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ISTA says thousands of emails to lawmakers about HB 1134 were blocked

ISTA said around 90% of the emails that didn't go through to legislators were about the controversial, critical race theory-inspired bill.

INDIANAPOLIS — The state's largest teacher's union reports tens of thousands of emails for lawmakers were blocked by a spam filter. Now the state is exploring if it will make changes to the filter.

The Indiana State Teachers Association reports about 119,000 emails went through, but 70,000 emails were blocked. Its website vendor notified the group of the issue the first week of March, as the legislative session was ending.

"Unfortunately, the way the system works is the individual doesn't know that their email didn't get through," said ISTA Executive Director Dan Holub. "And the legislator doesn't know that someone was trying to reach them."

ISTA asked the state to whitelist, or pause the filter, for only its emails. That request was denied.

The executive director of the Legislative Services Agency reports the filter is a cybersecurity measure put into place back in 2012. It's unclear if the spam filter has been an issue in the past.

The filter only allows 100 messages from the same source or IP address in a 30-minute span.

This legislative session, ISTA's website was offering email prompts for several bills. The most controversial was HB 1134. The CRT-inspired bill eventually died, but it was in play until the very end of the legislative session.

The teacher's union said about 90% of the 70,000 emails that didn’t go through were about HB 1134.

"We basically had to manually download them and put them into spreadsheets, and then send them to each individual legislator," Holub said. "So we did that. What happens next? I don't I don't know. So, either groups like ISTA will have to find a different way to commute to legislators or we're hoping the legislature will reconsider its policy."

The state reports the Indiana General Assembly's spam filter is in line with seven other states that it reached out to, including Ohio and Virginia.

RELATED: Teachers concerned HB 1134 could get new life in another bill

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