Indiana House members passed a bizarre amendment late Wednesday that would tax negative political advertising to pay for reading remediation.
The fee on the “false, exaggerated, demeaning or misleading” messages would be $50 each time the communication is aired or printed.
And the kicker: The Indiana Department of Revenue would determine what qualifies as negative.
The amendment – which many dismissed as ridiculous or goofy – was offered by Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Crothersville. After a voice vote of support, it was added into Senate Bill 309, which relates to various education issues.
The next day, Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, told the body he was appalled by the amendment and that it’s up to the voters to decide what is negative or not.
He also pointed out that if legislators are concerned about literacy, “I suggest we start by reading the First Amendment. It’s real short.”
Gender issue stalled
An attempt to amend Fort Wayne’s civil rights ordinance to include gender identity protections for transgender residents has stalled because many on the City Council don’t want it even introduced.
Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, has concerns about the proposal, so he asked for guidance from the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese. He was given a letter sent by former Bishop John D’Arcy, which was originally sent to South Bend when that city was discussing a similar bill in 2006.
The letter was critical of the proposal, even though D’Arcy condemned attacks on anyone.
“Without question, everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with dignity. Everyone should enjoy the same basic human rights,” he wrote.
“At the same time, we must be very cautious lest we validate in law lifestyles and behaviors to which many of our citizens are deeply in conscience opposed.”
Councilwoman Karen Goldner, D-2nd, said she still plans to introduce the bill, even though she is unsure whether it will have enough votes to be discussed. She did take time last week to point out the fact that Didier supported introducing a controversial Cherry Hill rezoning even though he plans to vote against it.
Saints marching out
Gov. Mitch Daniels is auctioning off the New Orleans Saints flag he displayed outside his office as part of a Super Bowl wager.
Proceeds will be donated to charity.
“I sure don’t want it around here any longer. I’m tired of looking at it,” he said. “At least this way, we’ll formally end a great Colts season with a win.”
Daniels agreed this month to a wager with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV. Per the terms of the wager, Jindal sent Daniels a New Orleans Saints flag which Daniels displayed outside his office for one week.
Daniels will autograph the flag before sending it to the winning bidder. The flag is listed on eBay.com, and the auction lasts until Thursday.
The starting bid was $100, and by Friday, the bid had already eclipsed $2,500.
Check out the auction by go to tinyurl.com/govflag.
Lugar and Leahy
Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have been friends and colleagues for 35 years despite their different political parties. They’ve worked on agriculture legislation together and have been models of cordiality even when they disagree sharply.
They were interviewed last week on a CNN series about “broken” government, and host Candy Crowley asked Leahy whether he would have voted for his buddy had Lugar been the GOP presidential nominee in 1996.
“I find it very difficult not to vote for him,” Leahy replied, deftly avoiding a direct answer.
Wilcox or Wilson?
One candidate running for Congress wasn’t amused by an error regarding his name on official paperwork from the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office last week.
Woodrow “Woody” Wilcox is a Democratic candidate for Indiana’s 1st Congressional District. He sent a letter to Secretary of State Todd Rokita claiming that someone from that office sent him official papers addressed to “Woodrow Wilson.”
A newspaper in northwest Indiana also reported his name as “Woodrow Wilson.”
Wilcox asked Rokita to ensure his name is spelled correctly on all the ballots.
“In the last few days, I have been getting a lot of jokes from people. One person said that Pete Visclosky is going without sleep ever since he learned that Woodrow Wilson is challenging him,” he said.
“Another person told me that the real reason Evan Bayh didn’t run for another term in the U.S. Senate was because he heard a rumor that Woodrow Wilson was planning to run against him in the primary election.
“These jokes are funny. But not having my name spelled correctly on ballots is not.”
Journal Gazette Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith contributed to this column.