By Jane Henegar, Executive Director, ACLU of Indiana

Jane HenegarOver the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation's parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. And yet, in several states including Indiana, legislators have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional.

Disappointingly, SB 285 is one such bill.

Even though these bills are cloaked with concerns about obstruction or public safety, their effect is singular: chilling protest and suppressing dissent. It is disappointing that our lawmakers would rather silence the voices of their constituents than listen and engage with them. It is unconstitutional and un-American and we at the ACLU are doing everything we can to stop it.


Editors: Please contact Christy Glesing at (317) 667-5991 for more information or to publish.

By Jane Henegar, Executive Director, ACLU of Indiana

Jane HenegarFebruary 22, 2017

The First Amendment and existing federal and state law protect religious speech and mandate certain accommodations for religious exercise in government institutions. What the First Amendment does not permit is government endorsement of, or preference for, religious speech and subject matter in public schools.

By forcing public schools to introduce religious curricula and open up public for a for religious speech, HB 1024 puts teachers and school administrators at risk of violating the First Amendment. In sum, HB 1024 takes away the autonomy of school districts to avoid policies and practices that make them susceptible to legal challenges under the United States Constitution.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Oct. 25, 2016

Decision reverses trial court's order to dismiss, saying case managers have a right to bring an action to force DCS to comply with state law 

Indianapolis – Today the Court of Appeals of Indiana handed a victory to case managers at the Indiana Department of Child Services more than a year after they filed a class action lawsuit challenging the failure of DCS to adequately staff the agency as required by law.

In July, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana brought the class-action lawsuit against DCS on behalf of case manager Mary Price and other case managers for violating Indiana Code § 31-25-2-5, which mandates the maximum number of caseloads case managers may have. Today's decision reverses the trial court's Feb., 2016 order to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that case managers have a right to bring an action under mandate to force DCS to comply with the statutory caseload maximums. The case has been remanded to the trial court.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 3, 2016

Indianapolis – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a federal court ruling that prohibits the State of Indiana from taking any actions to interfere with or attempt to deter the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, including by withholding funds and services to resettlement groups and the refugees they serve.

"The Court of Appeals' decision underscores what we have said throughout this litigation," said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. "Governor Pence may not constitutionally or legally discriminate against a particular nationality of refugees that are extensively vetted by the federal government."

The lawsuit filed in November, 2015 was brought by Exodus Refugee Immigration, a nonprofit resettlement agency, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and ACLU national, which said the state's actions to discriminate against Syrian refugees on the basis of national origin violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal.

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