In the State of Indiana there has been a lot of focus on the current legislative session, due to some of the controversial issues that are being considered. It would appear, based on a listing of the bills being introduced by both houses, that none of the newly elected members are promoting the items that were a part of their campaign for election. The campaign promises of "smaller government," "less regulation," and "job creation" have long since been forgotten. Granted, many of the government services are being eliminated (which would purport the idea of "smaller government"), but the attempts to regulate and control continue to multiply. A perfect example of the "purported smaller government" is the downsizing and hours reduction of many of the local license branches. If you will remember, our governor was boasting about how his administration has streamlined the BMV and that wait time had been significantly reduced in the license branches. Of course, he made no mention that the "streamlining" would mandate doing business with the BMV by phone or computer via the internet, and that the "wait time" for doing business is substantially longer than it ever was in the local license branch. The attempt to modify the State Welfare System failed; it appears this administration never learns from their past mistakes.
Of major interest to everyone in the State should be the "Right to Work Bill" and the "Education Reform Bill." As I write this, it appears the the "Right to Work Bill" may be "dead" at least for this session; however, it is important to educate ourselves on the negative ramifications that this legislation could have if it is ever re-introduced. For the record, Indiana did -at one point in time- have a Right to Work Law, but it was repealed. Numerous studies have been done by proponents and opponents of the law, and of course, the studies are prejudicial and biased, depending on which party's study you are reading. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to determine exactly how it would negatively affect Indiana, because we are already an "at will" State (means you can be terminated from employment without just cause, unless you are covered under a collective bargaining agreement). New industries are not waiting in line to relocate here because they tend to avoid states where government regulation is cost prohibitive. So the negative ramifications will immediately affect those of us who live and work in this state.
The "Education Reform Bill" is another misguided attempt by the State to regulate local schools. Yes, there are many areas that need improvement; however, it is difficult to make those improvements when the funding is continually reduced, but requirements imposed by the State and Federal government are cost items with no provision for funding. Removing collective bargaining rights for employees and /or diverting public funds to Charter schools is not going to solve the problem. What may be easily learned by some students is difficult or impossible learning for others; yet the government seems to think that "special needs" students require no more consideration than other students.
Stay tuned for more…