INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) and State Senator JD Ford (D-Indianapolis) hosted a media availability to discuss the first half of session. Sen. Taylor and Sen. Ford had the following remarks on the progress in the Senate at this midway point in the 2021 Legislative Session:
“In a time when so many of our residents are struggling with real issues, this first half of session in the Senate has focused on passing business liability protections without any guardrails for negligence, taking away public transit that workers and businesses both rely on, tying the hands of local prosecutors trying to focus on violent crimes to make our cities safer and discussing how to protect monuments that already have protection in the law.” Sen. Taylor said.
“What about the people? Grocery store workers went in, every day, to make sure our families were fed. Our CNAs went to locked down nursing homes every day to care for the loved ones we couldn’t see. Cleaning and disinfecting staff at hospitals made healthcare facilities safe and helped keep the virus from spreading. Gas station workers stayed open so truckers could deliver PPE and vaccines. Our essential workers are just that – essential. Indiana owes them not just our gratitude, but a living wage. Yet no minimum wage bill received a hearing.
“We haven’t seen any efforts to ban chokeholds or no-knock warrants, but we’ve passed legislation barring police officers from firing warning shots. The people of Indiana showed up this summer to demand racial justice, and we owe them action to show we can do better. Instead of ensuring Hoosiers have access to safe and convenient voting, we advanced a bill making it harder to get absentee ballots.
“What are we doing? It seems like every problem Hoosiers have contacted us about over the last year have gone unheard. One thing is clear: The Indiana Senate Democrats will continue to demand that constituents are heard in the second half of session. I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion with the remaining two months of session to do the work Hoosiers really need.”
“Hoosiers sent us here to spend their dollars wisely,” Sen. Ford said. “They sent us here to protect them from being squeezed, from being exploited by bad landlords, by low-wage jobs, by surprise medical billing. They sent us here to protect their right to a good, public education.
“We haven’t heard a single thing about plans to raise teacher pay, but we passed a bill aimed at singling out teachers. Indiana already has some of the lowest paid teachers in the country and attacking teachers, who have gone above and beyond to educate our students through a pandemic, is the last thing we should be doing. The over 90 percent of Hoosier kids who attend public schools will continue to see their opportunities diminished if we continue to expand vouchers at the expense of public education funding.
“I hope that, as we move forward with the second half of session, that the senate supermajority will focus on the lives of Hoosiers and do better to address the needs of the people in our state. We expect fully funded public schools, fulfillment of the governor’s promise to raise teacher pay, adequate resources for our food banks, support for criminal justice reform and doing no harm to the environment that would cause flooding for Hoosier homes. This is what Hoosiers have told us they care about. We demand better. And we will be fighting for better on behalf of all Hoosiers.”