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Friday, May 29, 2015
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U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks speaks while Republican colleague Jackie Walorski (left) and Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly look on at a 2013 conference in Carmel on domestic security.
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks speaks while Republican colleague Jackie Walorski (left) and Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly look on at a 2013 conference in Carmel on domestic security.
Friday, May 29, 2015 1:49 PM
By MARK SCHOEFF JR.  
    
WASHINGTON – Being bipartisan doesn’t mean checking your conservative or liberal beliefs at the House or Senate door, according to a longtime Hoosier lawmaker known for crossing the aisle. Last week, former Sen. Richard Lugar released a ranking of senators and House members that shows how well they reach out to members of the other party when working on legislation.
    
The Bipartisan Index, produced by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, analyzed the 113th Congress (2013-14) against a 20-year congressional baseline stretching back to 1993. The study looked at legislation that lawmakers sponsored or co-sponsored, allocating points for measures that attracted support of the opposite party. It provided empirical evidence that partisan fissures in the capital are deep and that members of the Indiana congressional delegation tend to stay cloistered in their party enclaves.
    
Rising up the index does not mean moving toward the middle, Lugar said. “Continue, if you wish, to be very conservative or very liberal, but at the same time offer legislation and then seek on the other side of the aisle co-sponsors to it, so it will become law as opposed to simply a speech or a statement,” Lugar said.
    
One Hoosier congressman who scored poorly in the index, Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th CD, said that his ranking, 416th in the House, was a product of his political beliefs and geography. “I’m a conservative,” he said. “I represent a conservative district, and the results reflect that. There’s not a lot of staunch conservatives or liberals scoring high on the index.”
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  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    NASHVILLE, Ind. – Could it be? Are Indiana and Andrew Jackson splitting up??   From the standpoint of the Indiana Senate, a resolution passed in the recent session by a unanimous voice vote had that body officially recommending that Treasury Sec. Jack Lew replace the seventh president with a female on the $20 bill. Senate Resolution 62 declares: “To honor the enormous contributions women have bestowed on America’s history, designating a woman on the twenty dollar bill would serve as a long overdue change and as a symbolic initiative to promote gender equality nationally.” ?A national movement is underway to replace President Jackson with the likes of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt or Underground Railroad hero Harriet Tubman. In a recent unofficial vote by the Women On 20s Campaign, Tubman narrowly edged Roosevelt, 118,328 to 111,227.?  The significance of the Indiana Senate vote is that if the Hoosier state owes its policy identity to any U.S. president, it is Andrew Jackson, to whom the state pledged its five Electoral College votes in two successive elections, 1824 and 1828 over John Quincy Adams, the second with 56 percent.

     
  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – It is probably not the best of ideas to allow the people to vote in a referendum on basic human rights. Our founding fathers were pretty specific about our rights being derived from God and not from man. After all, would a vote of our nation confirming slavery have changed the basic iniquity of the institution or altered the rights of any man to be free regardless of color? Would a vote by the people against allowing women the right to vote have legitimatized denying universal suffrage? The law may or may not be changed by a referendum of the people, but human rights can never be changed by a vote. Fundamental rights live whether or not they are codified. In the United States, change comes slowly. Our legislative bodies move at a glacial pace when it comes to social change. More often than not, the courts write social law through judicial review and leave it to state and national legislatures to play catch up. Our founding fathers were pretty clever with that element of our United States Constitution. It might seem awfully easy to just put the issue of basic human rights on the ballot and let the people speak. 
  • By SHAW FRIEDMAN
    LaPORTE – Once it was different growing up in Indiana.  Mainstream Republicans, while they were never close to the teachers’ unions, tended to understand that the success of public schools was critically tied in to our state’s success. Whether it was a Richard Lugar who first got involved with Indianapolis public schools or Doc Bowen and then Bob Orr with his “A+” commitment to funding K-12, there was a broad, bipartisan consensus around supporting public schools. Toss in revered Republican lawmakers like State Sen. Virginia Blankenbaker from Indianapolis or the late Phyllis Pond from the Fort Wayne area, you could count on mainstream Republican support for funding our public schools. Not any more. Hard to believe that our current governor proposed only $200 million in new school money,  with nearly all of it directed at corporate-run charter schools as well as the state’s private school voucher program at the expense of traditional public schools. The governor’s budget guru back in January, Chris Atkins, was quoted  as saying the governor’s office was most concerned that some “high quality charter operators,” translated big bucks education corporations, “are not willing to look at investing here because of our charter financing system.”  Huh?  When did we have to start worrying about some out-of-state for-profit education firms needing subsidies?  
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS – A few weeks ago some Hoosiers were worried about the image of our state because of the ill-advised, ineptly named Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Gov. Pence was so worried he decided to spend $750,000 with some opportunistic, out-of-state firm for Righteous Image Restoration Advertising (RIRA). It did not seem to me that our image was seriously compromised by the RFRA’s passage or the virtually meaningless “fix” applied after a massive public outcry. Our reputation was already well established as being backward-looking and ignorant. RFRA only confirmed what most Americans who thought of Indiana already believed. Little noticed at the time was the Pence turn-about when the largest-ever outbreak of HIV hit the state. Long an ideological opponent of needle- and syringe-exchange programs, the governor authorized such an effort for Scott County alone. The rest of the state would remain in the dark ages.  
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Stutzman Senate Bid Announcement
U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman's Republican U.S. Senate campaign announcement in Roanoke on May 9.
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  • HPI Analysis: Pence in, Pelath out, Ritz coming to INGov race
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – A fortnight ago, our analysis of the evolving Indiana gubernatorial race hinged on the decisions of three key players, Gov. Mike Pence, as well as Democrat Supt. Glenda Ritz and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath. As things stand today, Gov. Pence has confirmed a reelection bid telling Howey Politics Indiana on Wednesday he is prepared to defend his first term record. Ritz is headed in that direction with an announcement coming next week, and Pelath has ruled out a run, saying that a Democratic primary “free-for-all” would damage the party’s prospects for the general election, but is open for a spot on the ticket. Informed and reliable Ritz associates acknowledged an announcement is forthcoming next week, saying a decision has been made, and that the superintendent has been calling supporters. Asked if the decision is to challenge Gov. Pence, the source told HPI, “You laid out a logical scenario in your column, and Supt. Ritz is a logical person.”
     
  • INSen: Rep. Young venturing to Lincoln Dinners outside 9th CD
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY  
        
    INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Rep. Todd Young is beginning to venture outside of his 9th CD for Lincoln dinners, another indicator that the Bloomington Republican will opt into the 2016 U.S. Senate race. Young appeared at the Jennings County event on Tuesday evening and will be attending others in Blackford, Howard and Gibson counties in the coming weeks, as well as the June 18 Indiana Republican state spring dinner. Since Young is sitting on a $1.4 million war chest, his potential entry without a definitive pronouncement of candidacy is impacting the field. Another prospective entrant is House Speaker Brian Bosma, who spent the first four months of the year immersed in the long General Assembly session, much of May on vacation, and is now settling into the business of his Kroger Gardis law firm. Informed and reliable sources close to the Speaker tell Howey Politics there is no deadline for a decision, particularly with Rep. Young’s candidacy unresolved.
     
  • Sen. Liz Brown kicks off Republican 3rd CD campaign
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - State Sen. Liz Brown officially ignited her 3rd CD campaign in Fort Wayne Wednesday night, joining a field that includes State Sen. Jim Banks and former Wisconsin legislator Pam Galloway. Brown said she will file for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman because there is a need in Washington more than ever for people “who are not afraid to speak out in order to affirm that our constitutional democratic principles and our faith are not broken or wavering.” Stutzman is seeking the U.S. Senate seat that Republican Dan Coats is retiring from. “I entered into public service after years of volunteer work, because I knew that at a local level and then at the state level, that we could lay a better foundation, a stronger foundation, so that our children and grandchildren could continue the self-made successes of our grandparents,” Brown told supporters.
        
     
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  • Pelath reacts to civil rights expansion omission from summer study
    “If you ask your average Hoosier, should somebody be fired from a job for no other reason than being gay, most of the time they’re going to say absolutely not. And that’s what we’re talking about.” - House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, reacting to the decision of General Assembly Republican leaders not to include expanding the state civil rights code to include sexual orientation to its summer study committee lineup. In the April Howey Politics Indiana Poll, by a 54-34% margin, Hoosiers favored the expansion. 



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General Assembly

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