Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some Republican Legislators Look Iffy on the Pence Agenda

After a day's delay for the snowstorm, the Indiana General Assembly got underway today. The J&C interviewed some local legislators about some of the major issues that are part of the Governor's agenda for this session. HJR-6, the constitutional amendment that declares "Only a marriage between (1) one man and (1) one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana," gets most of the attention, which largely revolves around Republicans hedging their bets.

The strongest favorable argument presented (by Rep. Tim Brown of Crawfordsville and Sen. Brandt Hershman) was "letting the people decide" through the referendum that would occur if the amendment passes both houses for a second time. Randy Truitt of West Lafayette and Sharon Negele of Attica voice concern about the amendment's second sentence: "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." They note that this provision potentially conflicts with the same sex partnership benefits provided by many Indiana institutions (like Purdue) and companies. Sheila Klinker, who has opposed HJR-6 all along, also notes that discrepancy.

The other two issues covered are pre-K vouchers and the Governor's proposed elimination of business personal property taxes. The tax change is difficult because already strained local governments have relied on its revenues, and, as Republican Tim Brown puts it "it’s hard to say to a county that has its budget in place that we’re going to pull the rug out from under them." Likewise, the expense of pre-K vouchers would be a stretch in current economic conditions; Klinker and Brown expect funding would be limited.

Looks Gov. Pence's agenda might be an uphill push. Stay tuned. Read the J&C article here.