Indiana’s “short session” ended this week and the ACLU of Indiana and our supporters were a constant presence in the Statehouse - fighting tooth-and-nail to stop discriminatory legislation and advance measures to protect the rights of all Hoosiers.
Again and again, Indiana legislators put their own narrow agendas ahead of the basic rights and human dignity of everyday Hoosiers. Instead of working to expand voting rights, stop gerrymandering, or make college more accessible for immigrant youth, they veered off course – passing more intrusive abortion restrictions and attempting to limit discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools.
Here are five developments you may have missed – and five reasons to keep up the fight for justice and equality for all.
LGBTQ Rights: Victory!
Just a few years after the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act wreaked havoc on the economy, Indiana lawmakers were at it again – proposing legislation that would have targeted LGBTQ young people and prevented educators from creating safe and welcoming educational environments for all students. Together we fought back, and convinced the lawmakers to remove this discriminatory language from the bill.
Gerrymandering: Keep Up The Fight
Even though legislators failed to pass comprehensive redistricting reforms to unrig our maps, more Hoosiers than ever took action and helped put this issue on the agenda. By attending rallies, speaking out at Third House meetings, making phone calls, and packing committee hearings, they proved that they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Now we need to keep up the fight to make sure voters can choose their elected representatives, not the other way around.
Voting Rights: Missed Opportunities
Lawmakers also failed to enact voter-friendly reforms that would have made it easier for eligible voters to participate in democracy. We’ll be working to make sure common sense measures like Election Day registration and no-fault absentee voting are at the top of the agenda next year.
Abortion Rights: Under Assault
Indiana politicians remain determined to put their own political agendas ahead of women’s health. Under the false guise of patient safety, Indiana legislators passed more restrictions on abortion that interfere with a woman’s personal medical decisions. We’ll be keeping all options on the table – including lawsuits – to protect abortion access in the Hoosier State.
Immigrants’ Rights: Keep Up The Fight
While legislators did pass a measure aimed at helping DACA recipients obtain professional licenses, there is a lot more work to do when it comes to supporting immigrant youth. The ACLU of Indiana and our supporters pushed hard for legislation that would have allowed immigrant students to receive in-state tuition at Indiana’s public colleges and universities, but those calls went unheard. In fact, legislation to make college more accessible for Indiana Dreamers didn’t even get a hearing. That’s unacceptable. We’ll be working to make sure lawmakers get the message that making Indiana Dreamers pay higher tuition rates is unfair.
Now that session is over, the fight for justice and equality moves from the Statehouse to communities across the state. Sign up for People Power
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