Indiana in the Spring: Same Location, 5 hours apart
Although conditions were constantly changing, our commitment to impacting the legislative process and having a say in Indiana’s budget was unwavering. Over 50 member-leaders developed our largest legislative advocacy action program yet. We brought more Hoosiers into the legislative process than ever, significantly shaped the public narrative about the legislative session, and helped to win a 10-year extension of Indiana’s syringe services programs.
Fighting to Fund Our Future: How Hoosier Action Impacted Indiana’s State Budget
For most of the 2021 legislative session, Indiana’s budget forecast and budget did not look good. The General Assembly had proposed dangerous cuts which did not reflect the values of the majority of Hoosiers: the budgets of healthcare, substance use treatment, and other essential programs were to be reduced by 14%. Throughout the legislative session, Hoosier Action leaders met with dozens of members of the Indiana General Assembly on Zoom and in the hallways of the Statehouse. We shared our stories and uplifted the importance of these programs, but often felt like our concerns were unheeded.
So, we organized: on the March 23rd anniversary of Indiana’s COVID-19 lockdown we pulled together our largest event of the session and released a report detailing the failures of many members of the Indiana General Assembly to reckon with the widespread harms of the pandemic. Our vigil and call to action to Reclaim the Future of Indiana garnered significant press coverage. We helped shape the public perception that many members of Indiana’s General Assembly are out-of-touch and feel unaccountable to the people of our state.
And then, hard fought funding from the American Rescue Plan arrived at our Statehouse.
By funding our state and local governments, the most recent federal stimulus bill increased Indiana’s budget forecast by $2 billion! The budget ultimately passed by the Indiana General Assembly responded to many of our concerns and included:
- A massive $1.9 billion investment into schools and teachers
- Fully restored funding to Medicaid, mental health treatment, and substance use disorder programs
- A dramatic increase in food bank funding
While the budget was certainly a significant improvement on previous drafts, it was not perfect. The Indiana General Assembly continues to cut funding vital to cleaning up Indiana’s toxic sites and ensuring clean water, air, and soil for Hoosiers. Our elected officials cut funding for The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) by 3%. As more money from the American Rescue Plan begins to flow into our local communities, we will continue to fight hard for budgets which reflect our values and the needs of our communities.
Corporate Captive: Big Business at the Indiana General Assembly
On May 6th, our sister organization, Hoosier Action Resource Center, released Corporate Captive: Big Business at the Indiana General Assembly, a new report which reveals how corporate power exercised an outsized influence at the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly undermining Indiana’s democracy and causing harms to everyday Hoosiers. By profiling the campaign contributions and lobbying efforts of four major industry lobbies, Corporate Captive reveals how the priorities of this small, but powerful donor class, shaped the outcomes of Indiana’s legislative process this year.
You can read and share both of Hoosier Action Resource Center’s reports on the 2021 legislative session by going to www.hoosieraction.org/report.
FIGHTING FOR HOOSIER MOMS AND FAMILIES
Leaders and Moms of Hoosier Action meet with Dr. Kristina Box, MD
Hoosier Action Leaders Meet with Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box
At the end of April, the Moms of Hoosier Action and other leaders had the opportunity to meet with Indiana State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, MD via Zoom.
We discussed maternal and infant health, HIP/medicaid, and access to vaccines and other healthcare in our rural communities and communities of color. We aligned with Dr. Box on many priorities, including postpartum Medicaid Expansion and built a relationship with her during the meeting. We look forward to working with Dr. Box to improve the health of all Hoosiers, whether they come from Georgetown, Gary, or somewhere in between.
Federal Protections for Pregnant Workers
During the week leading up to Mother’s Day, the Moms of Hoosier Action continued to put the needs and voices of moms front and center while fighting for what moms really want: a brighter future for their families.
On May 6, they held a special Facebook Live with Sarah Brafman, Senior Policy Counsel from A Better Balance to learn more about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and to take action to support Hoosier Moms and families!
Save Scott County Lives
Hoosier Action Leaders Fight to Stop
Another HIV Outbreak in Scott County
Hoosier Action member leaders attended the Scott County Board of Commissioners meeting to discuss the future of the vital and lifesaving syringe service program (SSP). Joining Scott County residents, they told their stories about how critical these programs are for the community. Hoosier Action leader Dr. William Cooke provided first responder testimony to the effectiveness of the program. Dr. Cooke spoke from his healthcare provider perspective as a physician who practices in Scott County and led recovery efforts on the frontlines during the 2015 HIV outbreak. Indiana State Health Commissioner, Kristina Box MD, and former Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Howard attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the program as well.
Dr. W. Cooke
“First Corinthians 12 points out that we treat the parts of the body that seem less honorable with special honor. Likewise, each person in our community should have equal concern for the other members. If one part is wounded, every part hurts. Our entire region suffered because our brothers and sisters were suffering.”
If you have a story about overdose or the harm reduction program, you can contact organizer Will Stauffer at email@example.com.
Organizers Will Stauffer & Laxmi Palde attend the Scott County Commissioners Meeting 5/5/21.
This spring and summer we are going to start 10,000 conversations across rural and small town Indiana. We’re going to meet our neighbors where they are at by knocking on their doors, picking up the phone, and organizing community events. We want to hold real conversations with one another because we know that positive change can only happen if we stop and listen.
In just a few short days we are poised to launch our BIGGEST outreach and listening campaign yet!
Become a dues-paying member of Hoosier Action for just $5 a month to fund the future of Indiana!
Sign up today to become a monthly dues-paying member by going to hoosieraction.org/join-us. Together, we can make Indiana a place where all Hoosiers, no matter their zip code or the color of their skin, can thrive.
We can’t build power in Indiana without your support. One-time donations help too!