On Thursday, Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) gave his response to Governor Holcomb’s newly released 2021 agenda:
“Hoosiers are struggling across our state right now. It’s imperative that any policy agenda recognize this and provide real solutions that Hoosiers can access immediately. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t even know we were in the middle of a public health crisis when looking at the governor’s agenda. This pandemic brought to light many of the ways Indiana is lacking in its support for our residents.
“Where is the support for working Hoosiers? We should be pushing for better workers’ compensation benefits for those who get sick on the job and finding ways for all Hoosiers to have access to paid leave to take care of their families. We certainly shouldn’t be giving businesses liability protections for not following basic safety measures to keep their workers healthy.
“Where is the help for Hoosiers who have lost their jobs or seen their wages reduced due to the health pandemic? The governor made no mention of fixing the months-long delays in Unemployment Insurance payments for folks who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The governor made no mention of helping the hardest hit in our communities not lose their homes. Where is any assistance with rent or mortgage payments? Where is any mention of state support of foodbanks that are stretched incredibly thin right now? There is nothing in this agenda that gives our neighbors the real help that they need now.
“Where is a concrete commitment to Hoosier teachers? Our educators can’t stand another year of half-truths or false promises. Democrats in the Statehouse have long proposed many of the recommendations the governor’s own teacher pay commission shared. There needs to be a firm effort to approve our creative and fiscally-responsible ways to guarantee teachers are paid a living wage. The governor’s promise to just read a report isn’t good enough.
“Where is the governor’s promise to pass police and justice reform measures? This past summer, the governor told Hoosiers he would listen to civil rights leaders and communities of color to create a plan that ensures our justice system treats everyone fairly, no matter their background. There is not one single mention of his commitment to racial justice after a year where we saw clear problems in the ways law enforcement treats our citizens.
“Where is the priority to give more Hoosiers access to their vote? COVID-19 showed how important policies such as no-excuse absentee voting or secure ballot drop boxes are to supporting our free and fair elections.
“The governor may feel these issues are not priorities, but I can assure you that Senate Democrats will listen to the real needs of all Hoosiers. We will demand more support for our state’s working class. We will demand increased access to your right to vote. We will demand real teacher pay increases. We will demand that all Hoosiers find equal representation under the law.”