The Journal Gazette
Sunday, May 17, 2020 1:00 am

Pregnancy accommodations won't be studied

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Republicans continued to block movement on a pregnancy accommodation law – this time refusing to move forward a mere study on the topic.

Gov. Eric Holcomb pitched a bill this year to require businesses to provide reasonable assistance to pregnant workers or new moms, such as extra bathroom breaks or a place to lactate in private.

Senate Republicans gutted the bill, turning it into a summer study committee. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray voted “yes” for the legislation. But the House never moved the bill.

So when the Legislative Council met last week to assign summer study topics, guess what was not on the list? – pregnancy accommodations.

The Legislative Council has four voting members – the leaders of House and Senate Republican caucuses and House and Senate Democratic caucuses. A topic needs three out of four votes to be assigned to a study committee. That means at least one Republican needed to vote for the topic, which clearly did not happen.

“Indiana suffers from unacceptably high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality,” said Jeena Siela, director of maternal-child health and government affairs for March of Dimes. “Ensuring that all pregnant women are working in conditions that protect their health would provide another step towards helping women carry their pregnancies to term and avert greater complications for the mother, including postpartum health problems.”

While some women who ask for accommodations may be protected by federal or state laws intended to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and on disability, there is no clear federal or state law specifying when an employer must accommodate a pregnant worker on the job. At least 29 other states have passed similar legislation.

Yes 2 DeKalb endorsements

The Yes 2 DeKalb County Political Action Committee on Monday announced its endorsements for the June 2 Republican primary election.

The organization endorsed candidates Todd Sanderson and Kevin Webb for positions as DeKalb County commissioners. Yes 2 DeKalb County is associated with the Concerned Citizens of DeKalb County organization.

Sanderson will face Larry Dove for DeKalb County's northeast district seat and Webb is running against Michael Watson for the southeast district position.

“Both of these are local businessmen and will bring years of financial common sense to the commissioners,” Yes 2 DeKalb County said in an email.

The political action committee also endorsed two candidates, one an incumbent, for seats on the DeKalb County Council. There are three at-large seats on the County Council and four Republican primary candidates.

Yes 2 DeKalb County endorsed Amy Prosser for one of those seats. The organization described Prosser as “one of their own” who “helped lead Yes 2 DeKalb County to defeating the DeKalb Central School Tax referendum.”

Yes 2 DeKalb County also highly recommends primary voters support DeKalb County Councilman David Yarde, R-at large, in his reelection bid. Incumbents Bob Krafft and Martha Grimm are also running in the June 2 Republican primary.

Anyone who wants information on how to get involved or donate to campaigns can email

Curbside politics

The Allen County Democratic Party will have its curbside pasta pickup dinner from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at party headquarters at 7301 Decatur Road, Fort Wayne.

The $10 meal of spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread will take the place of the Democrats' annual spring fundraising event, canceled this year because of social gathering restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Indiana House Minority Leader Rep Phil GiaQuinta and Fort Wayne City Council members Michelle Chambers and Geoff Paddock will be delivering meals to vehicles. The party organization said that safety precautions will be taken, including the wearing of masks by participants.

Young Democrats look for new brand

The Indiana Young Democrats recently announced the launch of a new brand identity and tagline. Among other changes will be a revamped logo. The rebranding signals a progressive shift in vision and strategy over the course of the previous year.

“The rebrand of Indiana Young Democrats and the appointment of our first Afro-Latina president and first black queer vice president signals a progressive move forward for our organization,” says Arielle Brandy, president of Indiana Young Democrats. “We are redefining Mike Pence's backyard and representing the diversity that lives in this state.”

The rebranding is part of the organization's strategy to evolve and create a foundation for new opportunities for its members. With an emphasis on their tagline (“Young Gets It Done”), the group turns its attention to the fresh perspectives of the Democratic Party. The organization has already teamed up with Rust Belt Rising, aimed at identifying and supporting young first-time candidates throughout Indiana, with a focus on manufacturing and working-class areas of the state. More partnerships are expected to be announced in the coming months.

“The rebranding represents a progressive organization that we are building for our members and candidates,” said James Wells, vice president of the Indiana Young Democrats. “In 2018, we helped elect four of our endorsed candidates to office. In 2019, we successfully hosted the Young Democrats of America National Convention, which brought in the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, multiple presidential candidates and campaigns, and over 1,000 attendees to our great Hoosier State.”

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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