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Breakdown of Senate Enrolled ACT 590

From Mike Delph:

SB 590: Illegal Immigration Matters (CCR 59003)

Section 1: Requires the office of management and budget to calculate an estimate of the total costs of illegal aliens to the state of Indiana and make a written request to the Congress of the United States to reimburse the state of Indiana for those costs.

Section 2: Prohibits a governmental body from enacting or implementing an ordinance, a resolution, a rule, or a policy that prohibits or in any way restricts another governmental body from taking certain actions with regard to information concerning the citizenship or immigration status of an individual.

Prohibits a governmental body from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.  Allows a person domiciled in Indiana to bring an action to compel a governmental body to comply with these provisions.  Requires the court, if certain conditions are met, to enjoin a governmental body from violating these provisions.

Requires every law enforcement agency to provide each law enforcement officer with a written notice that the law enforcement officer has a duty to cooperate with state and federal agencies and officials on matters pertaining to enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration. Provides that these provisions shall be enforced without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

Section 3: Prohibits a law enforcement agency or law enforcement officer from requesting verification of the citizenship or immigration status of an individual from federal immigration authorities if the individual has contact with the agency or officer only as a witness to or a victim of a crime or for purposes of reporting a crime.

Section 4 and 7: Requires a taxpayer to add back the amount of any deduction taken on a federal tax return for a business expense related to employing a person who is not permitted by federal law to be hired as an employee. Excludes payments made for services to a business that was enrolled and participated in the E-Verify program during the time the taxpayer conducted business in Indiana in the taxable year.

Section 5 and 6: Prohibits an economic development for a growing economy tax credit from being computed on any amount withheld from an individual or paid to an individual for services provided in Indiana as an employee, if the individual was, during the period of service, not permitted by federal law to be hired as an employee. Makes an exception for a business that was enrolled and participating in the EVerify program during the time the taxpayer conducted business in Indiana in the taxable year.

Section 8: Requires a criminal offender be evaluated regarding the his or her citizenship and immigration status.

Requires the Department of Correction to notify the United States Department of Homeland Security if an offender’s citizenship or immigration status cannot be verified and provide certain information upon request by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Section 9, 10, 11, and 12: Conforming changes for definitions.

Section 13: Requires a state agency or political subdivision to verify the eligibility of any individual who is at least 18 years old and applies for a state or local public benefit or federal public benefit. Makes certain exceptions for health care providers.

Establishes requirements for verification and maintaining verification records. Makes it a Class D felony for false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements regarding verification.

Requires the state board of accounts to adopt rules applicable to all political subdivisions to carry out these provisions.

Allows for certain variation on these requirements.

Provides that these provisions shall be enforced without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

Section 14: If an individual applies for unemployment compensation benefits and is not a citizen or national of the United States, requires the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to verify the status of the individual as a qualified alien through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program.

Section 15: Allows the DWD to file civil actions to obtain the reimbursement of amounts paid as unemployment insurance benefits from employers that knowingly employed unauthorized aliens.

Prohibits the DWD from filing an action if: (1) the employer employed the unauthorized alien before July 1, 2011; or (2) the employer used the E-Verify program to verify the eligibility of the individual who is determined to be an unauthorized alien.

Section 16: Requires a state agency or political subdivision to use the E-Verify program to verify the work eligibility status of employees hired after June 30, 2011.

Prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from entering into or renewing a public contract for services with a contractor unless: (1) the public contract contains provisions requiring a contractor to enroll in and verify the work eligibility status of newly hired employees through the E-Verify program; and (2) the contractor signs an affidavit affirming that the contractor does not knowingly employ unauthorized aliens.

Prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from awarding a grant of more than $1,000 to a business entity unless the business entity: (1) signs a sworn affidavit and provides documentation that the business entity has enrolled in and is participating in the E-Verify program; and (2) signs an affidavit affirming the business entity does not knowingly employ unauthorized aliens.

Allows a state agency or political subdivision to terminate a public contract for services if the contractor knowingly employs an unauthorized alien. Provides that if a state agency or political subdivision terminates a public contract for services, the contractor is liable to the state agency or political subdivision for actual damages.

Requires a subcontractor who is providing services for work a contractor is performing under a public contract for services to certify to the contractor that the subcontractor does not knowingly employ or contract with unauthorized aliens and has enrolled and is participating in the E-Verify program.

Section 17: Prohibits individuals who are at least 18 years of age from commencing day labor without completing an attestation required under federal law.

Requires a law enforcement officer or any other entity authorized to enforce the employment laws of Indiana that has probable cause to believe that an individual has not completed an attestation to submit a complaint in a form prescribed under federal regulations.

Section 18: Provides that a person who knowingly or intentionally offers, accepts, or records a consular identification as a valid form of identification for any purpose commits a Class C infraction. Establishes higher penalties for second and third or subsequent offenses.

Section 19: Makes a cross reference in the provisions that list the statutes outside of IC 34 that confer immunity to the immunity granted in the bail language.

Section 20: Allows a law enforcement officer to arrest a person when the officer has: (1) a removal order issued for the person by an immigration court; (2) a detainer or notice of action for the person issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security; or (3) probable cause to believe that the person has been indicted for or convicted of one or more aggravated felonies.

Section 21: Requires judicial officers in setting and accepting an amount of bail to consider that the defendant is a foreign national who is unlawfully present in the United States under federal immigration law as relevant to risk of nonappearance.

Section 22: Provides that if bail is set for a defendant who is a foreign national who is unlawfully present in the United States under federal immigration law, the defendant may only be released from custody by posting a: (1) cash bond in an amount equal to the bail; (2) real estate bond in which the net equity in the real estate is at least two times the amount of the bail; or (3) surety bond in the full amount that is written by a licensed and appointed agent of an insurer.

Provides that, if the defendant does not appear before the court as ordered because the defendant has been taken into custody or deported by a federal agency or arrested and incarcerated for another offense, a bond posted under this provision may not be declared forfeited by the court and the insurer that issued the bond is released from any liability regarding the defendant’s failure to appear.

Section 23: Establishes the crime of false identity statement and makes the crime a Class A misdemeanor. Establishes a defense.

Section 24: Makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person to knowingly or intentionally: (1) transport or move an alien; or (2) conceal, harbor or shield from detection an alien in any place; for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law. Makes it a Class D felony if a violation involved more than nine aliens. Establishes exceptions.

Requires a law enforcement officer to impound a motor vehicle that is used to commit certain crimes.

Section 25: Urges the legislative council to: (1) assign certain immigration topics to an existing study committee; and (2) urge the study committee to consult with the lieutenant governor on the topics.

Flexing of Hoosier Conservative Muscle

From Mike Delph:

Statehouse Democrats continue down the path of irrelevance as Conservatives act on the demands of constituents across the State of Indiana.  Conservatives pushed for and won an honestly balanced budget without a tax increase.  We lifted up the institution of marriage while shutting off the taxpayer faucet that flowed to the death camps better known as Planned Parenthood.  Founded by Eugenicist Margaret Sanger with the real goal of sterilization of most minority communities, liberals, African Americans especially, forget the history and bemoan the attack on the health care needs of the poor and underserved.

Senator Vi Simpson continues to shout about a “radical agenda” when her own leadership skills contradict her rhetoric.  Taking over the reins from Senator Young, Simpson quickly lost four traditional Democrat seats to Republican upstarts who campaigned on that same radical platform.  One could only hope that she continues her quixotic diatribe leading to a true Army of one outcome.  Conservatives pushed for parental accountability in the Education Reform package and got it.  Now parents, teachers, and students will all have defined expectations and be held accountable for not meeting them.  And yes we finally got Educational Choice!

Conservatives won a four year campaign calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration.  Hoosiers will now learn the true cost to taxpayers with a bill being sent to Washington, DC.  Companies that benefit somehow from government will be required to use the free online federal web tool known as E-Verify to screen new hires ensuring they are able to work and reside in America.  All government entities in Indiana will now be required to use E-Verify.  E-Verify alone makes SB 590 a victory, but there’s more.  Strong Sanctuary City language was passed allowing and empowering private citizens to file in court to compel a local community to comply with existing federal law.  Prosecutors will have more tools to help the crackdown.  Not only will they be able to impound vehicles from those that traffic human beings, but those that engage in false identification, fraud, and duplication will be held accountable.

Businesses will be held accountable by losing state contracts, tax breaks and benefits.  Law enforcement will be able to make arrests when they have a detainer or removal order against an illegal immigrant.  The rest of our law enforcement provisions will be sent to a Summer Study Committee for further review to debunk opposition demagoguery.  The Lieutenant Governor chairs our Counter Terrorism Task force which includes our State Homeland Security Director and Superintendent of State Police as well as members from local law enforcement.  All would provide information to this Summer Study Committee with the end goal of trying to come up with some type of State policy with Federal ICE officers on the enforcement of existing law.  The reality on the ground is that cops deal with this issue daily.  When they are told to release unlawful immigrants it siphons off morale.  Plus, each community is treated differently by ICE resulting in disparate treatment depending on the community and the circumstance.  I personally believe this inconsistency feeds the racial profiling myth.

Verification of citizenship will be required for any and all public benefits as well.  So at the end of the day, the only component we could not get in SB 590 was the English Only provisions which passed out of the Senate and House in different forms.  However, at the end of the session it was deemed too risky to pursue and ultimately became the last issue taken off the table to give us Senate Enrolled ACT 590.

Credit for ALL of these victories goes to many conservatives in both Chambers.  The make-up has forced more conservative decision making and leadership.  Liberals may call this radical as their numbers vanish in the wind.  But at the end of the day, Conservatives got it done even while taxpayers funded a 5 week vacation for House Democrats in Urbana, Illinois.

A BLOW to Wind Farms

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This editorial was published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Sunday, May 1.  The author is obviously pro-wind, and is highly critical of Whitley County and WCCS.  She mentions near the end of her article that ‘Whitley County should look at the wind ordinance developed by Benton County’.  See Benton County’s wind ordinance HERE.  It provides for only a 1000-foot setback from residences outside a platted community…perhaps the author should ask the folks in DeKalb, Illinois if that’s enough space.

UPDATE:  Terry Smith sent a response to Tracy Warner, editor of the JG:

Mr. Tracy Warner:

There are always two sides to every story.  Stacey Stumpf wrote the pro-wind side of the windmill story as published this past Sunday on Page A13.

I encourage you to send her to a windmill farm and spend 24 hours in a house situated 1400 feet from a wind turbine.  This could be arranged at a windmill farm in Illinois at no expense to The JG or her except she would have to make her own travel arrangements.

Please advise if this is the type of investigatory journalism you guys still do at The JG.

Terry L. Smith


From the Journal-Gazette:

State policies lack incentive for alternative energy

Just as some Whitley County residents have made it clear they don’t want a wind farm in their area, Indiana lawmakers are making it clear they couldn’t care less about wind power.

Escalating costs and detrimental environmental effects of reliance on fossil fuels are impelling more states to adopt policies mandating increased use of renewable energy resources. But state legislation passed last week and some local opposition could be sending the message that future wind power investment is unwelcome in Indiana – despite the strong winds, dependable electricity infrastructure and abundant agricultural land that make wind energy a natural fit for the state.

“This shows the state isn’t putting out the welcome mat to renewable energy investment,” said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Bad law

Senate Bill 251, authored by Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, sets the goal of getting 10 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.

“It’s basically meaningless,” Kharbanda said. “It does nothing to tap into the economic development opportunities of renewables. If anything, it makes the terrain more difficult to traverse.”

Four out of the five utilities operating in Indiana are believed to have already met the majority of the law’s goals or will soon after already-planned energy projects are completed.

Indiana is one of just seven states with voluntary renewable energy standards (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency interchangeably refers to such state policies as Renewable Portfolio Standards). Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have mandatory renewable energy standards. And most of the mandatory standards are more aggressive than Indiana’s measly voluntary goals.

“Those requirements have been a driver for wind development in the 29 states that have them,” said Brad Lystra of the American Wind Energy Association. He diplomatically describes Indiana’s new renewable energy standard as “a good first step in the right direction.”

A 2008 study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that 70 percent of the investment into renewable energy goes to states with mandatory requirements.

There are other significant problems with the new law. One of the most troubling is just what many state legislators are willing to consider a renewable energy source. Under SB 251, nuclear, methane and coal gasification are all considered renewable energy sources.

But coal – despite its relative abundance and accessibility in southern Indiana – is a fossil fuel and is not by any stretch of even the most impressive imagination a renewable resource, despite its abundant supply. About 95 percent of Indiana’s electricity currently comes from coal-fired power plants.

Another element of the bill that should cause apprehension for any true conservative is that it grants eminent domain authority for private companies to acquire land for carbon dioxide pipelines. Eminent domain is a power that should be limited – very limited – for governments to use only after proving the absolute necessity of taking private property.

Opponents to the legislation also think it unfairly allows utility companies to shift the costs of investing in energy projects onto ratepayers.

Read the rest at the Journal-Gazette.

Indiana House OKs Historic Pro-Life Bill

From Indiana Right-To-Life:

April 27, 2011

Historic pro-life life legislation moved one step closer to becoming law today as the Indiana House formally concurred on House Bill 1210, sending the bill to Governor Mitch Daniels. The provisions contained in the bill will amount to the most substantial block of pro-life legislation passed in Indiana since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.

House Bill 1210 contains provisions to end all state-directed funding for businesses that do abortions, to protect pain-capable unborn children beginning at 20 weeks, to opt-out of abortion coverage in any state health exchanges required under the new federal health law, to require that women considering abortion be given full, factual information in writing, and to require doctors who do abortions, or their designees, to maintain local hospital admitting privileges in order to streamline access to emergency care for women injured by abortion.

“This legislation places Indiana on the vanguard of efforts to protect the unborn, to deny public funds to businesses that profit from abortion, and to ensure that women considering abortion have full and factual information about such issues as fetal development and alternatives to abortion,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “We applaud Republican leadership in the House and Senate for its decisive action and will urge Governor Daniels to waste no time in signing these important provisions into law.”

Democrat Walkout 100% Funded by Unions

From Angry White Boy:

Indiana Democrat Party Received $139,000 from Unions During Walkout

The most recent campaign finance filing by the Indiana Democrat Party shows what we knew all along: special interest unions footed the entire bill for House Democrats’ thirty-six day self-imposed exile.

Spokespeople for the Indiana Democrat Party, including Chairman Dan Parker, repeatedly refused to answer media questions regarding the source of contributions to the committee during the walkout.Now, according to public filings we know the truth.  The entire $84,953.70 hotel bill at the Comfort Suites Urbana was paid for unions – many of them out-of-state – that contributed a whopping $139,000 during the five-week walkout.

“What were Democrats hiding from?  The truth,” said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb.  “The proof is now in writing.  Democrats were not only fighting for narrow special interests, but were also bankrolled by those same entities.  Their walkout wasn’t focused on helping Hoosiers.  Their walkout was focused on keeping the status quo.”

The relevant pages of the finance filing are accessible here.

Fast Facts
• Contributions from Unions During Walkout: $139,000
• Contributions from Out-of-State Unions During Walkout:  $112,000
• Percentage of Contributions from Out-of-State Unions During Walkout:  80
• Percentage of Total Contributions from Unions During First Quarter: 42
• Hotel Bill at Comfort Suites Urbana: $84,953.70

WCP Responds to Full-Page Attack Ad on Jim Banks

This Letter to the Editor is being submitted to local newspapers in response to the full-page attack ad on Jim Banks, published March 29, 2011 in the Post and Mail.

To:  Editor

From:  Whitley County Patriots

Dear Editor:

A March 9 article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel by State Senator Jim Banks, District 17, entitled “Breaking teachers unions does not mean unfair teacher evaluations” prompted what amounts to a March 29 attack ad in the Columbia City Post & Mail.  “State Senator Banks, Stop Listening to the Wrong People!” was “Paid for by Whitley County Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  Sponsored by Whitley County Democrat Central Committee, Marty Shipman, Treasurer.”

There are issues that should be clarified within this ad.  Rational and intelligent discourse from numerous schools of thought expands understanding and raises awareness.  Senator Banks was addressing concerns about education and labor expressed in thousands of letters and messages received by Indiana legislators from teachers, principals and superintendents.  Education is one of the few mandated services required by the Indiana State Constitution.  Based upon the length of the senator’s column and the many thoughts he penned, his concerns and support regarding educators and education should be obvious.

Boldface notations are inserted in the side margins of the WCDCC ad.  One mentions Dr. Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor.  His discussion referred to by Jim Banks was written in the 1980s.

Another notation cites The Reason Foundation which is based upon the principles of liberty and freedom for all.  Ideas and concepts are precursors to change, sometimes feared, but which often can result in improvement.  How else to get there other than by listening to speakers from various schools of thought?  Schools.  Thought.  Words to keep in mind when discussing improvement to our children’s education.

Third note:  Dr. Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus of Law at Notre Dame, was co-founder of Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan and was “fired” when he would not agree with moving the school to Florida.

The final boldface marginal note highlights “Rasmussen Reports” and concerns across America about public schools having become worse over the past decade.  If a poll indicates a possible trend, should that not be a wake-up call?  Shouldn’t the truth be sought rather than letting emotions rule over reason?  The WCDCC ad focuses on negatives, not upon the future or solutions to the union issues and their costs.

Recent figures indicate 98.2% of Indiana teachers are unionized although joining now is optional.  Most educators work hard with dedication and commitment to shaping future generations.  Unions should not, however, protect those who would abuse the system — any system.  The “rubber rooms” in New York where hundreds of incompetent teachers spend their days “not fired” while drawing full pay is an example of the absurd.  No one disputes rewarding exemplary teachers, but many question the reason for involvement of unaccountable financially interested private operations, i.e. unions.

Visualize the swing of a pendulum, if you will.  There was a point when it was far to the left, with inadequate wages and dismal, unsafe working conditions.  Unions with proper goals for the people did help swing the pendulum back to the center.  With increasing power and politicizing of unions over the last few decades, the pendulum has swung too far the other way where excessive wages, benefits and lower production levels are demanded.  Businesses are forced to raise the cost of products, and in many cases move or outsource jobs to foreign countries in order to compete.  Our nation is hurt economically and we find ourselves in a predicament where changes must be made to bring the pendulum back to center.

WCDCC infers that Senator Banks wrote that teachers had failed.  His reference is actually to “a dynamic” that attracts “the mediocre and the misplaced” as he discussed concerns expressed in “letters on my desk” about Indiana’s educational system, union involvement and expense.  His intention to empower individual schools and local leadership, and seek reform for the betterment of education in Indiana is honorable. As he said, “We have only begun to summon the courage to dip so much as a toe in the waters of reform.”  Well said by
the conservative Constitutionally aware freshman senator from Whitley County.

Whitley County Patriots, Inc.
Please visit us at www.whitleycountypatriots.org

Indiana Dems Gained Little From Standoff

From National Review:

After a 36-day stay in Illinois, Indiana House Democrats came back tonight.  And while they’re touting certain compromises the GOP made as proof that their standoff was successful, it’s not so clear they won much more than would have been achieved if they had never left the state.

“The only real concession is the right-to-work bill is dead,” says Mike O’Brien, a blogger at Capitol & Washington and a former legislative director for Gov. Mitch Daniels. “But that bill was declared dead 24 hours after the walkout began. The cap on vouchers, the limits on project labor agreements — those were all in play before the walkout began.”

“What Democrats did today is they took a bunch of compromises that were already in progress before the walkout and declared them the reason that the walkout ended,” O’Brien adds.

What might have swayed the Democrats return home: public opinion was against them.  A poll released last week by the Indiana Republican party found that 66 percent of voters disapproved of the Democrats’ flight to Illinois.

Taxpayers may also have not been thrilled about the cost of the Democrats’ absence. Republican House speaker Brian Bosma estimated that the Democrats’ flight had cost taxpayers nearly $500,000, when lost time and salaries were taken into account.

In a statement, Indiana GOP party chair Eric Holcomb said that Indiana House Democrats now “need to stay.”

“Valuable time has already been lost on crucial legislative items important to Hoosier taxpayers and families,” Holcomb said.

Democratic minority leader Pat Bauer said in a statement that “the principled stand by House Democrats forced concessions by the House Republicans.”

O’Brien sees it differently. “At the end of this day,” he observes, “it cost taxpayers a heck of a lot of money and it lost time, but it didn’t cost Republicans anything in terms of a policy standpoint. The agenda is still the agenda.”

We Should Have Broken the Union

EDITOR’S NOTE: An excerpt and link to this article has been previously published on this website.  Due to recent events, the entire article (including sources) is reposted here.

From the Indiana Policy Review

By State Senator Jim Banks

Indiana legislators have received thousands of letters and email messages from concerned teachers, principals and superintendents. Many are politically generated by special-interest groups. Most, though, are from dedicated educators whose passion for the classroom is made clear in every word.

Yet, I disagree with almost all of their conclusions.

As a new member of the legislature, it surprises me so many of these writers, some personal friends, believe I would leave them vulnerable to an unfair evaluation system developed and managed by state bureaucrats.

I am working every day to keep that from happening.

Many express a fear that I would “break” the teachers union and end mandatory public-sector collective bargaining.

Yes, that’s exactly what I would do, what we should have done. There’s no good reason for public-sector unions to exist — for teachers or for students.

“There never was a ‘labor problem’ in government for unions to solve,” writes Dr. Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor. “Government has always been a model — read generous — employer, lavishing good pay, the eight-hour day, fringe benefits and civil-service protections on its own.”

The unions support a dynamic that drives our best teachers out of the classroom while attracting the mediocre and the misplaced. They push up costs by increasing staffing levels. They oppose the use of budget-saving volunteers. They create a bureaucratic and inefficient workplace, discouraging bold innovation.

Again, the letters on my desk, heartfelt and sincere, offer no good reason for teachers unions to exist.

Educators in a dozen other states go to class every day without any collective bargaining whatsoever. Twenty-two states have “right-to-work” laws that free workers from being forced to join a union or pay union dues.

Some argue that Indiana is being outpaced by those states.

“Unionism seems to coincide with poor state government management,” argues Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute. “States with higher public-sector union shares tend to have higher levels of government debt. And the states with higher union shares do more poorly on grading by the Pew Center regarding the quality of public-sector management.”

The laws of economics cannot be suspended by decree. What some of my letter writers think of as their “rights” inevitably translate into fewer opportunities, lower pay, less job security and certainly less freedom for all teachers, especially the accomplished.

For taxpayers, collective bargaining adds an estimated eight percent to the cost of state government. And there are other apposite bits of information missing from the public discussion.

First, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 establishing a “right” to collective bargaining does not apply to teachers or any other workers in the public sector. There are so many legal, political and economic differences between public-sector unions and the private-sector model they shouldn’t be called “unions” at all.

And please know that Indiana’s Collective Bargaining Act was a political compromise, not an assertion of constitutional right. It was passed into law only a generation ago with the blessing of a Republican governor in exchange for property-tax reforms. Former Lt. Gov. John Mutz, then a state senator, played a key role in that decision. He now says it was one of the worst mistakes of his career.

The property-tax reforms were subsequently undermined but collective bargaining lived on. Its unintended consequences mount. Its disincentives are reaffirmed each session by Democrats and Republicans alike. We created a professional class of politician dependent on the teachers union, actively or passively, for their Statehouse employment.

Which brings me to my core objection. No, it is not because Indiana government is under financial stress. Indeed, I agree with the protesters that teachers should not be singled out in balancing a state budget.

Nor could I name a state superintendent who could command teachers to do a better job or do it more efficiently. Nor would I withhold full reward from those who now do it so successfully.

I object because public-sector unions corrupt our state government and the democratic process.

The Indiana State Teachers Union is allowed to use its statutory privilege as a political machine. It controls the full range of policy debate in Indianapolis. We would abide such power in no other privately controlled organization.

Dr. Charlie Rice, former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, explains why:

“Mandatory collective bargaining for any employees of government involves multiple distortions of sound policy and practice. It confers on an unaccountable financially interested private entity — the certified union — a portion of the lawmaking authority of the state. In the process, the interests of the public employees are subordinate to the interests of a privileged union. This is compounded when the bargaining unit is the public school and the ‘products’ of the enterprise are not nuts and bolts but vulnerable school children.”

The writers of the letters on my desk should know that none of this necessarily means lowering education standards or even providing less money for public education — not a single dime less.

Rather, it means recognizing that no coherent rationale for public-sector bargaining has ever been offered.

It means allowing workers to freely choose whether they want to belong to a union and pay its dues as their sole bargaining agent.

It means moving the decision-making process away from the Statehouse or even the superintendent’s office and toward principals and teachers deciding what is best in their particular school buildings.

Last week, a legislative study group heard Lisa Snell of Reason Foundation explain how all that is happening in Louisiana under Gov. Bobby Jindal. There, school funding can be attached to the student and not the administrative district. Individual teachers and principals are thereby freed to design curriculum to fit the needs of students. Such true systemic reform is happening throughout the nation.

I must tell you, though, it is not happening enough in Indiana — even under measures proposed this session by my own political party.  We have only begun to summon the courage to dip so much as a toe in the waters of reform.

This is true even as a Feb. 27 Rasmussen report found that although Americans generally believe public education is a good investment, 61 percent say public schools have become worse over the past decade. Another 17 percent say they are unsure whether it has gotten worse or better.

Think about that. Despite spending levels that threaten the financial solvency of so many states, and despite government’s full power to license, regulate, consolidate and monopolize, less than a quarter of Americans can say public schools have improved.

My disagreement with the letters on my desk carries with it the responsibility to change that — at least for Indiana.

The unions had their chance. They failed.

Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) represents state Senate District 17.


Resources

Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams. “Rich State, Poor States: Alec-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.” The American Legislative Exchange Council, April 7, 2010.

Chris Edwards. “Madison Protests: Unions Are Angry — But Wisconsin Should Go Even Further.” The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 18, 2011.

Edwards. “Public-Sector Unions and the Rising Costs of Employee Compensation.” Cato Journal, winter 2010.

Scott Rasmussen. “Americans Agree That Public-School Quality Has Fallen.” The Rasmussen Reports, Feb. 27, 2011.

Charles E. Rice. “Fixing Public Schools.” The Indiana Policy Review, spring 2010.

Morgan Reynolds and Craig Ladwig. “Why Collective Bargaining Is no Bargain.” The Indiana Policy Review, winter 1991.

Record Breaking & INDemsGPS.com

From HoosierAccess:

This month’s Indiana House Democrats’ walkout will mark the longest one of its kind in US history. If the Indiana State House Democrats do not return for a quorum tomorrow, it will have broken the record for the longest State House walkout knocking out the 2003 Texas legislature walkout.

Along with shattering horrid records, denying legislative pages in their districts a learning experience, and halting progress and innovation, the Indiana House Democrats have landed on the prestigious INDemsGPS.com, a project of the Indiana Republican Party, where Hoosiers can track Where In the World Carmen San Diego Pat Bauer, Scott Pelath and his buddies really are, along with their contact information.

While we hope they return soon, it’s a pleasant thought that their 2012 election results are inversely proportional to the amount of time they spend in Illinois hot tubs.

 

House Democrats on the Lam: By the Numbers

From Angry White Boy:

It has been twenty-four days since Indiana’s House Democrats first packed their bags and headed west to Urbana, Illinois.  Now in the fourth week of their self-imposed exile, we thought it was time to take a look at the past month…by the numbers.

Key Dates in the Legislature
With the absence of Democrats, the General Assembly is losing valuable time to pass crucial legislative items including a balanced budget and education reforms.

November 2, 2010 House Democrats lose 52 seat majority and fall to 40 seat minority
November 16, 2010 Members take Oath of Office to do their job
January 15, 2011 Legislators got paid first half their annual salary
February 15, 2011 Legislators got paid second half of their annual salary
February 21, 2011 Indiana House Democrats walked off the job
February 22, 2011 Indiana House Democrats began exile in Urbana, IL, hotel
April 29, 2011 General Assembly scheduled to adjourn
June 30, 2011 End of the fiscal year
July 1, 2011 State government will shut down if Democrats don’t return to pass a budget

Key Numbers on the Democrats
Democrats have cost Hoosier taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars during their exile while some Double-Dipping Democrats have skipped out on two taxpayer funded jobs!

1 Democrat standing up to his party and not participating (Rep. Stemler)
1 Democrat caught visiting the Illinois House of Representatives (Rep. Reardon)
1 Democrat comparing exile to a game of tag (Rep. Reske)
1 Democrat who won’t share her Barbie’s (Rep. Klinker)
1 Hot Tub at the Comfort Suites Urbana (Hotel Site)
2 Democrats visiting the Lincoln Library in Springfield and misleading Hoosiers to validate their flight to Urbana (Link)
7 Editorial pages telling Democrats it’s time to come back
(Indianapolis Star, NWI TimesEvansville Courier & PressFort Wayne News-Sentinel, South Bend Tribune, Lafayette Journal & Courier, Tribune-Star)
11 Double-Dipping Democrats with two taxpayer funded jobs (and absent from both)  (Indiana Transparency Portal)
23 Days public has been cut out of House testimony
24 Days Democrats have been AWOL
37 Democrats holed up in Urbana at any given time
$250.00 Daily fine imposed on AWOL Democrats beginning March 7, 2011 (Link)
$2,400.00 Cost per night to house Democrats in Urbana hotel (Link)
$300,000+ Total Cost of Democrats’ exile to Hoosier taxpayers so far (Link)

Key Policy Numbers
Indiana is a leader in education funding, yet more needs to be done to improve the system.

#1 Indiana’s National Rank in terms of budget used for education, 50 percent (Indiana Transparency Portal)
Note: While most states cut education during these tough times, Indiana has protected Hoosier students.
3,500 Hoosier families on the charter school waiting list
25,000 Hoosier students drop out of school every year

Key Polling Numbers That Highlight Support from Hoosiers
Polling shows Hoosiers strongly support the education reforms being debated in the General Assembly.

58 Percentage of Hoosiers who believe “teacher compensation should be based on students’ improvement on standardized tests” (CEEP Survey)
66 Percentage of Hoosiers who favor allowing “state education dollars to be used by parents to select the best possible educational options for their children”
(American Viewpoint Survey)
71 Percentage of Hoosiers supporting paying outstanding teachers more
(Bellweather Research & Consulting)
75 Percentage of Hoosiers who believe student achievement should be among the factors considered in teacher compensation (CEEP Survey)

Other Numbers
Democrats and their union friends have gone above and beyond to manufacture stories lately.

1 Fake IDOE memo e-mailed out to school officials (Link)
8 States where protesters were bused in from for Thursday’s protest (Link – IL, MO, MI, OH, KY, CA, WV, GA)
8 Percentage of workers in private sector unions in Indiana
20+ Days Indiana Democrat Party has refused to disclose who is funding their efforts to pay for the Democrats’ stay in Urbana
1,000′s Teachers being misled by union leadership on educational reform
7,500+ Teachers State Superintendent Tony Bennett has met with this school year
$1,000,000+ ISTA spent in 2008 to support Indiana Democrat legislators
$1,000,000+ ISTA spent in 2010 to support Indiana Democrat legislators
800-382-9842 How to contact Indiana Democrats and tell them ‘Enough is Enough!’
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