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Friday, October 24, 2014
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Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:24 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – While House Speaker Brian Bosma is calling for expanded financial disclosure rules in the wake of the conflict of interest surrounding State Rep. Eric Turner, he had a blunt message for all legislators during a Howey Politics Indiana interview on Monday. “Everyone has conflicts,” Bosma said. “That comes with both a parttime and fulltime legislature. We have to have elected officials to have the good judgment about when they should not be involved in a decision. We rely on good judgment with that regard. We apparently need to institutionalize some good judgment as well.”

Bosma continued, “A legislator with a substantial and personal interest in a matter shouldn’t be involved in public or private advocacy at the General Assembly on that matter. Just not voting on it isn’t enough. If you’re not voting behind the scene in a reduction of a license or a change in school standards for teachers that results in a substantial profit to you personally in a business deal, run away.” His remarks on the Turner situation were just part of the conversation centered around the House Republican agenda last week which addressed the biennial budget, education funding, ethics and public safety.
Bosma called for a reworking of the school funding formula after rural and suburban school corporations found per-student funding either static or dropping. He said he would personally support legal methamphetamine ingredients to be prescribed by doctors. And he expressed surprise at Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to reject $80 million in Pre-K funding, saying at one point, “I’m not certain I would have made the same decision. Our team has advocated preschool funding for a number of sessions.”


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    INDIANAPOLIS - A leaked email last week became an $80 million bombshell. Gov. Mike Pence had decided not to apply for federal pre-kindergarten funds at that level. The decision, which the governor characterized as based on federal “intrusion” into education matters reopens a classic case of taking an ideological stance on spending, even if it hurts the state. Pence explained, “It is important not to allow the lure of federal grant dollars to define our state’s mission and programs. More federal dollars do not necessarily equal success, especially when those dollars come with requirements and conditions that will not help — and may even hinder — running a successful program of our own making. An important part of our pre-K pilot is the requirement that we study the program so we understand what works and what doesn’t. I do not believe it is wise policy to expand our pre-K pilot before we have a chance to study and learn from the program.” What Pence hasn’t done is describe the “intrusions." Pence’s decision raised eyebrows, and not just with educators or Democrats. “I was a little surprised,” House Speaker Brian Bosma, an Indianapolis Republican, told me last week. “Before I’m critical of it, I want to know the details of the federal strings, that’s what the governor cited. I understand that concern. I’m not certain I would have made the same decision. Eighty million is quite a boost to a pilot program.” 
    MUNCIE – This whole ebola issue is about the size and scope of government. The U.S. government’s response to the ebola crisis offers a case study on some of the central problems of our times. For many months, anyone possessing an elementary understanding of probability and statistics has known that someone with ebola would enter the U.S. What we needed from the CDC was a bit of helpful guidance on how to help afflicted patients while protecting ourselves. In its place, we received a series of anti-alarmist untruths while actual useful information was dangerously neglected. On account of this, at least one person succumbed to the disease (or at least that will be the tort defense of the Texas hospital). The panic and confusion of ebola is instructive in many ways, but there is a lot more to this than simply a series of failures at the CDC. This whole issue is about the size and scope of government. 
    LOGANSPORT – We may never know the reasons why Gov. Mike Pence pulled the plug on an application for $80 million in funding. What we do know is that Indiana and one other state were reportedly positioned to receive the funding for pre-kindergarten programs in the state. It may not go down as a political setback for Pence or the Indiana General Assembly, but it certainly will go down as a setback for education. There’s been great debate in this country about how we all need to get children prepared to learn when they enter school for the first time. But this latest setback for pre-kindergarten funding in the state is like what Mark Twain once said about the weather: “Everybody always talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it.” 
    INDIANAPOLIS – Years ago, as I drove through the north side of Indianapolis, I’d listen on my car radio to a conservative talk show host struggling without a guest. As he tried to coax phone calls from his audience, I might stop in at the radio station. Often I told him, “Mike, you’re too intelligent to believe the things you say.” I no longer believe that is true. Gov. Mike Pence demonstrates a disregard for the economic well-being of Hoosiers. He is dominated by the ultra-right wing of a once proud and effective Republican party. He allows the short-sighted leadership of that party to dictate foolish policies undermining Indiana’s future. We need go back no further than the governor’s refusal last week to apply for $80 million in federal aid for pre-kindergarten programs. This money is not assured, but Indiana had a chance to compete for the funds. The governor declined to have the state apply for the money. 
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Kassig has an unlikely ally
CBS News reports the Kassig family has found an unlikely ally in their attempt to get ISIS to release their son.
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  • Horse Race: $100k gushes into Sen. Grooms, pre-K issue rising

    INDIANAPOLIS - Senate Republicans flooded the SD46 race with $100,000 on Wednesday, hoping to save freshman Sen. Ron Grooms in a tough reelection bid against Floyd County Commissioner Chuck Freiberger. Other Ohio River Senate races where incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Smith and Democrat Sen. Richard Young have also seen a spike in late supplemental money. The House Republican Campaign Committee, seeking to protect a 69-seat super majority, has put the most late supplemental funding into incumbents Ed Soliday in HD4, Alan Morrison in HD42, Matt Ubelhor in HD62 and Martin Carbaugh in HD81. While the HPI Horse Race is not forecasting an end to the House and Senate GOP super majorities, Gov. Mike Pence’s decision to reject $80 million in federal pre-K money will be exploited by Democratic challengers and could change some of these races in the final two weeks.
  • Rep. Brooks surveys ebola, ISIS threats
    INDIANAPOLIS – Freshman U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks sits at the nexus of two crises facing the United States: The potential spread of the ebola virus, and the terror threat from ISIS. In a Monday interview with HPI, Brooks was in the midst of coordinating the federal government with state and local units on preparedness issues. “I want to hear how  the federal response is coordinating with state and locals,” Brooks told Howey Politics Indiana. “Is the information flowing like it needs to? I’m concerned about that.” Rep. Brooks, R-Carmel, has registered increasing concern and unease about international threats within her district. “I did not anticipate that people would be as concerned about terrorism as they are now,” she said. “People are more anxious about national security and personal security than I would have guessed going into the campaign when I came home in September.”
  • Changing school funding formula will be difficult
    CNHI State Reporter

    INDIANAPOLIS – Superintendents of high-scoring, high-performing schools have long complained about a convoluted formula that costs them millions of dollars in state funds. Republicans pledge to help, while narrowing the gap between how much flows to those schools and others that don’t do as well. Details have yet to emerge to indicate how the state will change its approach to spending $6 billion in education money, though any decision likely will depend on revenue estimates due in December. Lawmakers are discussing proposals such as lifting minimum funding levels for school districts, which would narrow the $4,000-per-pupil difference between how much the state’s most subsidized schools receive and how much goes to those with the least amount of funding.

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  • Sen. Long reacts to Pence's pre-K decision
    “I personally support early childhood education and believe it will eventually play a critical role in providing Hoosier kids with the tools and opportunities they need for success in life. The plan approved by the General Assembly this year sought to create a partnership between state government, the private sector and not-for-profit organizations. I wasn’t consulted on the governor’s decision and am not personally aware of all of the reasons why he chose not to seek these federal pre-K funds. However, there are certainly many examples where taking federal money has come with onerous and overbearing rules and mandates for the states. I believe the governor is wary of that and wants to ensure this pilot remains an Indiana plan without federal strings attached.” - Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, reacting to Howey Politics Indiana on Gov. Mike Pence’s decision not to apply for $80 million in federal pre-K funds.

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Toll Road

Should the Indiana Toll Road revert back to the state since the bankrupt leasor is not living up to maintenance agreements?


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