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RYAN HATFIELD

Democratic Birth Date: 06/08/86

Election preview: In increasingly Republican southwestern Indiana, House District 77 is the last Democratic stronghold, covering most of the city of Evansville. It has been represented since 2016 by Ryan Hatfield, a former sex crimes prosecutor whose grandfather represented the area in the Indiana Senate in the early 1960s. Elected a few months after his 30th birthday, Hatfield has begun moving through the leadership ranks of House Democrats and has become one of chamber’s most vocal advocates for victims’ rights. He has shown a knack for collaborating with Republicans, a useful skill for anyone in the minority caucus interested in getting their bills passed and signed into law.

Hatfield’s first bill to make to the governor’s desk, with a Republican co-author, provided for autopsy reports to be made available in certain cases to peer review committees at hospitals where patients were treated before their deaths; he described it as an extension of oversight of patient care. Also in his first term, Hatfield introduced a bill aimed at reducing layoffs during economic downturns, effectively allowing employers instead to reduce hours across staff and for employees to continue receiving some benefits. He said the measure would protect workers like those who lost their jobs in the Great Recession. When his bill appeared destined to die in committee, Hatfield signed on as a co-author on a Republican-authored bill with the same provisions, but it fared no better. He introduced the bill again in 2019 and 2020 with the same result.

In 2019, he authored three bills with Republican co-authors that were passed and signed into law, including one that broadened authority to issue protective orders for victims of harassment and another that stiffened penalties for animal cruelty. Also in 2019, Hatfield introduced a bill to set the minimum salary for Indiana teachers at $50,000; the average starting salary statewide was about $35,000. It had no Republican co-authors and did not make it past committee.

The district includes virtually all of the precincts in southwestern Indiana that went for Clinton over Trump in 2016. Hatfield’s predecessor had winning margins of about 60%, and he has done as well despite a close race in the Democratic primary in 2016. He was unopposed in the general election in 2018 and had no opposition come forward in either primary in 2020; Republicans later added a candidate whom Hatfield defeated with 83% of the general election vote. – Kevin Morgan

CONTACT INFORMATION

(800) 382-9842
200 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/legislators/legislator_ryan_hatfield_1

EDUCATION

  • JD, Law, Southern Illinois University, 2010-2012
  • BA, Political Science/Entrepreneurship and Innovation/History, Purdue University, 2005-2010

COMMITTEES

Judiciary; Public Health; Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications.

KEY VOTES

SB 198-2019 (Sentencing, bias crimes). Allowed longer sentences in crimes based on personal characteristics, stripped of references to sexual orientation, gender identity and race. No

SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. Yes

HB 1001-2019 (State budget). Set funding for state agencies and services, including 2.5% annual increases for education, though not directly for teacher salaries. No

HB 1004-2019 (School safety). Increased access to funding for security systems and resource officers, was stripped of provisions for mental health screening. Yes

HB 1015-2019 (Various gaming matters). Allowed sports betting statewide and table games in more casinos, relocated a casino in Gary and authorizing a new one in Terre Haute. Yes

SB 1-2020 (Tobacco and vaping). Raised from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products in Indiana. Yes

SB 148-2020 (Zoning and housing matters). Was amended to overrule local tenant protection measures like those in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville. Vetoed by governor. No

HB 1004-2020 (Health matters). Controlled surprise billing for out-of-network and other costs. No

HB 1070-2020 (Distracted driving). Made it an infraction to handle a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Excused

HB 1414-2020 (Electric generation). Prohibited utilities from closing coal-fired generating plants without permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. No

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Indiana Trial Lawyers Association,  $5,000

Hatfield For Commissioner,  $5,000

Indiana State Pipe Trades Association,  $4,000

Steelworkers Local 104,  $2,742

Laborers Local 561,  $2,200

RATINGS

Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 71
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 51
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions (4 Year Average) 60
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions 60
LEAP Forward Positions (Indianna) 33
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Positions 77
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Lifetime Positions 78
National Rifle Association Candidate Positions on Gun Rights 93
Indiana AFL-CIO Positions 89
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 36

PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Attorney, Hatfield Law

DISTRICT

Population: 65,099

Race/Ethnic Origin: 75% White, 19.1% Black, 0.7% Asian, 1.7% Other, 3.5% Two or More.