MondayA lot of people have criticized the effort to put Indiana’s gay marriage ban into the state constitution, both because there is already a law with the same effect and because something about which public opinion is rapidly changing shouldn’t be made more permanent. It turns out that the marriage-ban effort is just one part of a growing and troubling trend of constitutionalizing issues that should be dealt with by the Indiana code.
Research done by DePauw University students Mickey Terlep and Leif Anderson shows the history of alterations to the state constitution. For many years after its 1851 adoption, amendments dealt with conforming to federal standards or altering the structure of government. But in recent years, they found lawmakers are increasingly using the constitution to write laws.
TuesdayCan there be a single person left who doubts that Washington is broken? The people we’ve elected to represent us have made the federal government too big and too intrusive. It has assumed control of our lives far greater than our Founders envisioned.
And they are not going to fix what is broken. They have a vested interest in the status quo. To give up the power it bestows would be unthinkable.
So we’re going to have to take it back.
The good news is that the movement to do that very thing, which Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long was instrumental in starting, is gaining momentum. It’s called the convention of states, or COS for short, and its goal is to get two-thirds of the states to call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments, a remedy set forth in Article V of the Constitution.
WednesdayWhat an interesting turn of events. In an unexpected move – “stunning” might even be appropriate – the Indiana House of Representatives voted 57-40 to approve a proposal to place the gay marriage ban into the state constitution, after stripping the sentence that would also have prohibited civil unions. Most observers though the General Assembly, with strong Republican majorities in both House and Senate, would easily pass the proposal whole.
Now the future of the proposed amendment is very much in doubt. If the Senate passes the original amendment, then House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled. The rest of the session might be a tad contentious, and not much else will get done. If the Senate approves the new House version, it will have the effect of putting the plebiscite on the question off for two years.
ThursdayThe Indiana House has approved and sent to the Senate a troublesome bill. Alas, the Senate seems likely to approve it, too, so a veto by Republican Gov. Mike Pence might be the only thing to save the state from a very poor piece of public policy. The veto option was taken by Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder when similar legislation hit his desk.
The bill would bar Indiana environmental regulators “from adopting a rule or standard that is more stringent than” corresponding federal rules or standards. State Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, sponsor of the measure, says it is aimed at curtailing future actions that could be costly to Indiana’s industries. “Political appointees come and go. And if we get somebody who is a very rabid environmentalist, the fact is, they just don’t pay any attention to the cost of things,” he said.