Introduced Version, House Bill 1161 This bill seems to allow the County Auditor to publish a summary of the claims in the newspaper and provide a notice of the website where more detailed information can be obtained and a statement that a person can get a copy mailed to them upon request. Looks like it was heard in committee today, not sure the outcome. In my experience, bills introduced in committee either get passed or tabled. Rarely does anything get a vote if it’s going to fail.
7 environmental officials leave in Daniels’ shake-up Well, whaddaya know. Daniels isn’t going after FSSA first. Nope, his first target is the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management.
Six top Indiana Department of Environmental Management administrators resigned and one was fired this week in a shake-up by Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has criticized the agency for impeding economic development. . . . He said environmental protection and public health are important, but “a poor Indiana will not be a green Indiana.”
Guess what. A polluted Indiana will not be a rich Indiana. I hope Daniels isn’t comfortable with companies in other states treating Indiana like a third-world nation, dumping toxins in our water and our air; paying our citizens subsistence wages, then leaving. Because early signs don’t suggest Daniels thinks much of protecting our workers or our environment. Now it could be that Daniels is committed to the creation of high-paying, skilled jobs with companies that are responsible stewards of the land, thereby making the middle class prosperous even if the upper class don’t realize dramatic gains. But his very first actions in office show what is most important to him, and the signs aren’t pointing in that direction. Hopefully the real Hoosier Republicans out there can put a leash on this guy if he gets out of hand.
Howey Political Report
Brian Howey has his top 50 most influential Hoosier politicians up. The Top 10:
1. Gov. Mitch Daniels
2. Indy Mayor Bart Peterson
3. Sen. Lugar
4. Sen. Bayh
5. Senate President Robert Garton
6. House Speaker Brian Bosma
7. Ways & Means Chair Jeff Espich
8. U.S. Rep. Mike Pence
9. Daniels Budget Director Charles Schalliol
10. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman
For each he has explanations for his ranking. Worth checking out.
According to this article, Daniels feels that collective bargaining might get in his way, so he’s ending it. Hopefully, he makes changing FSSA a priority as the article indicates he will. Rather than focusing on the drunken snow plow operator, this article has Daniels explaining his decision as follows: “Daniels, a Republican, said he was ending bargaining rights partly to form a separate agency to handle child welfare and child support without having to consult with union officials.” Based pretty much purely on my purely anectdotal experiences I have no love for the FSSA and suspect drastic changes are necessary. We’ll see what his priorities are based on whether he goes after FSSA first or chooses to go after environmental protections by targeting DNR first.
This just feeds my impression that Daniels is a guy who likes to cut corners and can’t be bothered with details. He’s one of those dreaded “idea men.” Or, he simply doesn’t like anything that gets in the way of his personal power.
Journal and Courier Online – Letters to the Editor One Monon resident with a long memory weighed in on the Daylight Saving Time debate in a Journal & Courier letter to the editor:
Let’s revisit state’s history of time zones
Our governor continues to tell us what a great help to our economy going on daylight-saving time will be, with promises to detail the reasons.
The most interesting part is that it doesn’t matter to him whether it is Central or Eastern, just so we change the time. He was leaning toward Central time, now it seems Eastern. I would like to remind everyone that we have “been there and done that.”
At 82, I remember Central time when the line was at the Indiana/-Ohio border. We had a referendum where “we the people” voted against daylight-saving time (after trying it for awhile). The next thing I knew we were on Eastern time. And then it was daylight-saving, which was actually “double fast,” and now we are on Eastern time straight — what a relief.
I do not believe our legislature should be pushed to act in haste, nor should Congress become involved until our time history is studied.
It should be quite interesting for everyone to see it laid out as to how we arrived at the present time — perhaps we’ll even see the reasons some didn’t work.
Margery Owens, Monon
Introduced Version, House Bill 1212 I’m guessing this bill will never see the light of day, but it would allocate Indiana’s Presidential Electors based on the percentage of the vote a candidate received. Based on the formula in the bill. Bush, with 59.9% of the popular vote would’ve gotten 7 of Indiana’s 11 electoral votes while Kerry, with 39.2% of the popular vote would’ve gotten the remaining 4.
Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0322 – Would not allow a unit of government to pay for the defense expenses of an officer or employee charged with a crime. If the alleged crime was related to activity associated with the officer or employee’s duties and the officer or employee is acquitted or the charges dismissed, the officer or employee could apply to the fiscal body for reimbursement of reasonable expenses.
Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0328 This bill would allow a civil penalty to be imposed against a public official who took part in a meeting despite knowing it violated the open door law. Maximum penalty of $1,000 which would be deposited in the state general fund. Allows attorney’s fees and costs for the plaintiff if the plaintiff prevails; allows attorney’s fees and costs for the defendant only if the action is found by the court to be “frivolous and vexatious.”
Daniels Rescinds Collective Bargaining for State Employees WISHTV 8 is reporting that Daniels is rescinding collective bargaining agreements with state employees:
The new Republican governor ended a practice that began under Governor Evan Bayh because, he says, rules created under collective bargaining would have slowed changes that he intends to make in state government. The rules gave union employees power to negotiate pay and benefits and work rules, among other things.
About 25,000 state employees are covered by bargaining agreements. Daniels says it will now be easier to fire some of those employees.
â€œLet me just say I think it will be a lot harder, for instance, for an employee who has found to have failed multiple drug tests to get back on a snow plow – which is a real world example.”
I wonder if Mitch’s “real world example” comes from the same reality where PERF pension records are supposedly kept in a shoebox and an ALJ was paid $100,000 for never hearing a case. (Daniels made these claims and others. The Indy Star discovered the claims to be false.)
A letter to state employees from Mitch Daniels essentially accuses state employees of slothfulness and wastefulness and encourages snitches to call the Governor’s office directly. Tattlers will be “celebrated and rewarded.” He phrased it a bit differently, but that was the general message.
Are there senseless practices, or even wrongdoing, where you work? Now, right now, is the time to tell us about it. People who step forward to alert us to problems will be celebrated and rewarded, not punished, for their honesty.
. . .
We will expect state workers to treat their fellow citizens not as subjects or adversaries but as customers. Where practical, we intend to measure how pleased our customers are with our work, and reward those workers whose fellow citizens rate them highly.
. . .
The organizing objective of our administration will be higher personal income for Hoosiers, meaning more money, after taxes, in each workerâ€™s pocket. Almost every part of state government can do something, or do it faster, or maybe stop doing something, to improve the chances of economic growth in our state. Be prepared to help identify what your area can do, to keep track of it, and to be held accountable for progress or the lack of it.
Among 35,000 employees, inevitably there will be a few who will misunderstand these basics. There may even be a few who think there is some right to a job at their fellow taxpayersâ€™ expense, or who think that it is fine to give less than an honest dayâ€™s work, or to go along from year to year without improving. Those few will find life more difficult during our administration; in fact, they will need to look for different employment.
First of all, this is a shortsighted and ignorant approach. That he feels a need to bring up hard work in his first letter to all state employees betrays an ignorance of state government. State employees, by and large, work very hard. I don’t think there is any evidence of slothfulness in the population of state employees than in the population of the workforce at large. Either he’s ignorant or he’s setting up an excuse to make room in state government to dole out some patronage to his supporters.
Second, a government is not a store. Going back to high school civics for a second, the Governor’s job and, by extension, state agencies under the Governor’s authority, is to execute the laws. Proper execution of the law is not always going to make you popular. Equating citizens with customers drives me nuts in that it diminishes and trivializes a citizen’s proper role in society. Proper execution of the law also may not serve to leave more money in a citizen’s pocket. Mitch Daniels may not understand this, but I want the Department of Natural Resources to be deeply unpopular with those who are polluting our air and water. I want the DNR to cause such people to lose a lot of money. The same goes for the Department of Revenue and tax cheats as well as for the BMV and those who should not be allowed to drive.
Creating an adversarial relationship with state employees before any cause has been given cannot be a good way to start one’s tenure. Maybe Daniels believes his own propaganda about how dysfunctional state government is. He should remember that the first secret of being a successful cult leader: never drink your own Kool-Aid.