Indianapolis JCRC Public Policy Update and Actions Related to COVID-19

March 20, 2020, 5pm


In an effort to provide our community updated information regarding recent public policy decisions related to the COVID-19 outbreak we would like to make you aware of some of the following information, and of a number of things the JCRC has been engaged with over the last few weeks.  We are also asking our community members to take direct action in reaching out to their members of Congress as it begins to debate a “phase three” economic relief package to ensure proper considerations for non-profit organizations and vulnerable Americans.

For the foreseeable future, JCRC will begin utilizing our website blog for more regular updates.  You can find our blog here.  Posts will also be shared regularly to our social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  As a reminder, JCRC will work as best as we can during these exigent circumstances to continue our policy of only posting emails and social media outside of Shabbat hours, but if it is an emergency you may hear from us.



From our partners at the Jewish Federations of North America:

The federal government is moving quickly to provide aid to ailing communities, and we need your help to be sure that public funds get to those that need it most and can be fully utlized by our Jewish institutions. We urge you to contact your Senators AS SOON AS POSSIBLE Senators Young’s D.C. office number is 202-224-5623 and Senator Braun’s D.C. office number is 202-224-4814. You can also reach out to Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to ask for their leadership. Forward this to others who can help.

Nonprofits need help:

Hundreds of millions of people in America are at risk of losing access to food, medicine and other basic needs provided by a network of Jewish and other social service organizations.

WHAT TO SAY: I’m calling to URGE CONGRESS TO approve $60 billion in economic stimulus and other supports for the nonprofit sector.

Hospitals and health care workers are stretched beyond capacity: 

18 million healthcare workers are operating day and night to care for the sick and trauma stricken.

What to say: I’m calling to URGE CONGRESS TO provide additional funding to support front-line healthcare workers and other caregivers to fortify our resilience and response to this virus.

Millions of Americans are going hungry: 

22 million students who rely on free or reduced school meals are at home, as are 105 million older adults and people with disabilities who are at increased risk.

URGE CONGRESS TO ensure children and families have access to food they need to survive during this time.

We URGE YOU to make a phone call, send an email, and/or post on your social media channels TODAY. Sample scripts and email can be found HERE. Share on social media HERE. Find your Senators HERE.

Indy JCRC joins Indiana Human Service Coalition to Announce COVID-19 Policy Prescriptions 

The JCRC joined with the Indiana Coalition for Human Services to publish a list of proscribed policy measures for state and federal law makers that will support vulnerable Hoosiers during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here for the full list of prescribed measures.

Indy JCRC Joins Call for Governor Holcomb to Veto SEA 148

On Tuesday, March 18th, JCRC joined dozens of other community organizations in asking Governor Holcomb to veto Senate Enrolled Act 148 which would preempt local units of government from enacting ordinances related to the tenant/landlord relationship.

SEA 148 will make it harder to deal with Indiana’s affordable housing and evictions crisis. Local leaders need increased flexibility to deal with housing and eviction related issues in their communities.  While immediate concerns related to evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis are being addressed, it is clear that local leaders should have the flexibility they need to deal with future emergencies.

A copy of the letter sent to Governor Holcomb can be found here.

Governor Holcomb Announces New Measures to Combat COVID-19 in Indiana 

On Thursday, March 19th, Governor Holcomb announced a number of new measures to combat COVID-19.  The JCRC appreciates that several of these measures which will benefit all Hoosiers, but particularly vulnerable populations.  These include a number of measures related to public benefit programs, housing, healthcare, and mental health services.

 Copies of Governor Holcomb’s Executive Orders can be found here. 

Indiana Announces Indiana Primary Election Moved to June 2nd 

Today, March 20th, Governor Holcomb, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, and political party leaders have announced an agreement to move Indiana’s May 4th primary election to June 2nd.  Along with the new date leaders announced a number measures that will allow all Hoosiers to vote by mail through absentee ballot.

The primary election executive order provisions include:

  • Suspend absentee by-mail rules to allow all Hoosiers the option to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election.
  • Allow county clerks to continually mail ballots from now through 12 days out from the new primary election date.
  • Confirm ballots with a May 5, 2020 date will be valid.
  • Enable medical professionals to be eligible members of traveling boards to vote nursing home and hospital patients.
  • Give family members the ability to deliver absentee ballots. Currently only a member of a voter’s household may take possession of their ballot.

Congress Passes “Phase 2” Aid Package 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes:

  • Free Virus Testing: With tens of millions of Americans without insurance or under insured, many are unable to seek testing. This legislation provides testing for all, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Paid Sick Time & Emergency Leave: There is currently no law mandating paid sick leave or family medical leave. This legislation requires all businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including non-profits, to provide leave. Employers, including charities and other nonprofits, will be entitled to a payroll tax credit to offset some of the cost of this mandated benefit. Effective immediately, these provisions expire at the end of 2020.
  • Increased Food Security: With children unable to access free meals at school and older adults and others confined to their homes and unable to benefit from congregate meals, this legislation appropriates critical funding and food program flexibility to ensure that school meals and congregate meals can be provided in alternative circumstances.
  • Higher State Medicaid Reimbursements: Medicaid gives states wide flexibility to address this crisis, from expanding eligibility to cover uninsured people who need testing and care, to broadening coverage of telehealth, to covering certain quarantine-related costs. As states see their health care expenses skyrocket as necessary expenses and enrollment increase, this legislation provides a significant boost in federal funding of Medicaid.
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance: Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their jobs due to the steep economic decline and this legislation helps states prepare for increased unemployment insurance caseloads, and also waives mandatory waiting periods, requirements to search for work, and other requirements for applicants.