Argument breaks out over odd amendment

Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, answering questions from Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, about his amendment that would effectively kill natural resources legislation.

By Jasmine Otam

The Senate crushed an amendment about a state historic site Thursday.

House Bill 1246 deals with various natural resources matters and the debate intensified when Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, proposed an amendment to establish a First State Capital Commission that would employ five people at the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site.

Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, asked Waltz if he was aware of Senate President Pro Tem David Long’s letter, which stated that if the fiscal analysis declares that an issue has funding connected to it, the bill must be recommitted to either the tax or appropriations committee.

“This is not a new rule. In fact, this rule has been in place every single year that you have you have been a member of this body,” said Hershman.

Waltz said he was not aware of that letter.

“We receive lots of communication,” he said. “Thousands of documents over the course of any particular legislative session. So, asking me to recall one of them that would not be directly germane to my constitutional responsibilities, I think, might be a little unfair. But certainly, you can ask the question.”

“Are you currently aware that if your amendment passes, the next activity that will be required by that standing order from the President Pro Tempore would be that this bill will be immediately recommitted to one of the two fiscal committees, at which point we have run out of committee hearing opportunities, and you will not only kill your idea, you will kill the underlying bill as a result?” asked Hershman.

“Well, yes. Apparently the rules you’ve established, sir, would indeed do that,” responded Waltz, who does not represent the area that would be affected by the amendment.

“At this point knowing the impact and publicly making the author aware of the negative impact it will have, not only on the people, he supposedly intends to help, but on many other related issues in the bill, as well as violating a long standing rule regarding fiscal impacts in this body,” said Hershman, “I question the judgment entertained in authoring this.”

The amendment failed 1-44 with only Waltz voting for his amendment.