Today the Indiana Republican party leadership worked as a team to make Senate Amendment 13 to destroy HB 1001 for employee exemptions. Senator Mark Messmer, Senate Majority Leader, worked with big business and the Chamber of Commerce to destroy the bill.
There were people who testified with heartbreaking stories about being fired when their medical and religious exemptions were denied, and they have been unable to find any employment, because everywhere is requiring the covid vaccine for new hires.
None of that mattered to our public servants. They voted yes on amendment 13, and all those who came in support of HB 1001 switched to Oppose based on that surprise amendment. However, that amendment was not a surprise to the legislators or the Chamber of Commerce who had helped write it.
The lobbyists for the Chamber of Commerce changed their Opposition to Support after the amendment passed.
HB 1001 is no longer a bill that allows all employees guaranteed religious and medical exemptions. It has been turned into a bill that supports big business and does nothing more than what current Federal Civil Rights Act gives. This is what amendment 13 was said to do when read verbally at the hearing. It probably will not be posted online until the next day or so.
1.It removed the part that made the bill good: Religious exemptions are NOT guaranteed. They removed the part about “no further inquiry” for exemptions. They are saying to just follow current Federal Civil Rights Act for exemptions even though people spent hours telling them that businesses ARE NOT FOLLOWING FEDERAL LAW FOR EXEMPTIONS. The “public servants” don’t care. They stuck with their marching orders from leadership on this.
2. Now it allows for testing twice a week paid for by you if the employer decides they want you to pay for their required testing.
3. It took away getting unemployment if you are fired for refusing a vaccine or having an exemption denied.
4. It removed all healthcare workers from the exemption bill due to the CMS Supreme court temporary ruling. However, there is another lawsuit on the CMS mandates that is traveling through the courts. Nothing in the Supreme court ruling disallowed exemptions for healthcare workers, so allowing them to have exemptions does not conflict with Federal code.
5. It removed the part about the state of emergency for SNAP and other benefits, because they have already put that same language in SB3 that they are passing.
6. It took away the six months of natural immunity clause and replaced it with only 90 days allowed for natural immunity. The “public servants” know the science shows natural immunity lasts longer than 6 months, but they don’t care, because they are bowing to their masters at the Chamber of Commerce and leadership.
7. They removed all sports venues and concert venues from allowing employees to have exemptions. They said the some of the performing artists want the staff vaccinated, so they took away the rights of those staff to have exemptions in state law.
There were already bad parts for HB 1001, but I overlooked those parts, because it guaranteed religious exemptions to the covid vaccines without further inquiry. That part has been removed. The bill is not anymore helpful than our current Federal law is. It is worse to pass it now.
It also allows standing orders for all vaccines for young children. Current law makes children get vaccines at their providers office. With this bill, young children can be vaccinated at Wal Mart, Target, CVS, etc. where they have no medical records or good way to document reactions. I did not support that part, but the religious exemption guarantee was worth it to support the bill. The bill adds testing and masking into law, but I was willing to overlook that based on guaranteed religious exemptions.
The bill also allows businesses to opt out as long as they are following the Federal guidelines, and it excludes Federal workers.
I tried for the past two years to save peoples’ jobs. These Republicans need to be voted out in the May primaries. If you have not registered to vote, please register. We have to band together and vote out the incumbent legislators that are not helping us, which is all of them except maybe two.
It is possible that Senators could write amendments on the 2nd reading, but with Senate leadership being the ones who destroyed the bill, good amendments seem unlikely. It puts masking employees into state law. I know a lot of people are angry about being forced to mask at work. This puts into law that if you refuse to mask, you can be fired. Lawsuits against masks will be hard, I don’t see that happening with it passed into state law. The Senate is eager to pass the bill for businesses.
It could possibly be changed when it is sent back to the House due to the Senate changing it and the House needing to agree with the amendment. But I do not trust the House to put the bill back the way it was before the Senate change.
Here is the ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Call Mark Messmer and tell him that he sold the people of Indiana out with his amendment. Demand that he support returning the bill to the original House version. The Chamber of Commerce lobbyist said she would meet with Messmer further to discuss wording of the bill. Tell him we are tired of him listening to big business over the people, and we will remember that in the 2024 primaries.
Call Matt Lehman the bill author and tell him that he should have withdrawn his support for the Senate amendment. He actually said this was a good bill and had support for the amendment. Tell him that you demand he return the bill to the version from the House. Remind him that you are going to help promote his primary challenger in the May elections.
Call your Senator. Tell them that you demand an amendment to remove what amendment 13 took away. Testing must be the employers’ responsibility to pay for if they want to require it. Religious exemptions must be guaranteed. Healthcare workers need to be included.
You can be transferred to them by calling
Emails are NOT enough. You need to call them, and meeting with them would be more helpful. We are talking about being fired and unable to get another job, and the people of Indiana have been standing back doing nothing to save their freedoms for too long. Please take action now. Call and leave a message in the evening. Call tomorrow, call this weekend. Make them pick up the phones.
As written, OPPOSE HB 1001.