Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Republicans Will Spend Millions to Repair the Damage Done by RFRA

The Senate's budget guru, Luke Kenley says the Senate's Appropriations Committee will add $2 million to the budget to help repair the damage done to Indiana's reputation by the RFRA fiasco. Half of it will go to tourism funding and the other half will go to an entrepreneurial program called Launch Indiana. Read more here.

Meanwhile Gov. Pence has declared the RFRA matter officially behind us and that the state is ready to move on. And he also has announced that his administration had hired a public relations firm to strengthen Indiana's brand as a “welcoming place to live, visit and do business.” Read more here.

Too bad no Republican thought about the possible outcomes of RFRA before they passed it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Poll Shows RFRA Damaged Pence

A new poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign shows that Gov. Pence has been politically damaged by the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 75 percent of likely voters said the controversy was bad for Indiana business; independent voters felt the fight was damaging by 72-12 and Republicans agreed by a margin of 64-13. 53 percent of voters said the RFRA fight gave them a less favorable impression of Pence while 38 percent say it left a more favorable impression. Best of all, the poll shows Pence in a 47-47 tie with Democrat John Gregg! Read more about the poll at IndyPolitics.org.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Committee Passes Bill to Deny Superintendent the Chair of State Board of Education

With the RFRA fiasco behind them, the Republican supermajority is ready to get back undermining Superintendent Glenda Ritz wherever and whenever possible. Now the House Education Committee has passed a bill that would deny the Superintendent the automatic role of chair of the State Board of Education, thus further diluting the power of her office. The Chicago Tribune notes that this agenda dates back to to former Superintendent Tony Bennett's defeat by Ritz:
Many programs at the epicenter of these arguments were championed by former Superintendent Tony Bennett, who Ritz unseated after receiving more supporting votes than Gov. Pence. "The voters had made it clear that they did not agree with Superintendent Bennett," said Vic Smith, of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. "According to this bill, the voters are wrong."
Read more from the tribune here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pence's Private RFRA Signing with Anti-Gay Activists

If anyone tries to claim that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had nothing to do with discriminating against the LGBT community, share this photo with them and ask why Gov. Pence invited these three anti-gay activists to his private signing ceremony for the bill.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pence Refuses to Answer Whether RFRA Makes Discrimination Legal

Eight times Gov. Mike Pence refused to answer George Stephanopolous's yes/no question about whether the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act makes discrimination against gays and lesbians legal in Indiana during his disastrous appearance this morning on ABC's This Week. And the Governor said that making gays and lesbians a protected class was "not on my agenda." The Governor argued that discrimination was not an issue because "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination." Case closed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Religious Freedom Act on Hardball

Chris Matthews took on Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Hardball Friday night. You can see it here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sen. Dan Coats Won't Seek Re-Election in 2016

Dan Coats says he won't run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016: "I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders." Coats's decision inspired speculation on whether his seat could become competitive for Democrats who need to gain just five seats to control the Senate again. Brian Howey notes that Hillary Clinton, who put considerable effort into Indiana in 2008, could focus a spotlight on our state again, which could impact a Senate race. Howey asks, "Could they pull off an Obama and make Indiana competitive?"

Speculation is already gravitating toward Evan Bayh, who has a $10 million war chest from his previous campaign. Coats succeeded Bayh in 2010 when Bayh opted not to seek re-election. Read more here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Religious Freedom/Right to Discriminate Bill Passes House

The House passed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act today on a party-line vote. The bill was a solution in search of a problem, as pointed out by Minority Leader Scott Pelath:
“This is a made up issue. It’s an issue made up for the purpose of being able to go in front of a few Indiana citizens and thump your chest that you stood up for certain social causes. It basically says to a group of people that you’re second rate, you don’t matter, and if you walk into my store, I don’t have to serve you. That is old-fashioned thinking at best. It is dangerous reactionary thinking at worst.”
State Democratic chairman John Zody said the bill legalized discrimination:
“The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act sets us on a dangerous, regressive course, and the ensuing court battles will take away valuable time, money, and effort that should be invested in moving us forward. This is a sad day for Indiana – and sadder still is Gov. Pence’s commitment to sign it into law when it reaches his desk. In fact, it’s disgraceful.”
Read more about the RFRA here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

President Disses Purdue in His NCAA Bracket--Again

Once again President Barack Obama has failed to select Purdue for the Final Four in the NCAA men's basketball tournament! That's seven years in a row! Even worse, he has Purdue losing in the first round to Cinncinnati. At least he didn't pick IU to win any games(he started to but thought better of it and scratched it out).

If want to hear the President explain himself, you can do it at ESPN.com here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sanders Brings a Scientific Perspective to His Politics

On Friday the Purdue Exponent published a profile of Democrat David Sanders who is running for a seat on the West Lafayette City Council. The article focuses on the scientific perspective perspective that Sanders applies to political matters, especially where data are concerned:
“I've been interested for quite some time in the intersection of science and public policy. That’s why I’m interested in politics, because very few people in decision-making positions have scientific experience. On either side of the spectrum, either the left or the right, they listen to lobbyists who tell them what to do, rather than evaluating the data for themselves.”
You can read the whole Exponent profile of David Sanders here.