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Newsletter - September 16, 2021

LWVIN  | Published on 9/16/2021


REDISTRICTING IS FINALLY UPON US

The Indiana House Committee on Elections and Apportionment held hearings this week (September 15 at 1 pm and September 16 at 10 am) on the Congressional and IN House district maps they released on September 14 here. They meet next week (September 20) to vote and send the proposed maps to thefull House, which will vote on September 23 to approve HB 1581, the redistricting bill. Click here.

The Senate Elections Committee will release the proposed IN Senate district map on September 21, hold a hearing on September 27, and vote on September 28. (See http://iga.in.gov/redistricting/The full Senate will vote on October 1—and we will have maps that will shape our lives and our communities for the next decade.

When we draw the maps, we essentially choose what hospitals, schools and resources are funded in our neighborhood and deliver what our schools and families need for a decade to come. Funds for schools, hospitals, and other essential services will be allocated by the representatives we elect. So…new district lines should give each of our votes equal weight, each of our voices equal stature, and each of our communities equal resources.

Proposed district lines do not appear to deliver that goal 
(see the FiveThirtyEight analysis of the Congressional map at https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-2022-maps/indiana/republican_proposal/), but the legislative timeline is making public review of their maps difficult at best.

Republican leadership
We need transparency, access to information, and extended time to review the maps! The timeline should not be driven by political considerations* but by fairness to all Hoosier voters.

Contact your own legislators, legislative leadership, and the election committees to convey that message—Hoosiers need and deserve transparency, access to information, and extended time to review the maps! The timeline should not be driven by political considerations* but by fairness to all Hoosier voters.

Contact Information

Legislative leadership:
Senator Jon Ford, Chair of the Senate Elections Committee (317.232.9517)
Representative Tim Wesco, Chair of the House Elections and Appropriations Committee (317.232.9753)
Senator Pro Tempo Rodric Bray (317.232.9416)
House Speaker Todd Huston (317.232.9677)

House Elections and Apportionment Committee (Call House members at 800-382-9841)
Rep. Timothy Wesco, Chair h2@iga.in.gov
Rep. Alan Morrison, Vice Chair h42@iga.in.gov
Rep. Tonya Pfaff, Ranking Minority Member h43@iga.in.gov

Majority Members:
• Rep. Robert Cherry h53@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Ethan Manning h23@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Zach Payne h66@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Craig Snow h18@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Edmond Soliday h4@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Ann Vermillion h31@iga.in.gov

Minority Members:
• Rep. Sue Errington h34@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Matt Pierce h61@iga.in.gov
• Rep. Cherrish Pryor h94@iga.in.gov
Rep. Gregory Steuerwald, author of the redistricting bill h40@iga.in.gov

*The requirement that candidates live in a district for 100 days before filing would give candidates 2 weeks to move if these maps are adopted on October 1. The IN primary is May 3, 2022. Filing opens Jan.5 (not earlier than 118 days before the primary election) and closes Feb. 4 (not later than noon 88 days before the primary election). [Burns Ind. Code § 3-8-2-4]

Linda Hanson, LWVIN co-President


NEW TEXAS ABORTION LAW

What can I say about the outrageous Texas Abortion law that bans almost all abortions after 6 weeks?

Joanne Evers (West Lafayette), Bri Glidden and Linda Hanson (Muncie), Betsy Kachmar (Fort Wayne), Sherry Watkins (Indianapolis) and I have all been trading information.

 Here are some insights.

Th
ere are some great articles in The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization in Austin, TX. The first article,“We annotated Texas’ near-total abortion ban,”was published on September 10 and you can read the full article HERE.

These are some of the more egregious provisions you might not be aware of:

  • If the plaintiff wins, they will be awarded at least $10,000 by the state as well as costs and attorney fees -- which the defendant will have to pay.
  • Plaintiffs have four years to sue.
  • Serial plaintiffs are protected to litigate each of their cases.
  • The burden of proving the abortion was intended to be lawful is on the defendant.
  • The defendant cannot claim that the patient’s right to abortion is a defense for performing one, unless the Supreme Court says otherwise.
  • A rapist can’t sue, but someone else can sue over an abortion provided to a survivor of rape.
The second article is"Texas lawmakers’ novel approach to skirting Roe v. Wade leaves abortion rights advocates without a legal playbook." It delves into the legal machinations of this maverick bill. Of course we know that the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block enforcement of SB 8. But here is another "another possible, albeit unprecedented, approach: "Abortion providers might successfully be able to file a class-action lawsuit against all people who are able to sue them under the new law— therefore blocking any lawsuits before they happen." We can only hope this works. To read the entire article go HERE.

To learn all the juicy details about how the Texas legislature came up with this crazed law go HERE. Here's a summary: "Attorney and former Texas solicitor general Jonathan F. Mitchell is known for his ability to identify legal loopholes where no one else does." He tested out a version of SB8 in numerous communities throughout Texas before he basically wrote the Texas bill.

As far as Indiana is concerned, there is more bad news. We already have more abortion restrictions than any state other than Louisiana, and on September 8th the 7th CircuitCourtof Appeals panel issued a 2-1 ruling that allows Indiana to continue enforcing the laws that District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled against last month. It reinstated Indiana's telemedicine ban, along with state laws requiring in-person examinations by a doctor before medication-induced abortions can be performed and a prohibition on second-trimester abortions outside of hospitals or surgery centers. The appeals process is ongoing.

Also in Indiana,Senator Liz Brown is already working on a version of Texas SB8 for Indiana. State legislative leaders have announced that it won't be considered at the special session on redistricting, but we might see such a bill rear its head in the 2022 legislative session.

Experts say the real test ofRoe Vs. Wadewill come in a Mississippi case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in late fall --Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization. According to Tuesday'sWashington Post, abortion providers told the Supreme Court on Monday that "approving a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks would “scuttle a half-century of precedent and invite states to ban abortion entirely.”

And finally, some good news! The US League of Women Voters is participating in the October 2 Women's March for Reproductive Rights taking place in Washington, DC and other cities. So fa rIndiana Marches are taking place in these cities: Bloomington, Columbus, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greencastle, Hobart, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Noblesville, Valparaiso, and West Lafayette. Go HERE for more info. And HERE is the LWV statement on the SCOTUS failure to block the Texas Abortion Law.

Pam Locker, LWVIN Women's Health Advocate

ITEMS OF NOTE FROM THE SEPTEMBER VIRTUAL BOARD MEETING

Treasurer’s Report-- Tom Gardiner gave reports on a few different financial areas. The grant highlights from LWVUS are as follows: We have received an additional $1000 for completion of our Year 2 C3 and C4 Fair Maps grants, $3000 for our Year 3 Fair Maps grant ($1000 additional if successfully completed) and $6,000 for our Federal Voter Rights Legislative Grant. Two more locals are moving to the Club Express platform -- Greater Lafayette and Fort Wayne! The Investment Committee is planning the transition of 10% of the investment portfolio to Environment, Social, and Governance funds (ESG). Tom reported that his workshop on ClubExpress went well.

Voter Services– The committee has been investigating the resource “Voting Rights Lab” (https://votingrightslab.org), specifically using them in reviewing legislation, seeking information on writing bills, learning what lobbyists are involved, among many topics. The consensus of those investigating is that it is a great resource with thoughts of using their information for our VOTE411 materials.

Board Development: Discussions of when and where (if not virtual) to meet for strengthening and developing the board were held; looking to this fall time frame.

The list of liaisons and their league assignments were distributed right after our meeting. They will be contacting their leagues soon, and some pairings will be new. We're looking forward to renewing old and creating new connections from LWVIN throughout the state!

Karen Martoglio, LWVIN Secretary


Coming Thursday September 30, a Nonpartisan/Partnership Zoom Workshop!

What does it mean to be really nonpartisan?

How do we, as League members, get out our nonpartisan message without appearing to support a specific political party?

What guidelines should we use when choosing partners?

How do we define roles and tasks when partnering with other organizations?

 

Register now to find out the answers to these and other like questions!

Melissa Currence, our National Liaison will be the presenter.

 

This workshop will start at 6pm Central/7pm Eastern and will be Thursday, September 30. Register now:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0vduirqDorHNK-0H-sL59MHBj0g-vl8ASt

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


IDEAS FOR A DEI PROJECT

Our local league had an event and community book read this year around Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY, followed by a discussion related to the movie and then another one specifically about race and policing in our community.

Now the Faith & Action Project is offering a $200 stipend to support the screening of and group discussions surrounding the True Justice film.Thus, any league that wanted to offer this now could apply for a $200 stipend to support that effort.

For more information go to https://www.cts.edu/bryan-stevenson-event-details-and-resources/#film
Linda Dunn, LWV of Hancock County

LWV of Porter County has managed to not only survive during a pandemic, but thrive. We have been able to accomplish quite a bit in spite of the obstacles that 2020-2021 has thrown at us.

We are very proud to say that we have been able to:
  • Maintain our current membershipand add a few new members
  • Conduct 11 meetings over zoom with average of 20 - 25 attendees
  • Hold a very successfulfundraising garage sale in August 2020 raising over $700; repeat in August 2021 with over $600 in sales.
  • Participate inNational Voter Registration Day in September 2020 with 5 locations, along with designing and printing new signs for our booth.
  • Print 1,000 Vote 411 cards that we distribute at all of our events
  • 2020 Election -establish our Vote 411 site; sponsor and conduct 2 virtual candidate forums for Porter County Council and Commissioners race.
  • Convert our websiteto the Club Express platform
  • Commit a great deal of time and resources to the Redistricting initiativestarting in January through the activities of our very dedicated and motivated committee. (See below).
OurRedistricting committeeaccomplished the following:
  • Email campaign to promote1st District meeting
  • Completed a 6 month postcard campaign sending 500 postcards to state legislators
  • Designed a Redistricting handout for events that we distributed at our 3 Day of Action events in Valpo in June, July and August
  • Had 11 members attend the 1st District hearing at Ivy Tech
We will have ourfirst speaker over Zoom in Septembe rand are planning to start an online newsletter this month as well.

Beckie Guffin, President, Porter County League

NAOMI ANDERSON, 1843-1899
MICHIGAN CITY —Naomi Anderson was a nationally renowned suffragist in her day, but she was forgotten in her hometown until recently.A group of activists is planning to make sure she isn’t forgotten again.Plans for a statue in her honor were unveiled Saturday, June 19 at the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sculptor Bernard Williams, who has a studio in LaPorte, showed his design for a statue to be erected this fall at Charles R. Westcott Park.

Anderson was born the daughter of free blacks on March 1, 1843. Her poetry was so good that she was invited to attend the segregated school for whites. Naomi Bowman, as she was known at birth, married William Talbert in 1863. Her husband died in Chicago in 1877.

Shedelivered a controversial speech in Chicago in 1869 that put her in the national spotlight.It was just after the 15th Amendment, given African American men the right to vote, had been passed.“What is the difference between a slave and a free man other than the rights one has? And black women have no more rights now than they had before the abolition of slavery,” Anderson said.

Throughout the late 1870s, she gave lectures supporting women’s rights in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.It was rare for a woman of color to do so then.In Portsmouth, Ohio, she helped organize an orphanage for African-American children.After her husband’s death, she became a hairdresser to support her family. In 1881, she married Lewis Anderson in Columbus, Ohio. He became a successful financier, so she had time to campaign for women’s rights.

In 1892, she campaigned with white suffragists in Kansas, but prejudice among white women in the suffrage and temperance movements frustrated her.By 1895, she left for Califorrnia. Her activism there earned her praise from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Code Stanton, whose names have long been remembered.“She gave speeches across the whole country,” Moldenhauer said. “She was very much in demand. She was shoulder-to-shoulder with Susan B. Anthony.” In fact, one newspaper account even gave Anderson top billing over Anthony, who spoke at the same event.Anderson sent her speeches to all kinds of newspapers across the country and got regular coverage because of it. “Her name was her brand, and she managed it very well,” Moldenhauer said.
Anderson died on June 9, 1899, unaware that her cause would be successful. Women gained the right to vote in August 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified.Naomi never saw herself as African American,” Moldenhauer said. “She always referred to herself as a person of color.” In addition to temperance and women’s suffrage, she advocated for equality among all races and ethnic groups."
How Anderson came to her hometown’s attention more than a century after her death is a puzzle.Nancy Moldenhauer, who serves on the city’s Human Rights Commission, was searching for people with connections to Michigan City for Black History Month a few years ago when Naomi Anderson’s name popped up.“I have no idea who this person is,” Moldenhauer thought.Research led her to realize Anderson was probably one of the most famous people to have been born and educated in Michigan City. “She somehow fell between the cracks,” Moldenhauer said.

Not long after Moldenhauer’s discovery,Sue Websterreceived a jigsaw puzzle for a holiday gift. The puzzle depicted suffragists. When Webster checked the box to see who the unknown woman was, she realized Anderson was a Michigan City native. Webster’s sister, Bonnie Schaaf, did undergraduate studies in women’s history. She became lead researcher on the project to honor Anderson.

“All of a sudden there comes this announcement from Indiana Humanities asking for ‘unknown but yet significant’ women in the suffragist movement,” Moldenhauer said, so she got on the phone with Schaaf to discuss it. They joined forces to pursue the grant.

Michigan City Mainstreet Association agreed to be the local sponsor for the project. Since then, Unity Foundation, the Michigan City Public Art Committee and others have offered their support. Tonn & Blank is installing the sculpture for free. Additional donations are still being sought by the Celebrating Naomi Anderson Project Team.

from the article "Long-forgotten suffragist honored" written by Doug Ross, NWTimes, June 21, 2021 (Updated Jul 9, 2021)

This is a monthly feature. Sue Webster of the Porter County League is coordinating this column on suffragists throughout the state.