Indiana House of Representatives Fails to Protect Hoosier Moms, Babies & Homes: Toothless Pregnancy Accommodation Bill & Override the Governor’s Veto of SEA 148 Pass
February 17, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
Today the Indiana House of Representatives voted to pass HB 1309, a pregnancy accommodation bill which fails to provide actual protections for pregnant workers. During the same session, state legislators also voted to override the Governor’s veto of SEA 148, a decision which will worsen Indiana’s housing crisis and increase homelessness during a global pandemic and bitterly cold winter weather.
Samantha Kern, a worker from Fishers who miscarried because her employer failed to provide accommodations, wants our state legislature to do more for Hoosier families: “I am disappointed with the lack of direction granted by 1309. This bill does not provide solid, concrete guidelines for employees or employers. There is an inherent balancing act that comes with pregnancy and motherhood in the workplace. Women aren’t asking for special privileges. They’re just asking to not have to choose between their health (and the health of their children) and their jobs.”
April Lopossa, a Hoosier Action leader from Martinsville who quit her job at a warehouse because her employer refused to provide accommodations, echoed Samantha’s disappointment: “I want a bill that is legitimately going to protect pregnant workers, not one that just looks like it might on the surface.”
Olivia Underwood, a Hoosier Action leader from Carmel is very concerned about the impact of SEA 148 on the 30% of Hoosiers who rent: “We currently live in one of the most affordable rental communities in Carmel. I have seen as many as five neighboring families in my apartment building alone forced to move due to the sudden financial burden of COVID-19. People in my community are struggling to maintain housing, losing loved ones, being laid off, and being ignored in their time of need by a government that seems more concerned with whether businesses profit than whether people survive.”
The Indiana House of Representatives has moved forward on both of these bills despite widespread opposition from Governor Holcomb, the Indianapolis Business community, countless non-profits and labor unions, and grassroots Hoosier leaders from across the state.
Over the course of the Indiana General Assembly so far Hoosier Action member-leaders have contacted over 100,000 Hoosiers, coordinated over 350 constituent calls and emails from Hoosiers across the state to their legislators, surveyed over 165 Hoosier working Moms, held a press conference and day of action at the statehouse, and met with dozens of state legislators to discuss these bills.
“Over the past week, our members have been talking to hundreds of constituents from Representative Torr and Reprepresentative Huston’s districts,” said Hoosier Action Organizing Director Tasha Coppinger. “What we’ve been hearing from people, including former and current tenants, small landlords and small businesses, and from faith leaders alike is overwhelming opposition to SEA148. We will continue to work alongside these communities to stop this until people are safe in their homes.”
Despite today’s setbacks, Eva Bell, Hoosier Action’s Statewide Moms Organizer remains committed, “We are not going away and we will keep fighting at a state and federal level to ensure that moms have happy healthy pregnancies and babies.”
To protect Hoosier Moms, babies, and families we ask that if the Senate moves forward with HB 1309 they meaningfully amend it to provide real protections, and that the Indiana General Assembly move quickly to pass legislation to counterbalance and fix the dangerous loopholes in SEA 148.
ABOUT HOOSIER ACTION
Hoosier Action is a nonpartisan, homegrown community organization made up of thousands of Hoosiers, mostly from rural and small-town Indiana. We believe that all Hoosiers, regardless of how much money they make, should have a say in the decisions which affect our lives.