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Indiana General Assembly @ Half-Way Point

Mar 1, 2021 | Blog, Government Affairs, Legislative Affairs

SB 233 – TANF Eligibility
JCRC supports this bill, which passed the Indiana Senate 43-5 and now moves to the Indiana House.  It will modestly and gradually increase state income and eligibility requirements for the Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) program, which will increase benefit levels and allow more Hoosier families living in extreme poverty to access the program.  Income eligibility will phase up from 16% of federal poverty guidelines (FPG) to 35% of FGP in 2023, then to 50% of FGP in 2024.  If SB 233 passes, it will be the first time Indiana has increased its eligibility requirements for cash assistance since 1988 (33 years!).

Veto Override of SEA 148-2020
JCRC supported intense advocacy efforts from our community and coalition partners, including the Greater Indianapolis Multifaith Alliance and the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition, to urge lawmakers to sustain Governor Holcomb’s veto of last year’s Senate Enrolled Act 148.  SEA 148 gutted all local regulations and control of the landlord-tenant relationship.  JCRC and our coalition partners believe that local units of government need to be allowed to enact ordinances and regulations as they see fit in order to grapple with Indiana’s extremely high rate of evictions and lack of affordable, quality, rental housing.  The House and Senate both overrode the Governor’s veto, making SEA 148-2020 law. To learn more about your tenant rights and important housing policy visit the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalitions website.

Senate Bill 168 – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
JCRC opposed this bill, which was amended for the issue to be sent to an interim study committee. It proposed eliminating existing civilian oversight structures for IMPD that were established by the Indianapolis City Council, and would have placed full department administration in the hands of a five-member state board, with four members appointed by the Governor.

Senate Bill 394 – Police Department Administration
JCRC opposed this bill, which was defeated in committee (2-8) after being amended for the issue to be sent to an interim study committee.  It proposed giving the chief of a city police department, or a town board of metropolitan police commissioners, the sole authority to make general orders or establish a department’s procedures and policies, including around the use of force. As originally written, this bill was a direct attack on the new IMPD General Orders Board created in late 2020 by the Indianapolis City-County Council. 

Senate Bill 311 – Use of Force
JCRC opposed this bill, which was significantly amended in committee to restate a law enforcement officer’s personal right of self-defense.  As originally drafted, it would have allowed law enforcement officers to use force options (such as chokeholds) that were not in their department’s use of force policy and disregard force policies in certain situations, as well as provide officers with a blanket affirmative defense if they used force outside of their department’s policies.