Thumbs down: 'Right to Work' passes committee
Despite huge protests against union-busting legislation in
our Statehouse, Indiana House Republicans have moved forward on a so-called
"Right-to-Work" bill that would strip unions of their collective bargaining
power statewide. Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he doesn't want to touch it. Given
all the press swirling around Wisconsin, one would think the bill would seem
even more toxic now. Still, the bill passed committee Monday, and heads to the
House for a full vote, where a solid GOP majority waits and salivates.
Thumbs up: But wait!
Word trickling in from the Statehouse at publication time
indicated House Democrats were leaving the state to prevent a vote, just like
Democrats did in Wisconsin. The move came amidst a second consecutive day of
protests by union laborers, teachers, social justice advocates, clergy –
pretty much a cross-section of people with consciences (note no mention of
journalists). A report in The Indianapolis Star indicated Dems were bound for
parts unknown in Illinois and perhaps Kentucky. If the standoff continues,
there's no telling the extent to which this could muck up the GOP agenda. Oops.
Thumbs down: Then again...
But wait again! Several other bills on the conservative
agenda moved forward in one way or another this week, painting a bleak picture
for social legislation in Indiana. Among them were Arizona-style illegal
immigration reforms, proposals that would cut Planned Parenthood funding and
restrict abortions, and a same-sex marriage ban. We can't say we're surprised;
since Republicans gained a majority in both chambers, progressive Hoosiers have
rightfully dreaded what's to come. One can only hope that Democrats never come
home from out-of-state, or that GOP leaders decide to shit their focus back to
the issue that got them elected last year: job creation. At any rate, this
emotional roller coaster is killing us.
Thumbs up: Surviving while driving
One of the few sane decisions made in the Statehouse last
week, Indiana's Senate approved a ban on texting while driving, following the
House's example. Authored by Rep. Win Moses (D-Fort Wayne), the proposal aims
to extend the state's current restrictions, which only apply to motorists under
18. True, drivers may be inconvenienced by a law forbidding the typing, sending
and reading of texts. But it's clear this is a big win for road safety. And
considering how pockmarked with potholes our city streets are these days, we
really don't need any further distractions.