Key Bills Pass, Credit Card Debt Jumps - AFA-IN

Key Bills Pass, Credit Card Debt Jumps – American Family Association of Indiana

Note: To those who received my monthly donor letter this week, you may have noted some of my frustrations in what I wrote two weeks ago. Things change very quickly in legislative sessions, and as you will read today, we now have a lot of good issues moving through the process. I am thankful to those who read these weekly AFA-IN emails and stay on top of the twists and turns in your state legislature.

Legislature Reaches Critical Deadline

The Indiana General Assembly reached a halfway point this week passing the final vote deadline for “live” bills.

The one bill required to become law by the Constitution is the state budget. HB 1001 has a $43.4 billion price tag with significant increases in school funding (6%). Almost half of the entire state budget goes to education funding. Included in the bill is a significant expansion of school vouchers. Although 90% of students will still choose a public school, due to no other viable choice, or approval of the school they currently attend. The House has made it possible for 95% of Hoosier students to have a voucher based on household income. This puts in place the money following the student which is a win for free market competition and empowering parents as customers. HB 1001 was passed on a party-line vote (66-29).

As you may have read, a surprise floor amendment was added to HB 1001 by Rep. Lorissa Sweet saying that state funds should not go to the controversial Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. It remains to be seen if the Senate will keep this language as they take their turn with the bill.

Senate Bill 480 passed the Senate yesterday on a solid vote. we have called this the “Help not Harm” bill because it prohibits sex reassignment surgeries and puberty-blocking drugs for minor children. The bill is authored by Senator Tyler Johnson who is a doctor.

The longest study on this issue comes from Sweden. It followed people for 30 years before, during, and after transitioning and found that mental health counseling, depression, and suicide were drastically higher than the general population by 20 times. SB 480 passed 36-12

Senate Bill 350 is a bill concerning the first amendment. It simply states that a local county or municipality cannot restrict the speech of a pastor, counselor, or therapist as some cities have attempted to do. People seek out counseling voluntarily and the government has no right to gag a counselor (or for that matter, a Crisis Pregnancy Center like California tried to do) from offering help from their own worldview perspective. SB 350 easily passed 36-12.

As I mentioned last week, House Bill 1407 is an important parental rights bill that is headed to the Senate after a 58-33 vote.

Yesterday, the state Senate debated Senate Bill 12 for over two hours, but finally passed it on a strong 37-12 vote. Every Democrat and two Republicans voted against protecting children in schools from indecent sexual material defined in statute as “matter harmful to minors.” Of course, they all say they oppose pornography, but none of them has offered a bill to protect students from material that is illegal outside a school. Senator Jim Tomes has fought for his bill for three years. He did a great job speaking on and defending his bill yesterday. It now goes to the House where I hope it passes with equally strong support.

House Bill 1608 is headed to the Senate after a 65-29 vote. It takes the controversial issue of human sexuality out of grades K-3.

Unfortunately for voters, House Bill 1428 died in the House. This bill would have allowed for the identification of school board candidates by their voting history with a party label like every other candidate on a ballot.

The Struggle is Real

According to new numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total U.S. household debt reached $16.9 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2022, which represents a 2.4% increase (or $394 billion) over the third quarter of 2022. During the fourth quarter of 2022, balances on credit cards increased roughly 6.6%, to a total of $986 billion. That is the highest growth for one quarter in the history of the data, which was first recorded back in 1999. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, balances on credit cards increased by 15.2%.

Fed staffers also pointed out that at the end of last year, 18.3 million people were behind on at least one of their credit card payments. At the end of 2019, that number stood at 15.9 million.

Balances are up, card interest rates are up, and more people are carrying credit card debt today.

This month a poll found that nearly 60% of registered voters say they have less money in their pocket now than they did last year. Only 12% say they have more money now than a year ago. In 2018, only 28% said they had less money than the previous year.

Those feeling hardest hit include Republican women (78% less money now), rural Whites (69%), Gen Xers (63%), and voters with annual income below $50,000 (62%).

Social Experimentation with Hoosier Prisoners

Here is a bill that commonsense taxpayers should applaud. House Bill 1569 (Mayfield) prevents taxpayer dollars from being used by the Indiana Department of Corrections for sex change operations on prisoners. Such procedures are very expensive and require lifelong medical care to prevent the body from reverting to its natural state. HB 1569 passed the House on a strong 68-24 vote two weeks ago.

This is a good bill. However, it might be good if Senators looked at what England recently did on this topic. On Monday the United Kingdom adopted a policy saying male prisoners presenting as trans females will not be housed with female prisoners. This policy follows a controversy in Scotland where a violent male rapist, claiming to be female, was sent to a women’s prison. Last year, a trans female was moved out of a female prison in New Jersey, but only after he impregnated two women serving time there. This protective policy would be a good addition to HB 1569.

In Their Own Words:

“The great pillars of all government and of social life virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.” – Patrick Henry

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