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Crushing protest at the Indiana Statehouse

Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration has found a surefire way to ensure the protest rallies organized by teachers won't be repeated in 2012 – he's placed occupancy limits on the Indiana Statehouse.

"That's outrageous," Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said Friday. "This is suppression of workers' speech. It's a deliberate attempt to hide what they want to do, which is to destroy unions and reduce wages for working people. It's arrogance – it's almost beyond belief. … This is as blatant as anything they've attempted to do."

The policy also dictates a code of conduct, including a prohibition on "creating a volume of noise that disrupts the work of the executive, judicial or legislative branches of government, or any committee thereof."

The obvious purpose is to squelch labor protests in the upcoming right-to-work battle, but it will work just as well for protests of any noxious education legislation left undone in 2011.

The new policy, effective Jan. 1, was issued by the Indiana State Police, whose director is appointed by the governor.

It's unfortunate that the same concern for safety wasn't apparent at the Indiana State Fair last Aug. 13.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at