Immigration Matters Continue to Be Debated in Summer Study

The Senate Select Committee on Immigration Issues met recently for its fourth meeting. An interesting presentation was provided to legislators by the former director of the statistics division of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

National undocumented immigrant information was provided to the committee along with more specific information for Indiana. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., 106,300 reside in Indiana. That number represents 1.6% of Indiana’s total population.

Marion County, primarily in Wayne and Decatur townships, had the largest population of undocumented immigrants with 12,200; Elkhart and Lake counties came in second and third with 9,400 and 6,100 undocumented immigrants, respectively. Approximately 71,000 overall are in the labor force with 21,500 working as operators, fabricators and laborers, with another 19,100 working in services positions. Sixty percent or 64,200 have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years and 77,600 (73%) are between the working ages of 18 and 44. Information on origin of birth was also provided with 67,700 (61%) coming from Mexico.

The committee also heard testimony from Goshen College about unauthorized immigrant students. It was reported that since July 1, 2011, Indiana has prohibited resident tuition rates and state financial aid for undocumented students. Eighteen states, Illinois being one, allow in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Goshen College has provided scholarship aid for undocumented students for the past eight years. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Goshen provided $123,000 in aid for these students. The next hearing is scheduled for September 21. It is uncertain as to what the committee will decide to do with the information garnered from the four previous hearings and the three yet to be held. The Indiana Chamber will continue to be involved in these discussions.

Chamber Supports Regional Cities Initiative, I-69 Route in Southern Marion County

HB 1403 establishes the Indiana Regional City Fund to provide grants and loans to regional development authorities. Provides that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation administers the fund. Provides that a city or town that is eligible to become a second-class city may become a member of a regional development authority.

The Indiana Chamber testified in support of HB 1403, joining many others. The Indiana Chamber endorses regionalism and place-making economic development strategies that this legislation seeks to enable. Both have proven effective and both are in line with the Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 economic development plan. How to fund the state portion of the regional cities initiative remains an open question and one which the Indiana Chamber is prepared to work with legislative leaders to find an answer.

The bill was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday. No vote taken; eligible for further committee action.

Furthermore, see the article on the Regional Cities Initiative in the January/February edition of BizVoice magazine.


HB 1036 removes the requirement that the General Assembly enact a statute authorizing the construction of I-69 in Perry Township (Marion County) before I-69 may be constructed in Perry Township.

The Indiana Chamber, along with many others, testified in support of HB 1036; no party testified in opposition to the bill. There is no valid reason that the current prohibition for I-69 in Perry Township, Marion County should exist in law. The Chamber’s position: The current prohibition should be repealed; all potential routes for the final section of I-69 should be objectively studied by the appropriate agencies of both the federal and state governments; and the route with the least environmental and best economic impact for the state should be chosen upon the merits, not upon any political clout or other considerations.

This bill was heard in the House Roads and Transportation Committee on Wednesday. No vote taken; eligible for further committee action.

Purdue’s 4-H Outreach Expanding to City Youth

RI may be a graduate of Indiana University, but the IU/Purdue rivalry stops at the edge of the basketball court for me. That’s likely for two reasons: (1) I have at least a modicum of perspective, and (2) I’ve written about Purdue in BizVoice enough times to be flat-out impressed by the school’s innovative educational efforts and its dedication to giving students a well-rounded experience.

Additionally, the fact that Purdue has an extension presence in all 92 of our counties is quite remarkable to me. While I’ve written about Purdue’s work to reach rural students in the past, I was somewhat surprised to see how it’s helping 4-H make an impact among Indiana’s urban populations.

Because urban areas tend to not have a strong tradition of 4-H, Purdue Extension is creating new programs in heavily urban Lake, Marion and Allen counties to attract more young people there.

They’re not your typical 4-H clubs.

“These clubs meet after school and are heavily focused on engaging young people in science and helping them understand where food comes from as well as career opportunities in agriculture,” said Renee McKee, program leader of 4-H and youth development at Purdue University.

A nationwide expansion of 4-H into urban communities was made possible through a National 4-H Council funding opportunity that originated from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  In Indiana, the program is funding three start-up 4-H clubs in each of the three counties.

The effort is a strategic initiative of Indiana 4-H, McKee said. Key to making it work is getting community leaders and volunteers involved to help keep the 4-H clubs going once the grant funding is no longer available.

“The idea of creating urban 4-H clubs is to make them part of the fabric of the community, just as 4-H has done in many rural communities across Indiana,” she said.

Lake County in 2011 was the first of three urban counties in Indiana targeted for 4-H clubs funded this way. Funds initially were used to hire three program assistants who helped with establishing the clubs, planned activities and led meetings. They also work to connect parents and others from the community to volunteer with the club so that the community eventually takes responsibility for leading the programs. Urban clubs in places such as East Chicago and Gary now join the “traditional” clubs, such as those in Crown Point and Lowell where 4-H has been active for years.

“The main difference between when we started and now is that volunteers are taking a larger leadership role, and we have more investment from the local community,” said Julie Jones, 4-H youth development Extension educator in Lake County.

Now that the clubs are established in Lake County with about 100 members, including students of elementary and middle school age, older youth such as high school students are being encouraged to join the county’s 4-H Junior Leaders program and participate in the 4-H Round Up, a three-day workshop for middle school students to explore careers at Purdue in the summer.

Allen County began participating with this effort in 2012.

This year, three new urban clubs are starting in Marion County, all of which have a technology focus called Tech Wizards, an after-school, small-group mentoring program developed at Oregon State University. Tech Wizards work on technology-driven projects such as robotics and videos.

The Marion County clubs are being organized in less traditional places in Indianapolis such as the Felege Hiywot Center, which teaches gardening and environmental preservation to urban youth. 4-H also is working with the Immigrant Welcome Center, a resource for the growing number of immigrants in Indianapolis.

“Many of our opportunities to reach young people are in after-school settings, and there so many issues that impact after-school 4-H,” said Jim Becker, 4-H youth development Extension educator in Marion County. “These issues include transportation, single-parent families, the poverty rate and competition from other youth organizations.”

McKee said the urban initiative shows that 4-H can reach a diverse population statewide.

“Because of this Indiana strategic initiative, we have the ability to serve young people in Indiana regardless of where they live,” McKee said.

Numbers to Ponder

rThree totally unrelated, but intriguing, numbers courtesy of Governing magazine:

  • 33%: Americans with past-due debt that’s been turned over to a collection agency
  • 15%: Proportion of voting-age residents who cast ballots in the 25 states that held primaries in the first six months of this year. In 15 of those states, turnout was the lowest ever. (Indiana’s primary turnout was slightly below the 15% average)
  • 146: Number of U.S. counties that account for half of the country’s 316 million people. The rest of the population is distributed across the remaining 2,998 counties. Indiana’s largest and smallest counties, respectively, are Marion with 928,281 people (54th largest in the country) and Ohio with 5,994 people (ranked 2,758 nationally)

Indy Still Miles Behind on Mass Transit Compared to Other Cities

While mass transit in Central Indiana finally received a somewhat-limiting go-ahead from the Indiana General Assembly in the recently completed session, others with long-established systems are moving forward.

A recent Governing article noted:

  • Boston plans to extend weekend transit service until 3 a.m. Young professionals gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the longer hours for subways, light rail, streetcars and buses.

And here, it took three years to get state permission to have a local referendum to approve a system that would likely only include some faster buses (light rail not allowed). Just saying that despite Indiana being a great place to live, we’re way, way behind on this amenity.

  • London plans 24-hour weekend service on some subway lines in 2015. Chicago, New York and Philadelphia already do the same.

Why is this so important? The article notes: “As young professionals, many of whom are car-free, seek out vibrant cities in which to live and work, this is seen as a way to attract them. … Transit at all times ensures that mobility is available to everyone.”

Upcoming Mass Transit Events in Central Indiana

As many of you know, the Indiana Chamber supports Indiana's mass transit bill (HB 1011). Here are some upcoming events that will help educate the public and rally support for the measure. If interested, you should attend:

Tuesday, March 26
Young Professionals Transit Forum
Location: IUPUI Library (UL 0125)
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Registration: http://youngprofessionalstransitforum.eventbrite.com
 
Wednesday, March 27
Indy Connect Now Forum
Location: Marian University
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Registration: http://indyconnectnowmarian.eventbrite.com 
 
Thursday, March 28
Hamilton County Leadership Transit Forum (HCLA & Carmel Green Initiatives)
Location: Carmel City Hall
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Registration: http://hamiltoncountyleadershiptransitforum.eventbrite.com
 
Saturday, March 30
Inagural Indiana Eco Student Summit (IUPUI)
Location: IUPUI
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
http://www.indianalivinggreen.com/indiana-eco-student-summit-promises-thoughtful-discussion-and-connections/
 
Monday, April 1
Public Town Hall with Mike Delph (IndyCAN)
Location: Pilgrim Lutheran Church of Carmel (3650 W 106th St Carmel, IN 46032)
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2115/c/9974/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=71131
 
Tuesday, April 2
Move the City: Stop Talking, Start Playing (School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI)
Location: Athenaeum
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
http://iupuispea598.eventbrite.com/#
 
Tuesday, April 9
Green Drinks Indy (Transit)
Location: Tomlinson Tap Room
Time: 6 p.m.
http://www.greendrinks.org/IN/Indianapolis
 
Monday, April 15
Northeast Indy Transit Advocacy event (with BRAG, Millersville, others)
Location: St. Matthews
Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
*Stay tuned as more details come together
 

Chamber Endorses Mary Ann Sullivan for State Senate

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce announced today its endorsement of State Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan (D-Indianapolis) in her general election challenge to incumbent State Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) for the Indiana Senate District 36 seat.  The endorsement was made by Indiana Business for Responsive Government (IBRG), the non-partisan political program of the Indiana Chamber.

“It is not an exaggeration to describe Mary Ann Sullivan as one of the hardest-working, open-minded and honorable members of the General Assembly,” said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “Sullivan is passionate about public service and public policy work. She has earned significant, bipartisan support among business and community leaders who believe it is time for a change in representation in Senate District 36.”

Sullivan currently serves in the Indiana House of Representatives, District 97 and was first elected in 2008.  She serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee, Environmental Affairs Committee and Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. She is also a nationally-recognized leader in charter school and education reform efforts.

“I am honored to be endorsed by the Indiana Chamber, the state’s leading organization representing business,” said Sullivan. “I’m excited about Indiana’s future and I’m ready to continue to work hard to find real solutions and get things done. I’m not interested in the politics of division. I’m interested in working together to grow our economy and improve the quality of life for those I hope to represent. The south side deserves to have a true advocate in the Indiana General Assembly.”

Senate District 36 includes portions of Center and Perry townships in Marion County and a portion of northern Johnson County.

The Indiana Chamber has been the state’s leading business organization for 90 years, representing over 800,000 Hoosier workers through nearly 5,000 member companies across Indiana.

Making the (Regional) Connection

It’s time to tune into GLE! Not “Glee,” the pop culture phenomenon about a high school show choir. I’m referring to GLE, which stands for Get Linked Expo, a regional event bringing together business leaders from six Central Indiana counties: Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Madison and Marion.

GLE is all about one thing: connections. It will promote networking among participants (more than 1,000 people are expected to attend) and vendors (over 100 will showcase their products and services). Industries represented include technology, business services and economic development.

The Indiana Chamber is among Hoosier organizations partnering on the event. Individuals can attend for free by registering in advance. GLE will take place on November 4 at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson from 3-7 p.m., followed by an after-hours mixer.

Take advantage of this opportunity to reach out to – and learn from – fellow Indiana businesses.

Learn more.

Spangle: Libertarian Party Anticipates Growth, Doubling Filed Candidates

Chris Spangle is executive director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

Since the closing of the polls on November 4, 2008 there has been a rush to find out exactly what a Libertarian is and why a third party may be the only viable option left for responsible government. The word is said more often now than two years ago. The failures of both Republicans and Democrats to keep their promises in the last 30 years have led to a growth of the Libertarian Party base in Indiana by Hoosiers unwilling to reform broken parties that refuse to mend. (Don’t be fooled into thinking we are all "R’s" in "L" clothing. Half of our current statewide leadership are former Democrats. It’s my vote anyways.)

We took to aggressively build our grassroots organizations. In the last year and a half, over 30 county parties began or renewed their efforts to regularly organize their county parties by outreach events and candidacies in 2010. We’ll add four more this month. We also revamped our web site at www.lpin.org and online properties to spread our message to a younger, and more receptive, audience. In fundraising, we’re close to doubling our efforts from one year ago.

Most importantly, it’s difficult to ask people to vote Libertarian if you don’t run candidates. In 2008, the party ran less than 30 federal and state level candidates combined. We anticipate that number to more than double and possibly triple. We’ll have quality candidates in all 10 federal races. For the first time ever, we had a contested federal Senate race at our version of the primary — a nominating convention. We will have anywhere from 25 to 50 candidates in the state legislative races. We nominated over 20 state legislative candidates this past weekend, and have more ballot vacancies to appoint. A complete slate of candidates is close to completion in Marion and Lake County alone.

The most important race for 2010 is the Secretary of State race. Our candidate is Greenfield resident Mike Wherry. We’ve achieved two percent in every Secretary of State’s race since 1994 to achieve consistent, automatic ballot access. We’ll need to hit that number again in 2010 to maintain automatic ballot access for the next four years. We believe now more than ever, Hoosiers need that third option. In many state legislative races, we are the second option. (At this moment, almost 38 state legislative races have one candidate.) Ballot access is crucial to the survival of our message. By achieving 10 percent we will have attained major party status, and would hold primaries (we currently have nominating conventions) and “register” Libertarian voters in Indiana. That data would greatly increase our ability to spread the libertarian message.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Out of respect for our guest bloggers, we will not be allowing anonymous comments on their blogs this week. Additionally, the Indiana Chamber does not necessarily share the opinions of our guest bloggers.

Summer Interns Available Through Common Goal

Employers who may be seeking summer interns, who may need some extra help, or who may want to dedicate a few weeks to a good cause, consider hosting a high school summer intern through the Common Goal Program.

The Common Goal Initiative is spearheaded by the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and a collaboration of educators, community organizations, and businesses leaders who are working to increase the high school graduation rate in Marion County. Common Goal aims to raise the graduation rate to 80 percent and decrease the number of high school drop-outs to five percent by 2012. That is the big picture outcome. For the students we serve, we aspire to nothing short of changing lives that may be on a dangerous failure course. As part of the Initiative, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has collaborated with the Indianapolis Chamber to help provide at-risk high school students with internship opportunities during the summer.
 
We are currently searching for employers to host Marion County high school students accepted into the program. Participating employers host students for 80 hours during the summer, usually 4 weeks/20 hours per week at no cost to the employer, as Common Goal provides the internship wage. The students’ interests vary across diverse industries, and this opportunity will help define and narrow the career path they choose.  Prior to the start of the internships, students are trained through a series of business workshops in preparation for their real world job experiences.
 
This is a great opportunity to gain extra help during the summer while making a meaningful impact in the life of one or more high school students. The Common Goal Initiative has already helped increase the graduation rate 4.72 percent in the 2008-2009 school year over the prior year. Consider this opportunity to become part of the Common Goal Mission today. Contact me (Indiana INTERNnet Program Coordinator Pat Patterson) at [email protected] or 317-264-6863.