The Indiana Election Commission approved moving the state's primary election from May 5 to June 2, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has effectively shut down the state, nation and many parts of the world.
The commission, at its March 25 meeting, also ordered that any registered and qualified Indiana voter can vote using an absentee ballot by mail. Normally, voters must provide a specific reason for absentee voting.
These actions were enabled by Gov. Eric Holcomb's declaration of a public health disaster emergency effective March 6, 2020, in response to the pandemic.
Read the Election Commission's order here. More information on absentee voting is on the Monroe County Election Central's website.
In a letter sent to the Indiana Election Commission, Chamber CEO Erin Predmore asked commissioners to eliminate restrictions for voting by mail in the May 5 primary election, due to COVID-19 concerns.
"During these unprecedented times, Hoosiers who are registered voters should be able to receive and cast their ballot by mail rather than voting in person," Predmore stated. "This proposed change has received strong bipartisan support. We urge the Indiana Election Commission to take decisive action to help protect the health of our state’s residents while maintaining the basic functions of democracy."
This change has received support from the state GOP and Democratic parties. Currently, voters must provide a reason to cast an absentee ballot by mail. Those reasons include being at least 65 years old, being unable to get to the polls because of illness or lack of transportation, or having disabilities, among other reasons.
Want to weigh in? Emails can be sent to Indiana Election Commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to apply for an absentee ballot by mail. More information about the May 5 primary is available on the Monroe County Election Central website.
In collaboration with other Bloomington and Monroe County organizations, the Chamber has created a resource site to help businesses navigate the impact of COVID-19.
In addition to guidance from the Small Business Administration, Centers for Disease Control and others, the site provides legal resources, economic recovery resources, and links to updates from the Monroe County Health Department, City of Bloomington, and local educational institutions.
We've also compiled a listing of updates, information and resources provided by our Chamber members. The resource categories include food, kids activities, housing and utilities, among others. Do you have an update to include? Click here to submit your information and we'll add it to the list.
Four state legislators reviewed actions of the current Indiana General Assembly Session and answered questions from residents at a Feb. 15 Legislative Update forum. The event was co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
Legislators in attendance were Sen. Mark Stoops (District 40), Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61), and Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62). The panel was moderated by Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy.
The final forum of this legislative session will be held on Saturday, March 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
Click here to watch the Feb. 15 forum on CATS. Coverage from the B Square Beacon: "Redistricting question served up to state legislators, talk turns again to local issue."
State legislators representing parts of Bloomington/Monroe County met over lunch on Feb. 11 with Chamber members as part of the Chamber's Statehouse Drive-In.
Representatives Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Matt Pierce (District 61), and Jeff Ellington (District 62) joined the Chamber for an informal lunch in the 3rd floor atrium of the statehouse. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch also dropped by to greet the gathering.
The day included a tour of the historic building and viewing of the Indiana General Assembly in session.
Four state legislators shared their insights about the current Indiana General Assembly Session and answered questions from residents at a Jan. 25 Legislative Update forum. The event was organized by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
Legislators in attendance were Sen. Mark Stoops (District 40), Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60), Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61), and Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62).
Upcoming forums will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, March 21. Each forum runs from 9:30-11 a.m. at Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
Click here to watch the Jan. 25 forum on CATS.
Read the Herald-Times coverage here (paywall): "Area lawmakers discuss healthcare, redistricting and more at forum."
Read the B Square Beacon coverage here: "State legislator to Bloomington redistricting advocates: 'Show us on a local level.'"
As part of our advocacy efforts on behalf of members and the community, the Chamber develops annual guidelines for local public policy and state/federal legislation.
Our 2020 Local Public Policy Agenda provides specific priorities for a positive business climate (regulation, infrastructure and civic engagement) and quality of life (including housing, public safety, parking, parks and the convention center expansion).
Our 2020 State & Federal Legislative Agenda includes priorities for economic development and job creation, quality of place, environmental infrastructure, civic engagement and government accountability, education and workforce development, health care, and business taxation/regulation.
These guiding documents are developed through a member-driven process with our Chamber Advocacy Council and Chamber Legislative Council, and are approved by the Chamber's board of directors. Questions? Contact Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, at email@example.com.
Three forums to hear updates from state legislators during the 2020 General Assembly session have been scheduled by the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County. This year, the Chamber is partnering with the League for these events.
The forums will run from 9:30-11 a.m. on the following Saturdays: Jan. 25, Feb. 15 and March 21. All forums will be held at the Bloomington City Hall, 401 N. Morton.
The Chamber is tracking legislation as it moves through the General Assembly. Click here for weekly updates.
On Jan. 6, the Indiana General Assembly began its 2020 legislative session, a short cycle that's expected to wrap up by mid-March.
To help inform members about legislation moving through the state House and Senate, the Chamber is hosting our annual Legislative Preview luncheon on Friday, Jan. 17. State legislators who represent parts of the Bloomington/Monroe County area will be on hand to give insights into the session. The event runs from 11 a.m. til 1 p.m. at the Bloomington Country Club, 3000 S. Rogers. Click here for details.
The Chamber is also hosting a Legislative Drive-In on Tuesday, Feb. 11. We'll be organizing a tour of the Statehouse and lunch there for members and legislators to meet informally while the House and Senate are in session. Click here for details.
Throughout the session, the Chamber's Advocacy Team and Legislative Council will be tracking legislation that's relevant to our members and the Bloomington/Monroe County community. You can find the full set of bills on the General Assembly's website.
As we look to 2020, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is seeking input on issues that take priority for our members, local businesses and others throughout our community. Results from this 2019 Public Policy and Legislative Survey will help guide our legislative priorities and shape our advocacy in the coming year.
Please click the button below to weigh in – and thanks for your feedback!
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy