this is an encouraging move in response to awareness efforts by advocates such as yourselves to make the need for reform known. Expanding eligibility requirements is also a positive move forward for reforming this program and addressing the needs of those most impacted. To track the progress of this bill, as well as all bills moving forward in the 2019 session related to topics covered in the Campaign for Hoosier Families newsletter, see our Legislation Tracker included in this edition.
Solving Food Deserts: One Bill at a Time
Families Need Healthy Food Locally
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
Representative Robin Shackleford and co-authored by Representative Steven Davisson, Edward Clere, and Vanessa Summers seeks to combat the prevalence of food deserts in the state, establishing both a healthy food financing fund and a healthy food financing program under the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The new fund will act to provide financing, in the form of loans and grants, for projects that will help increase the availability of fresh food in underserved communities. This is an important step in ensuring the health of Hoosiers across Indiana.

The bill has not moved since it was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the Indiana House of Representatives on January 7th. While the bill has yet to be heard by committee, its presence in the state’s legislative agenda illustrates legislators is encouraging since it signals that legislators are aware of food security problems within the state.  This map of Indianapolis illustrates the prevalence of food deserts,indicated by purple block groups, in Indianapolis. This map is courtesy of Savi, one of the nation’s first and largest community information systems.