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Jim Banks

October 2013 Meeting — Our Indiana Legislators

The Whitley County Patriots will host their next meeting on Tuesday, October 1st at 7:00 at The Church of the Nazarene, 506 N. Main St., Columbia City.

This meeting will be an opportunity to hear from all three of our Indiana legislators:

  • House District 82 — David Ober
  • House District 83 — Kathy Heuer
  • Senate District 17 — Jim Banks

They will each give legislative updates, and there will be time for your questions.

As always, we welcome the public!  Please remember to bring canned food for local food banks.

Sen. Banks to participate in Right to Life Forum

From IN.GOV:

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 11, 2012) – State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) said today he will participate on a discussion panel at the 10th Annual Allen County Right to Life Legislative Action Forum.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, State Reps. Kathy Heuer and Bob Morris, and U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s staff will join Banks on the panel.

The forum is an opportunity for citizens to speak informally with elected officials about Right to Life issues. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are necessary. Call 260-471-1849 by Jan. 18 or email judy.feichter@ichooselife.org to register.

WHO:     Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne)
Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City)
Rep. Kathy Heuer (R-Columbia City)
Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne)

WHAT:  10th Annual Allen County Right to Life Legislative Action Forum

WHEN:  Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Concordia Theological Seminary
Wyneken Hall – Room 8
6600 North Clinton St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Sen. Banks to Chair Taxpayer Protection Caucus

From HoosierAccess:

Today it was announced that Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will be leading the newly formed Indiana Taxpayer Protection Caucus, a project of Americans for Tax Reform. ATR has worked to establish taxpayer protection caucuses in state legislatures around the country.

“Jim Banks is a true fiscal conservative and will serve as an essential proponent for Indiana taxpayers in this leadership role,” said Joshua Culling, Indiana state affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform. “We couldn’t be happier that Sen. Banks has agreed to chair the Indiana Senate Taxpayer Protection Caucus as an advocate of lower taxes and limited government policies that will help Indiana families and businesses through private sector-led job creation and economic growth.”

Other Senate members of the Indiana Taxpayer Protection Caucus include Jim Buck (R), Mike Delph (R), Dennis Kruse (R), Jim Tomes (R), Greg Walker (R), and John Waterman (R).

Time For A Judicial Re-Do?

From State Senator Jim Banks:


Time For A Judicial Re-Do?
By State Sen. Jim Banks
May 23, 2011

After a legislative session with its share of landmark policy decisions, I was eager to return home, get back to my family and my regular job and take a break from policy battles.

Unfortunately, the Indiana Supreme Court had other plans.

The outrage rolling across the state against an Indiana Supreme Court ruling has been one of the few things to unite people from different political backgrounds. With just a few simple words, Justice Steven David launched a devastating attack on individual Hoosiers’ liberties:

“We hold that there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers. We believe however that a right to resist unlawful police entry is… incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.”

Contrast Justice David’s words with the actual text of the 4th Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

I will not short change the concerns about the specifics of the case that brought this matter to the attention of the Indiana Supreme Court. Domestic violence is a serious matter and law enforcement officials must be free to protect citizens in accordance with the rights and restrictions placed on these officers by the Constitution. Unfortunately, the court’s ruling in this case will do very little to protect citizens from the horrors of domestic violence and might even open the door to abuse by some law enforcement officials.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller went on the record stating the court has ruled too broadly. Newton County’s Prosecutor Jeff Drinski issued a statement clarifying that random “door-to-door” searches would NOT be permitted in his jurisdiction. Drinski took this action after comments attributed to Newton County Sheriff Don Hartman, Sr. suggested that his officers would do so since it was permitted by this ruling.

It’s hard to believe that the court can simply decide that modern conveniences like bail, prompt arraignment and civil recourse actually trump our Constitutional rights.

The Fourth Amendment wasn’t randomly demanded by the states. Rather, it reflected an outgrowth of protection that then-colonies had already recognized in many instances in their own codes of laws. There are several examples of these colonies adopting laws protecting ordinary citizens from similar illegal incursions by government authorities.

Put yourself in the shoes of an American colonist. At the time, the Common Law guarantees enshrined in the Fourth Amendment were not a given in the colonies. British soldiers did not require justification to enter and search your home. It was just one of many examples of how property rights were not recognized by the Crown in the lead up to the American Revolution.

News articles are already circulating about law enforcement supervisors who are more than ready to flex their muscles under the new-found “freedom” granted by this court ruling.

The nature of our part-time legislature in Indiana has left many citizens feeling powerless. I’ve fielded many calls and emails from constituents who are worried that we can’t stop this dangerous ruling from being implemented. Though we don’t return to the Statehouse until next January, I am already working with other senators on drafting an amendment that will ensure our freedoms can’t be encroached by unelected state Supreme Court justices.

Governors get to select a lawyer from a group vetted by a nominating commission. We citizens get to vote to keep them or throw them out by voting to retain them for another term. How many people will have their rights trampled before then?

While in the short term I’m committed to working with my fellow conservative legislators to restore these Constitutional rights, over the long term it is clear that Indiana needs to open a debate about judicial accountability. There are a number of options on the table-perhaps giving the people a voice on these nominations by requiring the Senate to consent to these appointments is appropriate (similar to Federal judges as well as the states of Delaware and New York). Another solution used in many states might be to elect justices to the bench rather than simple appointments.

The bottom line is that Hoosiers demand greater accountability across all levels and branches of government, and this ruling throws that need into stark relief. Join me and conservative Hoosiers across the state to make your voices heard on this issue, so we can fight back and prevent this attack on our liberties from taking hold in Indiana.

Tax $$$ For Student Learning or Admin Salaries?

Dear Patriots,
Here is the official press release from our Senator Jim Banks concerning state superintendents’ salaries. Please take the time to read through it and let Jim know we appreciate his efforts. It is, afterall, our money. Senator Banks has struck a nerve, and those opposing his endeavor know he is on the path to truth. Again, please let him know of your support, and that of the Whitley County Patriots.
God Bless America,

Dave Cooper

Banks_e-mail-header

Banks: Senate supports amendment requiring
state review of school superintendent salaries
Columbia City lawmaker says Hoosier tax dollars should
follow students, not pay for
bloated administrative costs

Senate lawmakers Tuesday supported an amendment offered by State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) calling for an official review of school superintendent salaries.

“As public servants, one of our most important duties is to be good stewards of the public’s money,” Banks said. “I believe it is important for lawmakers to thoroughly review superintendent salaries to help ensure our state’s education dollars are follow money_coins1ing students into the classroom and not paying for bloated school administrative costs elsewhere.”

Banks offered the proposal as an amendment to House Bill 1369 – legislation that would require a portion of a school superintendent’s pay, as well as that of other corporation administrators, to be based on performance.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, there are 291 superintendents whose salaries total nearly $33 million. Banks said salaries range from $29,400 to $262,800 with the average $113,162.

Banks said an interim study committee would review whether superintendent salary caps should be imposed. He added that salary amounts could be figured upon a percentage of the current governor’s salary of $95,000 – the highest ranking CEO in state government.

During Gov. Mitch Daniels’ state of the state address, he said forty-two cents of the education dollar are spent outside the classroom.

“This could be a small step toward reining in K-12 administrative costs,” Banks said. “At a time when every education dollar counts, it’s important we recognize there is a disparity between what is spent on educating students in the classroom and what is spent on administrators and non-teaching staff in offices.”

Banks said he hopes to explore other options for lowering administrative costs in order to reach a goal of 65 percent of education dollars being spent in the classroom.

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

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.

State Sen. Banks Encourages Hoosiers to Attend Saturday’s Redistricting Meeting in Fort Wayne

Members of the Indiana House and Senate Election committees will conduct a public hearing Saturday in Fort Wayne to receive input on how new maps for the Indiana House of Representatives, Senate and congressional districts should be drawn.

This is one of eight hearings being held across the state seeking public input regarding new legislative boundaries for Statehouse and congressional seats. I encourage Hoosiers in Northern Indiana to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the redistricting process and share their viewpoints with lawmakers.

Saturday’s hearing is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (EDT) in the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza.

For those who will be unable to attend Saturday’s Fort Wayne hearing or may be travelling in Northern Indiana on either Friday or Saturday, there are other hearings at which you may share your input:

  • Friday, March 25, at the Faith Baptist Community Center, 5526 State Road 26 E., Lafayette, from 10 a.m. to Noon (EDT);
  • Friday, March 25, at the Crown Point High School Auditorium, 1500 South Main St., Crown Point, from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. (CDT); and
  • Saturday, March 26, at the Memorial High School Auditorium, 2608 California Road, Elkhart, from 10 a.m. – Noon (EDT).

Under the Indiana Constitution, the General Assembly elected during the year in which a federal decennial census is taken shall fix by law the number of senators and representatives and apportion them among districts according to the number of inhabitants in each district, as revealed by the census.

Why not ‘Break’ the Union?

From HoosierAccess:

Written by Jim Banks, IN Senate – 17

Originally published for the Indiana Policy Review

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

Yes, that’s exactly what I would do. 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 drive 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.

Read the rest at HoosierAccess.

Hoosier Gun Owners PAC Endorses Jim Banks for State Senate

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2010

Hoosier Gun Owners PAC Endorses Jim Banks for State Senate

Columbia City — The Hoosier Gun Owners PAC announced their endorsement today for Jim Banks for State Senate in Indiana’s 17th District.  “When it comes to protecting the Second Amendment, Jim Banks is the clear choice for voters in the 17th District,” said Matt Boyd, Treasurer and Spokesman of the PAC.  “Hoosier Gun Owners PAC was created by a group of Second Amendment supporters who are passionate about protecting our constitutional freedoms.  Jim Banks is the type of proven leader we can count on to protect our rights in the Indiana General Assembly.  He is the only candidate in the race who has even addressed the Second Amendment.  The choice here is very clear between Banks and his opponent.  We encourage all gun owners in the 17th District to vote for Jim Banks for State Senate.”

Banks has been endorsed by numerous conservative organizations and leaders including Indiana Right to Life PAC, Allen County Right to Life PAC, Indiana Family Action PAC, American Family Association of Indiana PAC, Patriots Project, Congressman Mike Pence, State Representative Jackie Walorski, Congressman Mark Souder, Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, Wabash Mayor Robert Vanlandingham, Opportunity Project of Indiana and many others.

Hoosier Gun Owners PAC was created in 2008.  For more information, please visit www.JimBanks.us.

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