Thursday, January 31, 2013

Donnelly Will Not Support Assault Weapons Ban

A spokesperson for Joe Donnelly says the senator will not vote for an assault weapons ban that is supported by President Obama. He is undecided on universal background checks. Donnelly has characterized himself as a "strong supporter of the Second Amendment." Read more here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

President's Speech on Immigration Reform: "Now's the Time"

Here is the President's hopeful speech on immigration reform delivered in Las Vegas today.

Pence's Speech "Disingenuous" Toward Ritz

Columnist Dan Carpenter observed that Governor Pence's promised "to work with the new superintendent of public instruction to free teachers from the encumbrances that rob them of time with their kids" in his state-of-the-state address. But, Carpenter notes, the Governor's policy initiatives are as anti-education as ever: he remains committed to high stakes testing, makes no mention of the $300 million that was cut in the last session, and promises an expansion of the voucher program (the constitutionality of which is still under consideration by the state Supreme Court). Carpenter finds Pence's hollow promise of cooperation "disingenuous." Read Carpenter's column here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Daniels Won't Lobby for Purdue This Budget Cycle

Purdue President Mitch Daniels has decided not to lobby on behalf Purdue during the current session of the General Assembly. “I think in some time, the point will come when it is appropriate. I don’t think it is essential that I be here. And since it is not, I think there are some reasons to let at least one season go by," Daniels said. The former governor is being sensitive to concerns about "revolving door" rules, though these are considered not to apply in this situation. Sheila Klinker thinks it's a good idea anyway: “I think that was a wise decision for Daniels. The legislators are asked to wait a year before they tend to lobby out in the hall or be here. I think it is going to make President Daniels more comfortable when he does come here.” You can read more here.

Governor Visits Lafayette to Discuss Job Creation

Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann visited Lafayette yesterday to talk with local officials about job creation. The Governor attended an economic development forum at SIA (here is J&C coverage), while the Lt. Governor toured the high-tech Nanshan facility (here is J&C coverage). Both held up Tippecanoe County as exemplary in creating the kind of advanced manufacturing jobs the state needs.

The governor makes a stop in Lafayette

Democratic Response to Gov. Pence's State of the State

Here is the Democratic response to Governor Pence's first State of the State address by House Democratic leader Scott Pelath and his Senate counterpart Tim Lanane.

Donnelly's Senate Website

Joe Donnelly has his Senate website up and running. Its URL is http://www.donnelly.senate.gov.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mayors Reflect on Gun Safety

Sandy Hook put guns back on the national radar and the President has proposed bth legislation and executive orders to address the issue. WLFI asked Mayors Roswarski and Dennis, both former police officers, to weigh in on the issue.

Local mayors talk gun control

President Obama's Inauguration

Here is video of President Obama's swearing in and his historic and magnificent second inaugural address. Savor.

Lafayette PC Named Small Business of the Year


Mayor Tony Roswarski, Rep. Sheila Klinker, and Sen. Ronnie Alting participated in the ceremony that recognized Lafayette PC as the community's Small Business of the Year for 2012. WLFI coverage of the event is below.

Lafayette PC is Small Business of the Year

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bosma Skeptical of Governor's 10% Tax Cut

Jim Shella reports that Speaker of the House Brian Bosma is doubtful about Governor Pence's proposed 10 percent cut to state income tax. "It may be difficult to invest in all the critical needs we have before us and still accept the governor’s tax cut proposal. That doesn’t mean it’s off the table," said Bosma. The speaker is concerned that the cuts will allow for only one percent growth in education funding.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Donnelly on Gun Safety and Desbt Ceiling

Here's a link to a brief WRTV interview with Joe Donnelley on the President's gun safety proposals and the debt ceiling from Wednesday. (Typically we would embed this video on our site, but WRTV blocks that function.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Indiana Congressional Delegation's View of Gun Legislation Ranges from Tepid to Hostile

Where does Indiana's congressional delegation stand on President Obama's proposed gun legislation? As reported in the Journal and Courier, Todd Rokita calls it a "radical overreach by a power-hungry executive branch." Luke Messer calls it an unwarranted assault on the Second Amendment. Senator Dan Coats, who voted for the 1994 assault weapons ban, won't be doing so again: "I will not support legislation or executive actions that would affect gun ownership rights for law-abiding citizens, including any assault weapons ban."

Democrats are being careful. Andre Carson says, “For now, I can say with certainty that Congress must act on legislation that closes loopholes and requires background checks on all gun sales. We must also do our part to ensure serious penalties for gun traffickers who help arm criminals." And Sen. Joe Donnelly's spokesperson that his strong support for Second Amendment rights will be on his mind as he reviews the president’s proposals.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Donnelly Offers Support to Indiana Legislators

Majority Leader Brian Bosma invited Sen. Joe Donnelly to address the Indiana House of Representatives. Donnelly took the occasion to encourage legislators to work together for the benefit of the state and the country. And he offered to help in any way he could as one of the state's two senators: “In any way shape or form, our office is your office, anything you need we want to be there for help." Read more here.

Klinker Thinks State Education Funding Will Grow

Here is WLFI coverage of Rep. Sheila Klinker's position on state funding for education in this year's legislature.

Cheaper college in Indiana?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dem's House Leader Calls for Social Issues Moratorium

Jim Shella reports that Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Pelath called for a moratorium on social issues on the first day of the new legislative session. Pelath said, “People deserve a break from the political exploitation of their fears and emotions as we work to rebuild our economy.” Sitting on a supermajority, Speaker Brian Bosma did not agree: “We aren’t declaring a moratorium on anything. That’s not been my normal custom to make those kind of decisions on behalf of the body.”

One the social issues docket: a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana, reciting of the Lord's Prayer at the start of each school day,Sen. Kruse's crazy "truth in education" proposal (read about it here), and the latest addition to the "worst idea ever list," Sen. Jim Banks's bill to allow students to carry concealed firearms on public university campuses (read about it here.

“Above all, we must make sure that the power of government does not shift far from the center,” warns Rep. Pelath. Outnumbered Dems will fight the good fight, but that train may have already left the station.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Donnelly to Follow Path of Moderation

Like his predecessors Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar, newly sworn-in Senator Joe Donnelly tells RTV that he will follow a path of moderation, not ideological purity: “We have had just a tradition of being a state where the senators who represent us are not extremists, but are ones who are looked to by the entire nation to bring us together."

Donnelly says he will work with a growing group of moderate senators that includes Republicans, as well as Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virgina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and others. “There has been a group in the past, but you saw in this last election a number of additional moderate senators. [The moderate group] has even expanded, and I believe it will not only influence legislation that will be brought by the caucuses, but also bring legislation of their own.” You can read more here.

Opinion appears divided as to the level of influence these moderates will have on the Senate. “I think moderates are always tilting at windmills,” says Indiana University political science professor Marjorie Hershey in an article for Indiana Public Media. She thinks the moderate coalition won't get much traction: “We seem to admire intense views, even if they don’t make an awful lot of sense. Given that, it’s hard to be an intense moderate.” In the same article Indiana Legislative Insight editor Ed Feigenbaum, says Congress's 10 percent approval rating will inspire a movement toward the center, and "the folks in the center will become a little bit more important to the whole process." He thinks Donnelly could become important swing courted by both sides.

Donnelly Sworn In as Senator

Here is video of Joe Donnelly being sworn in as US Senator by Vice President Biden. Donnelly was ceremonially accompanied by former senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Legislators Explain Their Fiscal Cliff Vote

The Indianapolis Star published a set of comments from Indiana legislators explaining their vote on the "fiscal cliff; you can view it here. A couple highlights are below.

Rep. (now Senator) Joe Donnelly:"I voted for the bipartisan, Senate-passed compromise because it preserves low tax rates for 98% of families and 97% of small businesses. It is far from perfect, as I would have preferred to keep low rates for everyone for one year while our economy continues to recover, but the American people deserve a Congress that is willing to compromise to get things done.”

Rep. Todd Rokita said: “I opposed this bill because we have a spending problem, and the deal sent over by the Senate makes it worse. I will not consign our children to a debtors’ prison just to block President Obama’s tax hikes." (Does anyone understand what he is talking about here? Surely he can't be implying that the automatic cancellation of the Bush tax cuts were creations of President Obama.)

In an interview with WLFI Rokita places the blame for the national debt squarely on Medicaid and Social Security:

But Rokita said the real fiscal cliff is the impending financial issues with programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that will drive our country into a $100 trillion debt during the next 50 years.

"That's all being driven by the fact that 10,000 people a day are retiring into programs whether its Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security and that's driving 62 percent of our federal spending and causing us to have to borrow all of this money," Rokita explained.

So will Rep. Rokita have any interest in cutting defense spending, closing tax loopholes, or any other steps aside from depriving middle class and less fortunate citizens of the benefits of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

President on Tax Payer Relief Act

Here is President Obama explaining the gains made in the Tax Payer Relief Act passed last night.