State courting a higher opinion
The delay everyone was expecting finally came last week when Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly said they will not take up a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage until 2014. Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, both said they wanted to see how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the issue this summer when it considers the legality of Californian’s similar constitutional amendment and the federal Defense of Marriage act that denies benefits to same-sex couples.
Most of the stories about the delay threw in a similar line about the reasoning – “wait to see how the Supreme Court will rule” – without speculating on what that ruling might be. Such analysis might be helpful since the court will affect our own efforts so much.
The pope who kept his word
Hey, what’s the deal here? Popes don’t resign! At least, they almost never do. Only four have quit in the last 1,000 years, the most recent more than 600 years ago in 1415. That was before America was discovered. It was before Gutenberg invented his printing press.
So unlikely was the possibility that hardly anybody even believed Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of his service when he said he would step down if his age or health ever prevented him from carrying out his duties. So when he actually did announce on Monday that he was stepping down on Feb. 28 due to health issues from old age, it was almost stunning.
It’s a sad commentary on the modern age when someone can shock us by merely keeping his word, isn’t it? Other popes have hung on to the bitter end despite being more and more incapacitate.
State can't win on Obamacare
If you want to be an informed voter on health care so you can decide whether Indiana should expand its Medicaid program for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as the federal government has been demanding, well, good luck with that.
A study by the actuarial firm Milliman Inc., produced at the request of then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, estimated that Medicaid expansion would cost the state an average of $140 million per year from 2014 to 2020. Heavens, we can’t afford that.
But hold on there. On Monday, the Indiana Hospital Association released a study saying the expansion would add $3.4 billion to the economy per year and support 30,000 jobs. How in the world can we pass on such a deal?
The truth, as is usually the case, is somewhere between those two extremes.
No booze on Sunday for us
Guess we’re not going to be buying any bottles of booze on Sundays anytime soon. The Sunday carry-out proposal got further than ever this year – a committee actually heard testimony on it – but in the end the influential package liquor store lobby prevailed again. House Public Policy Chairman Bill Davis, in announcing he was pulling the bill, said he had been against Sunday sales and had heard nothing new to change his mind.
The only winner is the package store lobby. Their members won’t have to stay open on Sundays to compete with grocery stores, increasing their overhead and labor costs. Drinkers will lose because choices they should have won’t be there. Retail outlets in border areas will lose business to neighboring states all have some form of Sunday package sales. Actually, so does every other state.
FWCS is not spending wisely
When Fort Wayne Community Schools board members sought the $119 million for school projects approved in a referendum last year, they promised they would be good stewards of that money. This week, we learned what an empty promise that was.
A FWCS committee had a choice to pay higher wages or lower wages for $24.7 million in construction projects, and its members chose higher by a 3-2 vote. Voting the other way could have cut from $3.6 million to $7.2 million from the cost, according to one estimate.
At issue is Indiana’s “common wage” law. The Indiana Court of Appeals has defined “common” for this purpose as “that which is customary, takes place daily, is widely used or is generally known.” The definition in FWCS, however, seems to be a little more specific: Always pay union wages.