Thursday, November 28, 2013

Access Counselor Rules Citizens' Complaint Against Education Board Not Valid

After Glenda Ritz's suit against the state Board of Education was dismissed on the grounds that she lacked the legal authority to press it, a group of four citizens (including Ed Eiler) filed a complaint with the state's Public Access Counselor that echoed Ritz's suit. The complaint charged that the Board's crafting of a letter requesting that the Legislative Services office calculate school grades constituted a meeting held in secret in violation of the state's open door rules.

On Tuesday Public Access Counselor Luke Britt ruled that he could not "definitively" find a violation of the open door law; emailing doesn't count as participation in a gathering. But he warned that public agencies should avoid using email to take action: "Final decisions are meant to be open and transparent . . . The appearance of action taken which is hidden from public view is particularly damaging to the integrity of a public agency and contrary to the purposes of transparency and open access."

"In this instance the email exchange could be interpreted as a ratification of a final decision by vote,” Britt wrote. “I do not think it rises to that level but the perception of the public is of significant importance."

Read more from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Donnelly in Lafayette: Sorts Canned Goods, Donates Shutdown Salary Money to Food Bank, Supports Filibuster Change

From the Journal and Courier

Saturday, November 23, 2013

JFK's Visits to Lafayette Remembered

Purdue Senate Urges Defeat of Marriage Amendment

The Purdue University Senate has passed a resolution urging the defeat of House Joint Resolution 6 on the basis that it would be contrary to Purdue's equal opportunity policies and would be detrimental university recruitment of faculty and other employees. The resolution reads, “The Purdue University Senate opposes the Indiana State Constitutional amendment concerning marriage (HJR-6) and therefore strongly urges the Indiana General Assembly and the Governor of Indiana to oppose adoption of HJR-6.” Meanwhile, with leadership from President Jo Ann Gora, Ball State has aligned itself the Freedom Indiana coalition opposed to the amendment. Purdue administration has not yet taken a position on the amendment. Read more from the Purdue Senate vote J&C here.

Ritz Tours Storm-Damaged Local Schools

Glenda Ritz toured TSC schools damaged by last week's storms. Read more from the J&C here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indy Council Passes Resolution Opposing Same Sex Marriage Amendment

The Indianapolis city council has passed (22-6) a resolution urging state legislators to vote against the proposed constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Indiana. Indianapolis Republican mayor Greg Ballard supported the council's resolution, even going so far as to sign it before the Democrat-led council had voted on it. A statement by Ballard said
“I understand that many people hold differing views on this subject, but Indiana law already defines marriage, and I don’t see the overriding government interest in adding such an amendment to our state’s constitution. My hope is that we can continue to work ­together and focus on those things that make Indy a place where people want to live, work and raise a family.”
Read more from the Indy Star here.

Ritz Says Governor Attempting "Takeover" of Education

Glenda Ritz published a letter in the Indianapolis Star defending herself against charges that her dispute with the Board of Education is hurting Hoosier children and to make another point: "I want the public to know that I will work to ensure that our students will not be hurt by what appears to be an attempted takeover of the Department of Education by Gov. Mike Pence." She recounts the Governor's efforts to undermine her authority and to transfer it to unelected boards. Superintendent Ritz concludes
"I must not tolerate a power-grab of the Department of Education’s authority and ability to conduct business for Indiana students. Last November, Hoosier voters said very clearly that they want me to fight for public education in our state and to serve as a check and balance to the governor. It is now clear that Gov. Pence is not seeking a power-grab, but rather a complete takeover of education. That is the real threat to our children."
You can read Ritz's letter here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eiler and Others File Complaint Against Board of Education

Now that Judge Louis Rosenberg dismissed Superintendent Glenda Ritz's suit against the members of the state Board of Education, agreeing with Attorney General Greg Zoeller that Ritz does not have the authority to bring a suit an arm of state government, four private citizens have stepped into the breech and filed a complaint with the Public Access Counselor against the State Board of Education. They charge, as did Ritz, that the Board violated the state's open door law in privately drafting a letter to the House and Senate leaders requesting that school grades be calculated outside the Department of Education. One of the four is Ed Eiler, former superintendent of Lafayette Community Schools and a staunch opponent of the Tony Bennett school reforms. You can read more about this action from StateImpact here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Judge Will Decide If Ritz Can Bring Her Suit Against Education Board

Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg learned on Tuesday that Glenda Ritz had asked Attorney General Greg Zoeller to file her suit against the state's Board of Education and he declined to do so. And Zoeller says only the attorney general can bring a suit against the state government. So Ritz now argues that she should not be deprived of her right to sue and has only the recourse of use her own attorneys. Judge Rosenberg will render a judgment on whether she can do that as early as Friday. Read Jim Shella's coverage here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daniels in the 2012 Presidential Campaign

John Heilemann's and Mark Halperin's new book on the 2012 election, Double Down, apparently gives a good bit of attention to Mitch Daniels' role in the 2012 presidential election--not just in his decision not to run for president, but also in his active recruiting of other candidates to oppose Romney and personal distaste for his party's nominee. The author's cite Daniels referring to Romney as a "preprogrammed automaton" with a "plutocratic demeanor." The authors also cite a Fox News interview in which he was asked if he was waiting for a call from the Romney campaign regarding the vice presidency. Daniels responded, "Of course not. If I thought the call was coming, I would disconnect the phone." Ouch. Read more from the J&C here.