Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dem Stalling Kills Bills

As a constituent, I'm speechlessly angry over stalling by Indiana House Democrats which killed most key legislation coming out of the Indiana House Tuesday night. Representatives were under tight deadlines to pass bills out of one chamber to the next at the session's halfway point. With a tremendous amount of house business to be conducted, Senate Minority leader Bauer kept his party out of their seats and the House adjourned before midnight with no quorum. Not only was HB 1034 killed, but also many other key pieces of legislation including the state funding component for a new Colts stadium. (Dem's opposed Gov Daniels appointing a commission to oversee how taxpayer dollars would be spent. Actually, they opposed Daniels appointing it instead of the legislature getting a chance to bog it down in partisan political issues.)

Old school lawmakers in the Indiana legislature don't see it yet, but change is coming. It's emotional and difficult and some may fight it kicking and screaming, but it is coming. The old boy networks and ridiculous partisan infighting does nothing to benefit constituents, and as more people become politically aware and educated (and as more young people become politically involved), many lawmakers will find that their districts are significantly less patient partisan infighting. Indianapolis is in the elite 10% of American cities with a growing population in the 24-40 age range, a rare thing in American population migration. And while this influx of young professionals may be something many take for granted, it's also a key shift that over the next five years may catch some lawmakers off guard.

So, hide behind inaction and delay and cite representation as a cause. But be ready in the next election cycle to explain to district residents how partisan manipulation is better than action. Your audience is more savvy than they used to be and also less patient.


At Wed Mar 02, 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Presumably you were this angry when the House Republicans threw a tantrum last session because they were so desperately afraid of homosexual marriages?

My sensibilities tend toward the libertarian, so I'm generally pleased when a bunch of legislation dies. I would be interested to know what sort of offers and counteroffers were exchanged between the House Rs and the House Ds. I assume that, somewhere in the 130 dead bills, there were some that everyone agreed on. Presumably a deal could have been worked out to pass the no-brainers. But, being a new majority, the Republicans probably wanted to flex their muscles and wouldn't let the Democrats dictate to them in that fashion.

So, 1) there is probably blame to cast on both sides; 2) the Dems are doing this year what the Republicans did last year; and 3) big deal -- Hoosiers certainly aren't suffering from a lack of laws.

At Wed Mar 02, 12:04:00 PM, Anonymous braingirl said...

Yes, I was this angry when the R's did this over the gay marriage bill (I still think it's the most ridiculous waste of time as I think most abortion legislation is). But most stupidly was the Bauer refused to deal. He was pissed about getting steamrolled; pissed about the governor wanting to appoint a commission to oversee the Colts funding and wouldn't take the offer for the legislature to appoint people also. Gossip I'm hearing is that some D's are wanting to stall Daniels because of what they perceive as his "power grab" and what everyone else perceives as his desire to just get something accomplished for a change. Bauer refused the deal. That's what makes me most angry. A man who thinks he can make decisions for rest of the caucus refused to compromise. If I was a democratic representative, I probably wouldn't have been down on the floor, but I would have been ready to go and very angry when Bauer called it off.

At Wed Mar 02, 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

I think we could agree that the Dems should get a new leader. I don't think Bauer helps them out much. At least John Gregg was fun to listen to back when he was the Speaker.

As far as Daniels' power-seeking tendencies are concerned, I think that the House Dems should have a little more faith in Senator Garton. While Garton and Daniels are from the same party, I don't see Garton letting Daniels preempt the legislature.


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