Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Republicans Will Spend Millions to Repair the Damage Done by RFRA

The Senate's budget guru, Luke Kenley says the Senate's Appropriations Committee will add $2 million to the budget to help repair the damage done to Indiana's reputation by the RFRA fiasco. Half of it will go to tourism funding and the other half will go to an entrepreneurial program called Launch Indiana. Read more here.

Meanwhile Gov. Pence has declared the RFRA matter officially behind us and that the state is ready to move on. And he also has announced that his administration had hired a public relations firm to strengthen Indiana's brand as a “welcoming place to live, visit and do business.” Read more here.

Too bad no Republican thought about the possible outcomes of RFRA before they passed it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Poll Shows RFRA Damaged Pence

A new poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign shows that Gov. Pence has been politically damaged by the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 75 percent of likely voters said the controversy was bad for Indiana business; independent voters felt the fight was damaging by 72-12 and Republicans agreed by a margin of 64-13. 53 percent of voters said the RFRA fight gave them a less favorable impression of Pence while 38 percent say it left a more favorable impression. Best of all, the poll shows Pence in a 47-47 tie with Democrat John Gregg! Read more about the poll at IndyPolitics.org.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Committee Passes Bill to Deny Superintendent the Chair of State Board of Education

With the RFRA fiasco behind them, the Republican supermajority is ready to get back undermining Superintendent Glenda Ritz wherever and whenever possible. Now the House Education Committee has passed a bill that would deny the Superintendent the automatic role of chair of the State Board of Education, thus further diluting the power of her office. The Chicago Tribune notes that this agenda dates back to to former Superintendent Tony Bennett's defeat by Ritz:
Many programs at the epicenter of these arguments were championed by former Superintendent Tony Bennett, who Ritz unseated after receiving more supporting votes than Gov. Pence. "The voters had made it clear that they did not agree with Superintendent Bennett," said Vic Smith, of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. "According to this bill, the voters are wrong."
Read more from the tribune here.