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Wednesday, July 01, 2015
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Wednesday, July 01, 2015 10:31 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    
INDIANAPOLIS – In a riveting 24-hour period last week, Americans saw the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirm Obamacare, then legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. A few hours later at the funeral for South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the full frontal assault on the Confederate battle flag continued, quickly spreading from President Obama’s citation of the flag as racist, to a similar assessment from Republican Jeb Bush, to retailers such as eBay, Amazon and Walmart, to the Alabama statehouse where Gov. Robert Bentley ordered its removal from the heart of Dixie.
    
It was a stunning week that changed America in ways rarely witnessed at such a pace. While Congress and state legislatures remain mostly inert as the general public evolves quickly on social issues, it was the Supreme Court and the corporate community that decisively moved the needle. What remains to be seen is whether this evolution folds seamlessly into American culture, or whether this is only the calm before various groups on the social right regroup and prepare for other fights along other picket lines.
    
On Obamacare, which had faced more than 50 repeal votes in Congress that were essentially for show, there was disappointment expressed by Gov. Mike Pence and the Republican congressional delegation. But U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, speaking on CNN shortly after the 6-3 ruling that included Indiana-bred Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in the majority, vowed to continue to seek repeal. “There’s some good provisions in the law and there’s been a lot of people hurt, too,” said Messer, who heads the House Republican conference policy committee. “We have to keep our promises we’re going to continue to stand up to the president. We’re going to have to do the hard work of coming up with our own plan. We have to tell the American people what we would do if this was no longer the law of the land.”
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  • By MAUREEN HAYDEN
    INDIANAPOLIS – Running for statewide office isn’t easy when you have little name recognition among Indiana’s 4.8 million voters. Just ask Eric Holcomb, who started campaigning in March for next year’s U.S. Senate election. In a Howey Politics Indiana poll conducted in late April by Bellwether Research, 62 percent of voters said they’d never heard of Holcomb. Those voters won’t go to the polls for months. So Holcomb is going to them. In the first 30 days of his campaign, he traveled to events in 30 cities and towns. He’s pledged to visit all 92 counties before county fair season ends in August. That’s on top of a promise to shoot a basketball in a high school gym in every county, a goal that you can see he’s well on the way to achieving if you scan his Facebook page. Holcomb says the pace is exhausting but exhilarating. “Every time you go somewhere and talk to people, not just about their problems but about what they think are solutions, it fuels the rest of your day,” he said. 
  • By JACK COLWELL
     SOUTH BEND – What happened to that prominent political figure in neighboring Illinois was surprising. Consequences are serious. Dennis Hastert? No. This is about Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. He’s the one who told the Chicago Tribune editorial board that he intends to “rip the economic guts out of Indiana.” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence helped Rauner toward that goal in promoting what was ridiculed nationally as a Hoosier freedom-to-discriminate law. But this isn’t about the silliness of these neighboring states trying to steal jobs from each other instead of working together for the economic good of both. Maybe Rauner’s threat of “coming after Indiana big time” is understandable after Indiana sought to steal jobs with billboards asking Illinois employers if they were “Illinoid by higher taxes.” The surprise was a unanimous decision of the politically split Illinois Supreme Court. Consequences are serious for Rauner, the Republican governor, and the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature. 
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS - Since 2010, Hoosiers have consistently lined up against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. When we asked the September 2012 question in the Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll on whether you’d back a candidate who opposed Obamacare, by a 55-37 percent margin, our respondents agreed. Perhaps the most astute, adroit Hoosier in all of government, Long Beach-bred U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has now twice preserved the ACA. In a landmark decision announced on Thursday, Roberts, a conservative jurist appointed by President George W. Bush, joined the 6-3 majority, explaining, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.” In contrast, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a scathing dissent, citing “interpretive jiggery, pokery” involving the ACA tax subsidies that 159,000 out of the 180,000 Hoosiers now receive via the federal ACA exchange. Seated next to a stony faced Roberts, Scalia would pronounce the ACA as “SCOTUSCare.” In essence, Chief Justice Roberts is telling the nation that if Americans don’t want Obamacare, they need to elect a president and a Congress that will repeal and replace the act. It is not up to the Supreme Court to make the determination. 
  • By RICH JAMES
    MERRILLVILLE – Every decade or so, the thought of downsizing government in Lake County comes to the surface. Unfortunately, not enough people take the issue seriously and nothing gets accomplished. Some react to such talk as if you wanted to do away with their first born. Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub again raised the consolidation issue the other day. Scheub, in fact, has been one of the few in Lake County willing to tackle the issue of combining several communities into one, but stopping short of calling for a system of Unigov for the entire county. Scheub, and rightly so, contends that Lake County doesn’t need 19 municipalities duplicating the services of each other. The way Scheub sees it is that if Lake County is going to grow economically, it must lower taxes by reducing the duplication of services. 
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Cubs v. Sox
Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs - Round 1 (Craig Robinson vs Nick Offerman)
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  • Horse Race: Rev. Harrison files 6,600 ballot signatures in Indy
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Probable independent candidate Rev. Charles Harrison submitted more than 6,600 ballot petition signatures at Tuesday’s deadline. Harrison has not made a final decision on whether to enter the race where Democrat nominee Joe Hogsett is the favorite at this point. In other political news, Jodi Buoscio lost in a thumping to Indiana Rep. Tim Wesco in 2014 elections for his post (Vandenack, Elkhart Truth). That’s not deterring the Elkhart Memorial High School teacher from Osceola. She announced Thursday, June 25, she’s going to try again for the District 21 Indiana House seat, citing Wesco’s “extremist and divisive” positions. “Tim Wesco’s sponsorship and support of the so-called religious freedom bill in the 2015 legislative session made us a national laughing stock,” Buoscio, a Democrat, said in a statement.
     
  • Horse Race: Thomas continues to ponder GOP challenge to Pence
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis auto dealer Bob Thomas is still pondering entry into the Republican primary, and perhaps even an independent gubernatorial bid. “It is still under consideration,” Thomas told HPI on Tuesday. “But taking on a sitting governor is a huge undertaking. I don’t want to get into a bloody primary and then give the seat to the Democrats.” Thomas began pondering a challenge to Gov. Pence following the Religious Freedom Restoration Act episode last April. Thomas said that he is talking with Republicans about the race. “I’m talking to the adults in the party,” he said. “Everybody thinks the same way. They are scared to death this guy is going to get beat in November.” Thomas is looking at mid-July to make a decision.
     
  • Pence lauds SCOTUS decision that pre-empts EPA showdown
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - A week after vowing “not to comply” with pending Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, Gov. Mike Pence hailed a U.S. Supreme Court decision released Monday morning that clipped the Obama administration’s attempt to restrict carbon emissions that he believed would make energy more expensive and gnaw into Hoosier job creation. “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for Indiana and for Hoosiers,” Pence said Monday afternoon following the 5-4 decision on Michigan et al. v. EPA.
     
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  • Gregg raises $1.7 million, will report $1.8 million cash on hand
    “Preliminary numbers are in: We raised more than $1.7M with more than $1.8M cash on hand!! Big numbers for our first 60 days. Thanks to all who contributed.” - Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg on Wednesday after the June 30 reporting deadline. Gregg began the cycle with $130,000, well behind Gov. Mike Pence’s $3.5 million. But he raised $440,000 in large donations in May and June, compared to $225,000 by the Pence campaign. Democrat Supt. Glenda Ritz had no large donations and State Sen. Karen Tallian shifted $20,000 from her state senate campaign to her gubernatorial. 



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