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(INDIANAPOLIS) — Senate Democrats’ agenda for 2021 focuses on paychecks, public safety, and


Minority Leader Greg Taylor argues the pandemic and the protests which followed the death of

George Floyd in Minneapolis have highlighted longstanding Democratic priorities, from police reform

to raising the minimum wage. Both are part of a five-point Democratic priority list.

Democrats will call for a six-year phase-in of a $15-an-hour minimum wage, with a jump to $10

an hour next year, followed by an additional dollar in each of the following five years. Gary

Senator Eddie Melton’s bill would also abolish a 10-year-old law which bans cities and counties from

raising the minimum wage locally. Melton argues minimum-wage workers have kept the state afloat

during the pandemic, from supermarket employees to delivery drivers.

Melton’s also authoring a pair of police-reform bills, banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds. Avon Representative Greg Steuerwald has been leading House Republican discussions on police reform, and has already introduced a chokehold ban, with Indianapolis Democrat Robin Shackleford among the co-authors. Melton says he won’t formally endorse that bill till he’s had a chance to read it, but says he appreciates Steuerwald’s efforts over the last several months to collaborate with the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus on police issues.

Democrats note two other priorities have passed the Republican Senate before. The chamber

approved an increase in worker’s compensation last year, and universal mail-in voting in 2018. Both

measures died in the House.

Carmel Senator J.D. Ford says President Trump’s frequent and unsubstantiated claims of absentee

ballot fraud have complicated the discussion, but says legislators should focus instead on the

popularity and effectiveness of no-excuse mail-in voting in Indiana’s primary last year. He notes 34

states already allow universal mail-in voting, and 11 more adopted it as a temporary measure last