THE NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Following up on recent issues

Here are updates on some issues we have addressed in past news-sentinel.com editorials:

SHOULD ATTORNEY GENERAL STEP DOWN?

A confidential internal legislative memo was leaked to the media, documenting testimony from a state representative and several legislative employees who said Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill inappropriately touched them at a party at an Indianapolis bar in March.

Some of the six women were interviewed by GOP Senate President Pro-Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and others. Long and Gov. Eric Holcomb then called on Hill to resign. Hill rejected the calls for his resignation and denied the accusation.

We said in July the proper procedure should be an independent investigation, rather than demanding Hill’s resignation in a rush to judgment.

Following two investigations, Special Prosecutor Dan Sigler of Adams County announced Tuesday that while Hill did touch four women inappropriately, he will not file criminal charges against him, because his conduct did not rise to a criminal level. Four accusers said Tuesday they have taken initial steps to sue Hill.

Hill’s defense attorney claims the prosecutor’s findings “exonerated and absolved” Hill “of any factual and legal criminal behavior.” But we now have to agree with Gov. Holcomb and Sen. Long who said this week that Hill’s conduct was unacceptable, unbecoming of Indiana’s chief law enforcement official and that because of the state’s zero tolerance policy for harassment, Hill should resign.

STATE APPEALS ABORTION CLINIC RECOMMENDATION

The Indiana State Department of Health announced early this month that it is appealing an administrative law judge’s recommendation that a proposed abortion clinic be allowed to open in South Bend.

In November, we supported Indiana Right to Life’s opposition to the application for a license from Whole Woman’s Health Alliance of Austin, Texas, which then appealed the health department’s ensuing rejection of its application because the nonprofit failed to meet requirements of having “reputable and responsible character,” and that it didn’t disclose necessary information on its application.

In September, Judge Clare Deitchman recommended that the Texas group be granted the license, saying the health department failed to show the application was “incomplete or inaccurate.”

The health department said an appeals panel consisting of two members of its executive board and an administrative law judge will hear the matter at an undetermined date.

South Bend, like Fort Wayne, has been without an abortion clinic since 2015 after the state revoked Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s license amid allegations he violated state laws and regulations.

We continue to support the legal due diligence of the Legislature and state health department, and the determination of state pro-life groups in trying to prevent the killing of unborn babies in Indiana.

CONGRESS BACKS SMITH FIELD AIRMAIL MUSEUM

Last month we wrote that we support converting Hangar 2 at Smith Field into the National Airmail Museum. After Congressman Jim Banks and Senators Todd Young and Joe Donnelly introduced bills to endorse the project, we encouraged our national legislators to vote to endorse the museum in Fort Wayne.

Since then, Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration bill that included the airmail museum, and the Senate voted last week in favor of the bill.

Bob Wearley, president of Friends of Smith Field Inc., that sponsors nationalairmailmuseum.org, says congressional backing is a big step toward building public support for the project.

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