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Stand in Support of DREAMERS

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Stand in Support of DREAMERS

The Dream Act of 2017, S. 1615, was recently introduced in the Senate as a bipartisan effort. It is intended to protect immigrant youth who entered the United States as children and know America as their only home. The bill offers qualifying immigrant youth “conditional permanent resident status” and a path to full lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship. This bill would protect numerous youth, including the estimated 780,000 individuals who received temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The young people S. 1615 seeks to protect are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes and communities. As Catholics, we have long supported DREAMERS as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. 

We ask you to support DREAMERS by urging your Senator to co-sponsor S. 1615. 

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Loss of Health Insurance Access Unacceptable

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U.S. Bishops Chairman Responds to CBO Report on Senate Health Care Bill 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its score on the Senate health care bill. The score could impact how the Senate votes on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  As he is analyzing the full report and expects to release futher comment, Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Domestic Justice and Humane Development Committee, has issued the following initial statement:

“The Congressional Budget Office released a report on the ‘discussion draft’ of the Senate health care proposal, indicating that millions of people could lose their health insurance over time.  This moment cannot pass without comment.  As the USCCB has consistently said, the loss of affordable access for millions of people is simply unacceptable.  These are real families who need and deserve health care.  We pray that the Senate will work in an open and unified way to keep the good aspects of current health care proposals, to add missing elements where needed, and to not place our sisters and brothers who struggle every day into so great a peril on so basic a right.

If you wish to contact Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Tood Young you may do so by using the links provided below:

Email  Senator Donnelly
Email  Senator Young


1400 N. Meridian Street · Indianapolis, IN 46202
(p) 317-236-1455 (f) 317-236-1456



Health Care Reform Bill

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The Senate is poised to consider the health care reform bill and now is the moment to let our members know that we expect life and liberty of conscience to be respected in any health care reform legislation.  The Senate may introduce a bill this week and consider it before the July 4th recess.
Please contact your Senators now to urge them to extend the protections of the Hyde Amendment to every relevant provision of the bill and remind them  that abortion should not be part of any health care reform legislation.   Now is also our opportunity to remind our legislators to protect the conscience rights of those who do not wish to participate in, provide or pay for abortion.    
There is significant pressure being put on members of the Senate to compromise on protections that must be included in the health care law. Please encourage your Senators! Make sure they understand we want and demand health care without abortion funding and with conscience protection.
Thank you for taking action in defense of life and liberty of conscience.


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I-CAN Update for April 6

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A few committees got in one last meeting on Monday morning. In addition, this week brings an end to this phase of the legislative process. Each chamber has completed its review of the other's bills and passed and altered those it found worthwhile. Hence, the remaining weeks are devoted to either concurring with the changes made in the bills or working out compromises regarding the differences made by each body in conference committees.
House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle), and sponsored in the House by Representative Martin Carbaugh (R - Fort Wayne). SB 246 addresses concerns raised by Department of Child Services regarding baby safe devices.  The device allows a mother to surrender a baby (within 30 days of birth) should she be unable or unwilling to provide care. Although Indiana's Safe Haven law allows a parent to surrender an infant to emergency personnel; many babies are left to die rather than giving the child to someone. If anonymity is necessary, the baby safe device provides it. The bill authorizes these devices at hospitals, who voluntarily agree to host it.However, because two such devices are operational at firehouses in northwest Indiana, a second reading amendment by Representative Dave Heine (R - New Haven) passed to grandfather them and allow continued operation. The House passed the bill 92 - 4 on Thursday. Senator Holdman is expected to concur with the grandfathered devices.  ICC supports SB 246 as amended.
SB 404, Abortion, child abuse, and human trafficking, passed the House 75 - 23 on a bipartisan vote. It now allows judicial bypass without parental notice but does contain parental notice of a bypass request that is denied. This was the topic of debate prior to the vote. Parental rights are protected by requiring that those consenting to an abortion for an adolescent prove parentage. Also, aspects of HB 1128 are included in the bill. These include licensing requirements for abortion clinics providing RU 486 and codification of abortion reports to the state. The abortion pill reversal information (in HB 1128) was removed. The bill returns to the Senate where its author, Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), must decide if she and the caucus accept the changes to the bill. Concurrence is expected. ICC supports SB 404 as amended.
The House unanimously accepted (97 - 0) SB 154, Asset limitation for SNAP eligibility. SB 154 updates the asset test for SNAP benefits by increasing the savingsp amount to $5000 and adding prepaid funeral and burial expenses to the exemption list. The bill now returns to its author, Senator James Merritt (R - Indianapolis), to decide if the changes are acceptable. The changes are significant reducing the limit to $5000 from $10,000 and eliminating the self-attestation rather than the submitting multiple documents. While the Senate version is preferable, the House version is an improvement. We should know Senator Merritt's decision next week.  ICC supports SB 154.
House also passed SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary institutions, 72 -26. It returns to its author, Senator Michael Young (R - Indianapolis), for concurrence or dissent. The bill was amended in committee and removed much of the objectionable sanctions language. The amendment was vetted with Senator Young and he is expected to concur.
The Senate made many changes to HB 1001, Budget bill, before passing it along party lines. Along with the changes made by the Appropriations Committee, over 30 amendments were filed during second reading. Committee changes negatively affected the choice scholarship program; these included a separate line item for the choice scholarship rather than inclusion in the general tuition support budget andelimination of the escalator for the scholarship tax credit program. (It did retain the $3 million increase for the scholarship tax credit.) The line item has the potential effect of capping the program; hence, our opposition. Also, the scholarship tax credit has run out the last two fiscal years and limits the funds available to supplement the choice program. The increase is helpful but may not be sufficient to meet the donations offered. Both topics will be addressed during conference committee in the coming weeks and are important to the long term viability of the choice (voucher) program. HB 1001 passed the Senate 39 - 9.
In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org



Pro Life Committee Art Contest

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The St. Luke Catholic Church Pro Life Committee is sponsoring an Art Contest open to all students grades 3-8 who are registered members or enrolled in the parish school.  The theme for the 2017 Art Contest is Life is a Family Affair.  Besides the love and supportive care given to a new member of the family, this also applies to parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins etcetera.  Think back about all the good things they have done for you.  None of them should be forgotten.  What kind thing could you do for one of your relatives?  Draw your idea on your art entry.
You may download an entry form by clicking here.  Applications will also be available in the school office and parish office.  All completed art entries should be turned in to the school office or to the parish office by Friday, April 21 at 4:00 pm.  Please contact Nancy Cummins at gcummins21@comcast.net if you have any questions about the contest.



I-CAN Update for March 31

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Unless there are last minute morning hearings on Monday, committee hearings ended this week.  All committee reports must pass the floor this coming Monday afternoon.  Committees were busy this week; all bills must pass respective houses by next Thursday.
Although the Senate Judiciary Committee did not hear HB 1128, Abortion matters, the House Public Policy Committee amended major parts of it into SB 404, Abortion, child abuse and human trafficking.  It removed the abortion pill reversal portion but included abortion facilities' licensing and reporting information.  In addition, SB 404, as amended excludes the parental notice of all judicial bypass requests.  This feature drew the most opposition and the threat of a court challenge.  Contact your legislator here.
The bill still contains provisions that strengthen parental rights and protects adolescents from exploitation.  The proposed law increases the age for reporting child sex abuse to age 16 from age 14 and it requires adults to prove parentage in giving consent for an abortion on a girl younger than 18 years of age.  Because of changes to SB 404, the Senate will have to concur or convene a conference committee to resolve all acceptable changes.

Despite assurances that SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, would be heard; we learned early this week it would not be considered.  Chairman David Frizzell (R - Indianapolis) reported that leadership asked that it not go further and that drug related bills this year would concentrate on treatment and rehabilitation.  This is disappointing because SB 9 would help with addiction and released prisoner rehabilitation.  Because the bill passed the Senate it is eligible for inclusion in another bill in conference committee, however, because of leadership position this is unlikely.
As expected, SB 154, Asset limitations for SNAP, was amended and passed House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee 7 - 0.  The amendment reduced the asset limit from $10,000 to $5,000 and only provides prepaid funeral and burial expenses as exempt from the limitation.  The bill is reduced from the preferred Senate version.  The bill is expected to pass the House next week.  House will have to concur or dissent on the changes.
House Judiciary Committee amended SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary educational institutions, to eliminate the unnecessary restrictions and penalties for universities.  Universities now must comply with Indiana Code prohibiting sanctuary policies in the same manner as Indiana cities and towns. SB 423 will be on third reading on Monday.  It returns to the Senate for concurrence or dissent.  Senate is expected to concur.

HB 1024, Prayer in schools, passed third reading in the Senate 44-5 today. The bill now goes to the House for concurrence or dissent.
HB 1004, Pre-kindergarten education, also passed third reading in the Senate 38-11 today and now goes to the House for concurrence or dissent.  We expect the House to dissent and the bill to be a topic for conference committee consideration.

In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org


Clothing Donations Needed for SVdP

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St. Vincent DePaul Experiences Growing Demand

Clothing donations are needed for men, women and children. Because of this demand, St. Vincent DePaul has provided St. Luke with a donation bin to provide clothes and shoes to the poor and homeless.  This bin (pictured) has been placed on the Illinois Street side of the church near the entrance to the Kindergarten and will be periodically serviced by our SVdP Conference members.  The bin will become a semi-permanent structure at St. Luke, as the demand for clothes and shoes keeps growing.

Help St. Vincent DePaul Help the Poor

St. Vincent DePaul is expanding its clothing donation center in order to keep up with the demand.  All types and seasons of clothing and shoes are needed now.  Please consider donations of clothing (new and gently used) and bring them to St. Luke to place them in the bin.  Thank you!



I-CAN Update for March 9

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March 9, 2017
House is now considering Senate bills and Senate is dealing with House bills. Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting daily to listen to state agencies and other state entities such as universities regarding their needs and the House version of the budget, HB 1001. House Ways and Means Committee is also busy considering the Senate's bills regarding appropriations and fiscal matters.
Committees have begun hearings but primarily on the less controversial bills. And some committees are awaiting all their assignments before determining which bills to hear and in what order. Hence, this week fewer committees met and fewer bills were heard.
Senate Family and Children Services Committee met Monday and unanimously passed HB 1287, CHOICE program, following two technical amendmentsdealing with definitions. It passed second reading on Thursday without amendment. It will be eligible for third reading next week. HB 1287, authored by Representative Ed Clere (R - New Albany), updates the program that helps elderly and disabled persons to access community resources and assists with financial assistance to enable these individuals to remain in their homes and with family. ICC was involved with the initial CHOICE bill which enabled elderly and others remain in their homes rather than the only option of a nursing or long term care facility. ICC supports this update and expansion of the program.
Senate Education Committee heard seven bills on Wednesday. Senator Dennis Kruse (R - Auburn), Committee Chair, listens to testimony regarding the bills one week and amends/votes on them the next. Several bills were of interest were on the docket; these included HB 1004, Pre-kindergarten education; HB 1024 Prayer in schools; and HB 1079, School safety.
HB 1004 provides an expansion of the On My Way pre-K program by adding five additional counties to the pilot program. It also provides that a child with a pre-K voucher is eligible for a school scholarship (voucher) beginning in kindergarten. The program is supported by ICC because it provides help for low income children and families; and it supports parental choice and provides alternatives from which parents can choose the appropriate and best fit for their child. HB 1004 is substantially different from the Senate version passed last week. In addition, most of those opposed to the bill centered on the voucher connection. Amendments are expected next week to make it conform to the Senate version of the program expansion, SB 376.
The  hearing for HB 1024, Prayer in schools, also generated opposition from many who see the bills as either unnecessary because constitutional case law has set parameters for religious expression in public schools; or they are concerned that it will single out minority students to self-identify in order to be excused from classes or events. Some administrators see problems with extraneous cults being able to exploit the law. There is no doubt that implementing religious civil rights and constitutional rights requires prudence and is not simple. Proponents see the bill as providing protection of religious rights that often are denied by school officials in order to err on the side of making sure government does not endorse religion. The bill does codify much of case law established by the courts. ICC supports the law in hopes that it will provide guidance and balance to allow students to express their faith in appropriate manner and protect religious civil rights of everyone.
Also heard was HB 1079, School safetyThis bill passed the House 99 - 0; it covers the issues studied and recommended by the interim study committee regarding school employees and child sex abuse. HB 1079, as the Senate bills dealing with this topic, requires extended background checks and child protection index check of all employees every five years, to be conducted on a rotating basis. Catholic schools already have this policy. The bill will be voted on next week.
House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee will hear SB 154, Asset limitation for SNAP eligibility. The bill updates the eligibility criteria by increasing the asset limit to $10,000 and exempts child savings and burial arrangements. The increase helps encourage savings to a level of several months' needs for a family of 4. ICC supports the bill.  It is expected that SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, will be heard later this month. 
In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org



I-CAN Update for March 2

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March 2, 2017
The General Assembly is at Crossover, the time when all bills must clear the first house to be considered by the other body during the second half of the session. The House completed its third reading on Monday and the Senate completed its list of bills on Tuesday.  The process of committee hearings and passage by the full body begins anew with only the bills that have passed the initial house. All bills that did not pass are now dead for the session. 

SB 9, SNAP and drug convictions, authored by Senator Jim Merritt (R - Indianapolis) passed the Senate 34 - 16. The bill was amended to include language to require individuals with drug felony convictions to be complying or have complied with conditions of probation, parole, community corrections, or work release. ICC supports the bill.
SB 154, Asset limitations for SNAP eligibility, passed the Senate 34 - 16. It too was amended to set a ceiling for assets at $10,000, eliminate some additional assets that are currently counted in Indiana, including children's bank accounts and some prepaid burial and funeral expenses.  The limits will allow modest savings of low income families to provide for family emergencies while looking for a job. Reducing all savings only exaggerates the problems of poverty. ICC supports the bill.
SB 423, Sanctuary policies and postsecondary educational institutions, authored by Senator Mike Young (R - Indianapolis), passed the Senate 35 - 15. The Senate amended the bill to include all private universities as well as the state institutions. However, private universities are not supported by state funds; individual students receive scholarships, grants, and loans for tuition. ICC does not support the bill because it is unnecessary. University officials in both state and private colleges and universities have indicated their policy to fully comply with law enforcement agencies on immigration as well as other matters.
SB 404, Abortion, child abuse and human trafficking, authored by Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), passed the Senate 36 - 13.  The bill was amended to address concerns regarding court procedures and notification of parents that were raised in committee last week.  Only one parent needs to be notified and if there is abuse by a parent, the minor who seeks court by-pass can name which parent is to be notified. If rape is alleged, the court and attorney are bound to notify Department of Child Services (DCS), who is required to take immediate action to protect the minor.  SB 404 also will require that an adult taking a minor for an abortion will be required to show proof of being a parent of the minor. This will address concerns that minors are being exploited by traffickers and others posing as parents. ICC supports the bill.
SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle), passed the Senate 46 - 3. The bill allows a mother to surrender her baby without penalty anonymously in a newborn safety device, meeting specific requirements, located at a hospital. Current law provides that one may surrender a baby to emergency personnel at a hospital, fire station or police station. For some anonymity is needed and Indiana law permits safe baby devices but some have raised concernsabout the safety of the devices in certain locations and legal concerns regarding abandonment of a child. SB 246 addresses these matters; ICC supports the bill.
HB 1128, Abortion matters, authored by Representative Ron Bacon (R- Chandler), passed the House 53 - 41. The bill originally contained only provisions regarding the reversal of the abortion pill, RU 486.  As passed, information provided will also include notice that the reversal procedure is not supported by all in medical profession. Also, several other topics were added. These include updating the abortion information reported to the State Department of Health and adding reports from hospital emergency departments regarding complications from abortions. The bill also clarifies that abortion clinics for medical or chemical abortion will have separate regulations from the surgical abortion clinics. Many cited the not scientifically supported procedure as reason to oppose the bill. There were also some who saw this as another attempt to restrict access to abortion. However, the reports are not substantively different from current report requirements and the information is only provided to give an option for those who desire to use it.  ICC supports the bill.
HB 1024, Prayer in schools, authored by Representative John Bartlett (D - Indianapolis), passed the House 83 -12The bill's title overstates the effect of the bill. HB 1024 affirms case law regarding religious rights in public schools; however, often public school authorities are unaware or unsure of best practices and therefore enforce restrictions that are unnecessary. Prayer sponsored by the school is still not permitted. The bill affirms the right of students to express beliefs in assignments, to wear religious symbols and to engage in religious activity before, during or after school. Schools are free to establish guidelines and restrict activities that violate citizenship and morals. ICC supports the bill.
ICC will be working on these bills during the coming weeks of the session. Committees will have the next four weeks to consider and move bills. The first week of April is the deadline for passage a second time; April 6 the deadline. Leadership has moved the ending date of the session from April 29 to April 21 or 22. Any differences in the bills that passed each house will be reconciled during conference committee phase, April 10 - 21.

In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org



I-CAN Update for Feb 23

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February 23, 2017
All bills had to clear committee this week. In the House, all bills must clear second reading on Thursday and third reading next week Monday. The Senate's schedule is second reading on Monday and third reading on Tuesday. This will conclude the first part of the session and is known as crossover. All bills that pass each chamber will be considered by the other beginning March 6. The process starts over with only those bills that have passed going through committee hearings and floor votes.
HB 1128, Abortion matters, was reassigned to committee in order to clarify the amendments added last week. Concerns were raised about requiring ultrasound for determining gestational age of the fetus. Hence, this was removed; another amendment also required redacting identifying information on the abortion report should the report be released to the public. The amendments were acceptable and the bill was voted out of committee 7 -5.  Three amendments were considered on second reading; one would have stripped out the reversal information; it was defeated.  Two amendments were accepted; one to provide a different timeline for abortion reports, the second adds provisions to protect patient privacy. The bill will be on third reading on Monday. ICC supports the bill as it provides helpful information to a woman who regrets her decision and seeks to reverse it.  Contact your representative here.
House Education Committee passed (10-2) HB 1024, Prayer in schools, authored by Representative John Bartlett (D -Indianapolis). The title overstates the bill and its effect. The bill primarily affirms a student's right to express religious views in assignments and other activities in appropriate ways; it also provides that religious clubs and religious speakers should be given the same consideration as secular associations and events. It also encourages the study of world religions in high school. Case law has already established this; however, there is inconsistency in application in schools.  The Carmel High School student whose adoption/abortion poster was removed this fall spoke in favor of the bill citing a need for protection of religious expression within the same guidelines as all other organizations. She was eventually able to display the poster after several months with the involvement of attorneys. The bill was amended to provide that schools do have right to limit behaviors that violate citizenship and moral code.  ICC supports the bill as affirming the protection of conscience and religious liberty.

Senate Family and Children Services Committee amended and unanimously passed SB 246, Child neglect defense, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R - Markle). The bill's title does not fully explain the content of the bill. A couple of years ago the legislature provided for an additional manner in which a baby may be given up should a parent be unable to provide care. Indiana law allows for parent to surrender a baby to be given to a hospital, police or fire personnel without being charged with neglect of a child. In some other countries another possibility allows someone to surrender a baby in a safe place with anonymity. Hence, Indiana passed such a law, and there are two "baby boxes" at fire stations in northeast Indiana. However, Department of Child Services is concerned about the well-being of the baby and that the surrender should be made to an individual. SB 246, as amended, would allow these baby boxes to be installed at hospitals near emergency rooms.  The baby boxes are wired with alarms to ensure that the baby is attended to immediately. ICC supports the bill as it provides another alternative to save the life of a child.
The two boxes in fire houses have not had one baby surrendered but a hotline that is connected to the baby box campaign has received over 1000 calls resulting in 142 referrals to pregnancy centers, 4 adoptions and 6 face to face surrender of the child. The boxes thru the hotline are helping to save lives. Cost of the boxes as well as the hotline and PR campaign is financed by private funds; in particular the Knights of Columbus has been very instrumental.
Senator Rodric Bray (R - Martinsville), chairman of Senate Public Policy Committee did not bring SB 155, Capital punishment and severe mental illness, to a vote last week and did not have a vote this week. He believes that due to concerns raised by committee members the bill would not pass and hence held the bill. Several Senators raised concerns regarding inclusion of PTSD and bi-polar diagnoses; they believed these could be misused by defendants. By not taking a vote and holding the bill, it is dead for this session. However, the content or parts of it could be amended into other bills dealing with the same code cites in other bills. While theoretically possible it is difficult and given the topic not likely. It is hoped that over the summer by working with legislators this topic can return next year and address the concerns raised to give it better chance of passage.
SB 404, Abortion child abuse and sexual trafficking, authored by Senator Erin Houchin (R - Salem), passed Senate Judiciary Committee 6 - 4. However, it is expected to be amended on second reading in order to address several concerns raised during testimony regarding court procedures and questions of what constituted aiding and assisting an unemancipated pregnant minor. The ACLU testified that it would file suit regarding this under First Amendment rights and that the notification of the parent may cause an undue burden to access to abortion. An amendment did clarify that aiding and assisting a juvenile to seek a judicial bypass was exempt. The intent of the bill is to address the person who takes the juvenile to the abortion clinic. The other part of the bill requiring ID for parental or guardian consent was not challenged; and raising the age of notification of child abuse to 16 was not challenged by witnesses. ICC supports the bill. Contact your senator here.
SB 467, Public safety funding, returned on Tuesday but was drastically amended. All references to safety fees were eliminated. The only provision calls for insurance payments to voluntary fire departments as well as full time/ professional fire department.
SB 423, Enforcement of federal immigration laws, authored by Senator Mike Young (R - Indianapolis), passed Senate Corrections and Criminal Code Committee 7 - 2. SB 423 prohibits state universities from establishing policies that restrict their cooperation with federal immigration officials. The bill was prompted because following the presidential election, some students asked universities to declare sanctuary status. However, university officials confirmed that universities have no such policy and will cooperate with all lawful requests by law enforcement agencies. Testimony by many opposed the bill fearing that it would cause further fear and misunderstanding among students. SB 423 was amended to make clear that DACA students were exempt from the intent of the bill. Because the bill is not needed and is perceived by many to be targeting immigrant community. ICC opposes the bill.
In addition to the Update, you can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills, as well as detailed information about the legislative process and the Indiana General Assembly by clicking here.  You can also access the archived I-CAN Updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org


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