RELEASE: Statement from Council President Lewis and VP Barth on RFRA Amendment

April 2, 2015

RELEASE: Statement from Council President Lewis and VP Barth on RFRA Amendment

“We appreciate that the Indiana General Assembly took action today to amend SEA 101, also referred to as RFRA. It is especially important that the language appears to ensure that the Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance is protected. We are thankful for the leadership of key members of the Indianapolis business community who advocated for the change. However, we do not believe that today’s “fix” goes far enough. We fully stand by Proposal 120, passed 22-4 on Monday, in which the Council encourages the Indiana General Assembly to go further and to amend the Civil Rights section of the Indiana Code to include sexual orientation and gender identity as quickly as possible to protect LGBT Hoosiers. It is long past time that the General Assembly joined the Indianapolis City/County Council in enacting a comprehensive nondiscrimination law.”

Indianapolis City/County Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth

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Council Passes Proposal 120 Overwhelmingly – Rejecting RFRA

March 30, 2015

Indianapolis City-County Council: Indy Welcomes All

Passes Proposal 120 Overwhelmingly – Rejecting RFRA

 Indianapolis – With a bi-partisan support, Indianapolis City-County Councilors passed Proposal 120 Monday night. Proposal 120 opposes SEA 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA, which was passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pence.

City/County Council President Maggie Lewis said “with this vote, the Council has stated simply and clearly that the people of Indianapolis are against discrimination – no exceptions.”

Since the passage of RFRA, the city of Indianapolis has seen the economic consequences of the General Assembly’s actions, with a large employer halting expansion plans, multiple conventions expressing second thoughts about working with Visit Indy, and concern expressed by long-term partners from the sports world including the NCAA, the NFL, and our own Indiana Pacers and Fever.

“Proposal 120 sends a crystal clear message across the nation and the world that Indianapolis is a welcoming and diverse city – and we reject legislation at the state level that suggests otherwise” said Council Vice President John Barth.

Proposal 120 opposes SEA 101, encourages the Indiana General Assembly to amend the Civil Rights section of the Indiana Code include sexual orientation and to uphold and protect local anti-discrimination ordinances.

“Indianapolis residents and visitors should feel confident that our city welcomes everyone. All the proof you need is to see all the groups opposing this state action. Business leaders, Indianapolis City-County Council, faith groups, advocates and community groups are working together in strong partnership to fight imposition of this discriminatory law,” said Lewis.

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RELEASE: City-County Council to Introduce Resolution against SEA 101 Monday

March 27, 2015

City-County Council: All are welcome, RFRA hurts our City

Resolution against SEA 101 to be introduced Monday

 Indianapolis – Members of the Indianapolis City-County Council will introduce a resolution on Monday opposing the recent passage of SEA 101 which many view an opening the door to discrimination and possible economic consequences for Marion County.

“The City of Indianapolis is a welcoming place that values all its citizens – SEA 101 does not reflect the diversity of our great city,” said Council President Maggie Lewis.

The resolution, Proposal 120, will be introduced at Monday’s City-County Council meeting. Proposal 120 opposes the Indiana General Assembly’s passage of Senate Enrolled Act 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and encourages State legislators to amend the Civil Rights section of the Indiana Code to include sexual orientation and to uphold and protect local anti-discrimination ordinances by exempting them from SEA 101.

Council Vice President John Barth said “The encouraging news is that local business leaders, community groups, elected officials, and Indianapolis residents are expressing their concern about RFRA and affirming that what makes our city great is the diversity of our people and our welcoming hospitality.”

The resolution reiterates what Council ordinances have already made clear: Indianapolis welcomes people of any sexual orientation, race, gender identification, ethnicity, religion, or creed.

A copy of the resolution can be viewed at the Council’s webpage: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Meetings/Council/Pages/agendas.aspx

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COUNCIL APPROVES PRE-K PROGRAM FUNDING; CITY AND CORPORATE FUNDING LAUNCHED

March 2, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Denise Herd, Herd Strategies
p: 317-796-0514
e: denise@herdstrategies.com

COUNCIL APPROVES PRE-K PROGRAM FUNDING; CITY AND CORPORATE FUNDING LAUNCHED

INDIANAPOLIS – Tonight the Indianapolis City-County Council passed Proposal 42, investing more than $4 million to provide a high-quality pre-K education for more than 1,000 students from some of the city’s neediest families. The money will be used to provide scholarships to attend highly-rated pre-K programs.

Approval of the Preschool Scholarship Program funding proposal allows the city to leverage $4.4 million already raised from the corporate community.

Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth released this joint statement:
“We are proud of the action taken by council tonight and of the true community effort that helped launch this program. Making quality pre-K available to students who need it most will level the playing field and help them start school ready to learn and be high achievers. We look forward to building a successful program.”
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Council Vice President Barth’s Statement on Pre-K Funding Proposal Passing Committee Tonight

February 11, 2015

Council Vice President Barth’s Statement on Pre-K Funding Proposal Passing Committee Tonight

“Tonight’s vote in the Council’s Community Affairs and Education Committee to pass Proposal 46 to fund the Indianapolis Pre-K Program is an example of how government works best. Both Democrats and Republicans set aside politics and focused on a shared priority – putting our city’s kids first. Making high-quality pre-K available for kids in the lowest income families can yield life-long advantages. I look forward to a final vote on the pre-k funding proposal during the full Council meeting set for March 2, 2015.”


Comments From Council Vice President Barth at the Signing Ceremony for the Indianapolis Pre-K Program

December 11, 2014

Below are the comments made by Council Vice President John Barth at the signing ceremony for the Indianapolis Pre-K Program on December 11, 2014:

Today’s launch of the Indianapolis Pre-K program represents the best of  government: strong policy that will bear fruit for generations, coming as the result of a true community effort.  We are here because elected officials of different parties, community non-profits, and business leaders came together to address a serious problem. There is an alarming increase in child poverty in Indianapolis – nearly a third of our kids live in poverty. The increase in poverty didn’t happen for a single reason, and there is no single solution. Action on many fronts is required, and today we take a bold step. It is clear by nearly every measure that access to high quality early education puts kids from families in need on the path to a better life. That is why we act today – it is a big step, but it is not a victory lap. The Indianapolis pre-K program won’t solve child poverty in Indianapolis, but it is a good foundation for what Council and the Mayor can do together to support  families. The opportunity to lead the effort for quality pre-k and seeing it pass overwhelmingly on December 1st was one of my proudest days on the Council. Today I am pleased to stand with the Mayor as he signs it into law. Let’s keep our expectations high. This is just the beginning.


Joint Statement from Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth on the passage of Proposal 367

December 2, 2014

Joint Statement from Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth on the passage of Proposal 367 – the Indianapolis Pre-K Program.

We are heartened that the Indianapolis City/County Council passed bipartisan Proposal 367 tonight. With this historic vote, the Council has ensured that families can set a positive direction for children in our city who start life at a disadvantage. Over the next five years thousands of Indianapolis children will experience the benefits of high quality pre-k and start their lives on the road to success. We look forward to tracking their progress and making any needed adjustments to Proposal 367. We would like to thank our Council colleagues for their support, the corporate community, especially Eli Lilly & Co., for their dedication, many community advocates, and the mayor for his commitment – together we will make a difference in the lives of our city’s children for years to come.