IBLC submits summer study proposals to bring about legislative change

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS - Members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) submitted proposals for topics to be studied by the General Assembly's Interim Committees, with the goal of bringing awareness to various issues plaguing Hoosiers and strategizing potential legislative solutions.

On Monday (May 10), The Legislative Council approved IBLC Parliamentarian, State Rep. John L. Bartlett's (D-Indianapolis) request to study the issue of human trafficking in Indiana. The topic has been assigned for study by the Interim Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code.

During the 2021 Legislative Session, State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) successfully amended House Enrolled Act 1220 to include a study on energy issues affecting low-income communities and communities of color and on the potential use of “energy investment districts” established in low-income communities and communities of color. The 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force will examine these and other topics during the 2021 Interim.

Other proposals submitted by IBLC members, but not approved for study include:

IBLC Chair, State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) requested a study on Cultural Awareness and Competence Training Indiana, with House Bill 1333-2021 serving as an outline. Shackleford's request was born out of the racial disparities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of Dr. Susan Moore, who was denied compassionate care due to implicit bias in health care providers. Shackleford will continue to work on this vital issue with the Indiana State Health Department, health care facilities and community leaders over the summer.

IBLC Vice-Chair, State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) requested a study on the prevalence of homelessness, housing insecurity and food insecurity among students at Indiana colleges and universities and asked the assigned committee to provide suggestions for eliminating these issues. While his proposal was not assigned to a study committee this interim, Harris has announced his continued dedication to finding solutions and providing Indiana's college students with the resources they need to succeed.

This past session, Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) submitted Senate Resolution 4, which urged the General Assembly to study the issue of creating a defense to possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. The Senate majority defeated the resolution with a vote of 10-35, preventing it from being considered any further.

State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) also introduced Senate Resolution 18 this past session, which urged the Legislative Council to assign to an appropriate interim study committee the topic of identifying Jim Crow era laws and criminal penalties still in the Indiana Code that were passed specifically to target racial minorities, and to make recommendations on amending or repealing those laws.

Next, IBLC members will be assigned to those interim committees that have received study topics from the Legislative Council. Committee assignments will be announced in the coming weeks.

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