Thumbs up/thumbs down


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.