Monday, December 8, 2014

Attorney General Authorizes Governor to Hire Council to Sue the President

Governor Mike Pence seems to think that he can enhance his presidential cred by spending the state's tax dollars on another frivolous lawsuit, this one against the President of the United States for taking executive action on immigration. To have "standing" for such a suit he has to show that Indiana has been damaged by the President's action. Apparently, in Pence's view, Indiana was irreparably damaged by the the President's "circumventing" Congress in this action, thereby preventing Indiana from having a say in the matter through the votes of its representatives. Oddly, Attorney General Zoeller, who would typically execute the state's suits, is authorizing the Governor to hire outside council.

Local political blogger Doug Masson writes a post that questions the logic for "Gov. Pence to unilaterally bring suit against the President on behalf of Indiana while maintaining his ability to criticize the President for unilateral action on behalf of the United States." in a further irony, a commenter on the blog notes that Pence "criticized the President for circumventing the will of the people (Congress) on the same day that his hand-picked State Board of Education is trying to take out the elected Superintendent and, you know, circumvent the will of the voters."

Donnelly's Bill to Prevent Military Suicides Will Soon Be Enacted

Senator Joe Donnelly has proposed a bill to reduce the number of suicides among military personnel. Since 2001 there have been over 3,0000 suicides in the military, with the fastest rate of growth among National Guard members in the last five years. Donnelly's bill became part of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House last week and expected to be approved by the Senate before the end of the year. Read more about Donnelly's anti-suicide bill from WBAA here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pence Will Propose Legislation to Deny Ritz Leadership of Board of Education

Governor Mike Pence has launched a cynical ploy to strip the State Superintendent of Public Education (or rather that office's current incumbent, Democrat Glenda Ritz) of its traditional leadership of the State Board of Education, but in doing so he also announced the dissolution of the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI), a policy-making group that Pence invented to undermine Ritz's office. "I am aware of the controversy that has surrounded this center since its creation," Pence conceded. "Somebody has to take the first step to restore harmony and trust." And then the olive branch got blasted by his announcement that he would pursue legislation to let the Board appoint its own leader rather than the elected Superintendent. He framed it as an apolitical "good government" proposal: "It is time to take the politics out of education in Indiana – or at least out of the State Board of Education – and get back to the business of investing in our schools in ways that prepare our kids for the future that awaits them." Apparently "taking the politics out" consists of denying leadership of the Board to a popularly elected official and transferring all authority to a governor-appointed board.

Ritz's election represents what politics should be at its best. The people were dissatisfied with the educational policies of the Republicans and replaced Tony Bennett with Glenda Ritz to effect a change. Pence and the Republican supermajority have chosen to undermine the clear intent of voters to continue their policies by cynical ploys like this one.

You can read more about Gov.Pence's announcements here and http://thestatehousefile.com/pence-eliminate-divisive-education-agency-ask-lawmakers-remove-ritz-state-ed-board-chair/18495/.