AFA-IN: How to Make a Difference; Legislative Deadline Approaching

Legislative Schedule Tightens . . . Will Parental Rights Make the Squeeze?

There are less than two weeks left for committee hearings for any filed bill in its house of origin.   If a bill does not receive a hearing and a committee vote by the end of this month, it will die in this session.   The subject of a bill may come up in another bill or as an amendment, but any bill number you and I may be tracking that doesn’t meet this first hurdle by February is done for this year.

Yesterday, I sent an alert on House Bill 1322 which we would prefer not to get a hearing due to several concerns surrounding it.  HB 1322 appears to seek to give a mental health assessment to every K12 student in Indiana.  That is nearly 1 million Hoosier children.  This shotgun-style approach raises a lot of unanswered questions for parents.  The bill says almost nothing about the roles and rights of parents, or the rights of children who might be labeled for life, in such a sweeping effort.

It should be noted, that this is not a bill requiring students be tested for learning disabilities or academic challenges, which could certainly fall within the scope of education, and have the support of most parents.    These are expressly stated psychological and behavioral exams, which could raise some content questions or concerns.

One reason I am concerned is that last year, these same two authors of HB 1322, (McNamara and Cook), had a similar mental health school bill.  The Senate debated and added very good parental rights and data privacy language to that bill.  Representatives McNamara and Cook removed that language from their bill in the final days of the 2019 session.

That privacy and parental rights language can now be found in Senate Bill 129.  It has not been scheduled for a committee hearing at this point.

Supporters of HB 1322 might say that there is existing code about parents and surveys.  That is true, but it lacks enforcement language needed to truly back it up. SB 129 has that needed language, as well as student data privacy protections.

You can read about HB 1322 here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/house/1322

You can call your House member about HB 1322 at: 317-232-9600.

You can call your Senator about SB 129 at 317-232-9400.

You can also find and email your legislator through this link:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

One of the best speakers I have ever heard on apologetics is Dr. Frank Turek.   I highly recommend his web site CrossExamined.org.    Dr. Turek will be speaking next week in Fort Wayne on Tuesday, January 28th at Purdue University in the International Ballroom, 2101 Coliseum Blvd.    The 7-9 pm event is free and open to the public.   He will be speaking on the topic of his book, “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist.”

Taking “Making a Difference” to a Whole New Level

I often have people complain about the direction or intensity of the Republican or Democrat parties.   The complaints are vastly different depending upon the party, but both complaints are always rooted in frustration.   If you want to see change and play a role in making a difference in politics beyond the bare minimum of voting or calling your elected officials, you may want to consider becoming an actual part of the Republican or Democrat Party structure.

If you are a member in good standing, which means that you have consistently voted in either the Republican or Democrat primary, you can run for Precinct Committee member in that party.   A precinct is the small geographic voting district in which you live.   The people who help sign you in, check your ID and set up your voting machine are poll workers recruited by your precinct committee member.   This is the working side of being a precinct committeeman.

The direction side occurs when there is a vacancy.   For example, when an incumbent city council member or state legislator steps down before an election, it is the precinct committee members in that district for that official’s party who select his or her replacement.

The other way you can have significant influence on the direction of your party is to file to run to be a delegate to your party’s convention this summer.   The position of delegate has a big role on the decisions the party makes at its convention in regard to the platform and certain statewide candidates.   For example, in the Republican Party this summer, there may well be a big fight in the convention over the Attorney General position if Curtis Hill is blocked from running or is challenged within the party.  (There is a fee to be a convention delegate.)

In many parts of Indiana, the position of Precinct Committeeman is vacant and winds up as an appointed position by the county party’s chairman after the election in May.

You can download the form to run for PC or delegate here (https://tinyurl.com/qq2wdet) and file it with your local election board.   The filing deadline for these positions is noon, February 7th.   If you have questions, there are places online where you can download the party’s manual for precinct committeeman, or there are people whom I can refer you to for questions, if you email me.

Just the Facts:

AFA-IN Fact Sheet: How to Make a Difference from Your Kitchen Table:  https://tinyurl.com/wh5qqbp

In Their Own Words:

“All that the best men can do is to persevere in doing their duty to their country and leave the consequences to Him who made it their duty, being neither elated by success, however great, nor discouraged by disappointment, however frequent and mortifying.”  – First Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Jay, (1745-1829)

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