Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why You Need to Vote: Getting Hoosiers to Participate in Democracy

Indiana has the nation's third lowest voter participation. Surely, that is a record both Democrats and Republicans can deplore, but Indiana's Republicans are hell-bent on protecting us from non-existing voter fraud by making it harder to vote. Democrats' candidate for Secretary of State Beth White wants to address that problem in commonsense ways. For example, Indiana is one of only three states that close their polls as early as 6 p.m. White concedes that it would cost a bit more to keep polling places open later, but she thinks that is not as important the increased participation from extended hours. She also notes that other states have used nonpartisan commissions to create more competitive districts and increase voter turnout. Having a Secretary of State who cares about voter participation and runs the state's elections accordingly could make a real difference!

Read more about Beth White's position on voter participation here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Why You Need to Vote: Taking Domestic Violence Seriously

Governor Pence took funds budgeted for domestic violence programs by the legislature and put them back into the state's general fund to "save money." Only when the Ray Rice video began to draw attention to the issue did Pence's presidential ambitions inspire him to gradually replace the domestic violence funds. Even though Pence's withdrawing the budgeted domestic violence funds was counter to the will of the legislature, the Republican supermajority wasn't about to fight him on it. Now that the Governor is beginning to dole out some of the earmarked funds, his team is promoting the idea that domestic violence will by 35 percent higher than last year: “At Gov. (Mike) Pence’s direction, applications for these funds will be expedited so they can be made available to shelters as soon as possible,” said Mary Allen, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The Governor taketh away, the Governor giveth back if there is political advantage to be had. We need to weaken the Republican supermajority so that, even if still in the minority, Democrats can resist Pence's cynical actions and provide consistent protection of Indiana's women against abusers.

Read more about Pence's defunding/funding of domestic violence programs here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bayh Won't Run for Governor--For Sure!

Last Friday Evan Bayh's position on running for Indiana governor in 2016 went from "highly unlikely" to "definitely not." Here's an excerpt from his statement:
“Over the years I've been asked whether I would seek the governorship again. The inquiries and encouragement have accelerated in recent months regarding a possible candidacy in 2016. After serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for governor in 2016. I hope that my decision will enable others to step forward and offer their ideas for making Indiana an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
You can read more about Bayh's decision here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Is Indiana Spending to Defend the Gay Marriage Ban?

State Democratic chairman John Zody has submitted a public records request asking state Attorney General Greg Zoeller for information about how much the of the state's tax dollars are being spent to defend the ban on same sex marriage in the courts. At a time when funding is being cut for state agencies, Zody argues, it seems questionable "to keep fighting on an issue that we are seeing nationwide is becoming less of an issue.” Read more about Zody's request here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Court of Appeals Rules Against Indiana's and Wisconsin's Gay Marriage Bans

Today the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana; the three-judge panel was unanimous in their ruling. Judge Richard Posner, a Republican appointee, called the states' arguments in defense of the bans "totally implausible." The outspoken judge continued
"Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure."
Undeterred, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he will seek a suspension of the appeals court ruling pending a quick decision from the Supreme Court. This despite the fact that more than 30 courts have ruled in favor of gay marriage since the Supreme Court gutted the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.