Black legislators celebrate ending of legislative session

IBLC, Indiana Black Legislative Caucus

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) recently celebrated their achievements from the 2021 Legislative Session, including passing law enforcement reform, quality health care and economic development legislation.

Last summer, the IBLC announced their Justice Reform Agenda, which outlined legislation they planned to file and advocate for in the 2021 Legislative Session. Included in the agenda were House Enrolled Act 1006, which passed through the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support, and State Rep. Robin Shackleford’s (D-Indianapolis) Traffic Amnesty Program, which was successfully extended for another year through House Enrolled Act 1199.

“Advocacy truly works,” Shackleford, who also serves as Chair of the IBLC, said.

“The IBLC would like to thank the advocates and allies who fought to make these reforms possible. The passage of HEA 1006 has instilled us with confidence and hope for a more just future. We still have a long road ahead of us, but we are walking shoulder to shoulder with our communities and advocates and we can create change.”

The many pieces of legislation have allowed those in office to have a celebratory mood before setting up for the additional work in the next legislative session.

“I’m very proud of what the IBLC and its members have accomplished this session,” Shackleford said. “Every member has dedicated themselves to improving the lives of all Hoosiers and creating a better Indiana, which is certainly reflected in their achievements. We are thankful for the bipartisanship that has allowed this legislation to succeed and look forward to even more accomplishments next session.”

As part of their advocacy efforts, the IBLC stood in opposition to several pieces of legislation that would have had harmful effects on Indiana’s minority communities: House Bill 1367, which would have allowed for discrimination within South Bend’s school corporation; Senate Bill 141, which would have eliminated critical operating funds for IndyGo; Senate Bill 168, which would have given the General Assembly control of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD); and Senate Bill 198, which would have hindered individuals’ right to safely protest, were all defeated this session.

“We have a responsibility to speak up for constituents and protect them from bad legislation, whether the harm was unintended or not,” Shackleford said. “It can be difficult to have those conversations, but we must have them. I’m grateful for the bipartisan effort that went into defeating some of the more harmful pieces of legislation that were presented this year.”

The IBLC will host a town hall in May to share their reactions to the 2021 Legislative Session and to discuss their legislative and advocacy intentions leading into the 2022 Legislative Session.

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