Demand Equality, Justice, Progress

Standing for Every Hoosier

  • DemandEquality

  • DemandJustice

  • DemandProgress

Senate Democrats’
2022 Legislative Priorities

  • Raise the minimum wage

  • Boost workers’ compensation benefits

  • Cannabis Legalization

  • Investing in Education and Hoosier Families

Cannabis Legalization

36 states have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use. Indiana is one of only 14 states where marijuana remains fully illegal, meaning we are far behind the majority of the country, including our neighboring states on this issue. Hoosiers with medical conditions including PTSD, Cancer, Epilepsy, anxiety, MS and more are being blocked from taking advantage of medical cannabis to relieve their pain and suffering because of Indiana’s outdated marijuana laws.

Indiana is also losing business and tax revenue to Illinois and Michigan. Legalizing marijuana would help urban and rural areas alike with dispensaries, manufacturing, processing and agricultural jobs.

Legalizing marijuana would also have an important criminal justice impact by expunging criminal records for possession and allowing law enforcement resources to be focused on more pressing local safety issues. This legislation would go a long way toward addressing Indiana’s jail overcrowding problem.

This session, Senate Democrats are offering a wide range of legislation to update our marijuana laws including Senator Ford’s SB 175, Senator Melton’s SB 324, Senator Pol’s SB 197, Senator Taylor’s SB 231 and Senator Niezgodski’s SB 414.

We should be making sure all Hoosiers have full and easy access to their constitutional right to vote. The pandemic brought to light once again how hard it is (and sometimes unsafe it is) to vote in our state. Barriers to voting need to be struck down. This is why our caucus will fight for no-excuse absentee voting and secure ballot drop boxes across the state. Indiana was only one of 5 states who didn’t allow our residents to request a mailed ballot for any reason even though we were experiencing a worldwide pandemic. Even before the pandemic, at least 34 other states allowed their voters to request a ballot in the mail without having to provide a reason or excuse. In addition, Indiana is one of only 10 states that do not offer safe and secure ballot drop boxes for voters. These two voting methods together would only bolster our ability to make sure that all eligible Hoosiers can exercise their Constitutional right to share their voice and cast their vote.

Demand Justice

Investing in Education and Hoosier Families

Costs for childcare, Pre-K and higher education are unsustainable in Indiana. Not a single one of our counties provides parents with adequate access to childcare. Senate Democrats are focused on investing in Hoosier families and the future of our state.

President Biden has introduced legislation to cap childcare costs for Hoosier families. Senate Democrats are committed to providing Hoosier families with quality childcare options by investing in incentives for childcare staff.

President Biden’s legislation also includes funding for Indiana to provide Pre-K to every child in Indiana. Senate Democrats support investing these funds to provide quality Pre-K to every Hoosier child.

In-state Higher Educational costs continue to climb every year. We know that businesses need more educated employees and that Hoosier families are struggling with college costs and student debt. In addition to lowering tuition at four-year universities, our caucus advocates for expanding free trade school programs and community college programs that help fill in-demand, good-paying jobs across the state. 

As our state has battled the coronavirus pandemic, another battle, for racial equality and justice, has raged in the streets. Over the last year, people from all across the world have joined together in the call for an end to police brutality and racial injustice. In our state, Hoosiers have been active in calling for an end to systemic racism, and our caucus agrees that the time for police reform is long past due. With unrest continuing to persist throughout our country, it’s imperative that our state steps up next session to approve meaningful legislation that will address and begin uprooting the racism and injustice that exists in our criminal justice system. Specifically, our caucus will support the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Agenda, with the biggest priorities being banning no-knock warrants and chokehold maneuvers.

Guarantee a living wage for all Hoosiers

Indiana’s minimum wage has remained at the federally mandated $7.25 an hour for nearly 15 years, even in the face of record cost of living increases. Hoosiers are being priced out of housing, healthcare and childcare across the state. Senate Democrats are fighting for working Hoosiers so that every resident with a full-time job can afford to care for their families and pay for their basic needs.

Senator Melton has introduced SB 323 to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour and remove limitations on local government raising their minimum wages.

Indiana legislators’ and judges’ salaries are adjusted for inflation – there’s no reason we shouldn’t be doing the same for hardworking Hoosiers across the state. We need to demand justice, progress and equality for all, not just those in power.

Nationwide, Hoosier families are ranked 37 when it comes to assets and savings, meaning that too many of our citizens have to make risky financial decisions just to make ends meet. No one who works full-time should have to risk a mortgage or a car to put food on the table. Senate Democrats will work to ensure this doesn’t happen to any more families.

Indiana has not increased the minimum wage since 2008. The current minimum wage is not enough to live in any of Indiana’s 92 counties. State legislators and judges have their salaries automatically adjusted every year to keep up with inflation, Hoosier workers deserve the same. No one who goes to work 40 hours a week should be unable to make ends meet. In addition, cities across the state are barred from determining the best minimum wage for their own communities. Our proposal would allow local governments to do what is best about the wages of their own cities.

Demand Progress

Boost workers’ compensation benefits for those hurt on the job

Workers’ compensation benefits aren’t increased automatically, so we have to vote to increase them to make sure they keep up with inflation and cost of living. We need these benefits to make sure Hoosier families aren’t going bankrupt because of an injury on the job. At the end of the day, working Hoosiers and their families must be a priority for our state government. State Senator Karen Tallian will lead this bill that increases benefits for injuries and disablements by: 10 percent after July 1, 2021, 6 percent after July 1, 2022 and 4 percent each year after that until 2026. If signed into law, this will be the first time the state has increased workers’ compensation benefits since 2016.

Workers’ compensation benefits aren’t increased automatically, so we must vote to increase them so that they keep up with inflation and the cost of living. We need these benefits to make sure Hoosier families aren’t going bankrupt because of an injury on the job. Working Hoosiers and their families must be a priority for our state government. State Senator Rodney Pol introduced SB 199 to increase benefits for injuries and disablements. If signed into law, this would be the first time our state has increased workers’ compensation benefits since 2016.