Thursday, September 17, 2015

Will Pence's Weak Polling Cause Republicans to Support Expanding Civil Rights in Indiana?

Indiana political analyst Brian Howey thinks Mike Pence is in trouble: "Multiple informed and reliable sources, citing at least three recent polling sources including internal Pence campaign survey data, are telling Howey Politics Indiana that Pence’s statewide reelect numbers are 'in the low 30%' range. His favorable/unfavorables are 'upside down.'" Because of this position, Howey says that some Republicans are "attempting to forge a deal that would add sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights code that would address employment and housing concerns, with exemptions extending to hospitals and religious institutions." Will enough of the supermajority buy in to make it possible? Will the zealot governor sign on? Read more at Howey Politics here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Klinker Calls for an Indiana Hate Crimes Bill

Sheila Klinker says it's high time Indiana had a hate crime bill. Since, as she puts it, "Indiana has sort of been at the forefront of maybe not taking care of discrimination issues as we should have,” she thinks a hate crime bill "would clear a lot of that mystery that still is there about treating all people decently.” Indiana is one of only five states that don't have a hate crimes bill.

In the last session a comparable bill never got a hearing. Sheila thinks the fallout from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act may have changed the environment: “With the ramifications of last year’s session, and some of the things that were happening statewide, I think probably there will be some Republicans that will be willing to look at this bill this year.” Shiela says she'd be pleased to co-sponsor a hate crimes bill. Read more here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Purdue Dean Co-Chairs Teaching Commission with Ritz

Superintendent Glenda Ritz appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators. The commission's 49-members will include educators, key stakeholders and legislators and will develop strategies to help recruit and retain excellent educators throughout the state. The dean of Purdue's College of Education, Maryann Santos de Barona will serve as co-chair with Ritz. She voiced concerns about the current state of the teaching profession in Indiana.

Indiana has seen an 18 percent drop in the number of initial teacher li­censes issued over the past five years, and schools of education have experienced declining enrollments. Read more about the commission here.

Freedom Indiana Will Campaign for Statewide LGBT Nondiscrimination

Freedom Indiana, the statewide grassroots organization that successfully fought a constitutional marriage amendment and sounded the alarm on the economically devastating Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), today launched a campaign to update existing laws against discrimination to include gay and transgender Hoosiers. “The fallout from RFRA harmed our state’s reputation, but it also drew attention to the fact that you can be fired, denied housing or declined service in most places in Indiana if you are gay or transgender,” spokesman Chris Paulsen said. The groups's goal is to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's civil rights code that already contains protections based on race, gender, veteran status and religion. “It’s an easy solution: four words and a comma,” says Paulsen. Read more here.