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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:57 am

Law: Speed up or move over

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco The Journal Gazette

If nothing else got done this session, at least Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, saved his popular traffic language requiring slower drivers to get out of the fast lane.

The provision would allow police to ticket you if you don’t move over to the right lane of a highway when cars are waiting behind.

It passed the House, but the Senate took it out. On the last day of the session, it showed up again in the final compromise on House Bill 1305.

Some senators were none too happy, even jokingly asking Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, to accidentally forget to call the bill down.

Ober posted on Twitter, "Poor babies. I’ve seen a few vehicles with state senator plates driving slowly in the passing lane during my travels."

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, said it isn’t fair to give a ticket to someone going at the speed limit just because someone behind them wants to go 90 mph.

"It really doesn’t make sense to put law-abiding citizens as the criminal," she said.

Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, joked that she was OK with the provision since she is usually the one going 90.

House Bill 1305 passed 29-20.


Acrimony abounds


That’s what Huntertown Town Council members Dave Garman and Brandon Seifert have to work through. 

They went against the council by appealing a discharge permit by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. That resulted in Huntertown attorney David Hawk instructing other council members to bar Garman and Seifert from meetings and correspondence related to a proposed wastewater treatment plant.

The men say they have tried to work with their fellow council members, but things are clearly getting testy with Seifert saying they were "duped" into believing a deal could be reached to assist 120 homeowners who would benefit from a septic improvement project administered by the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District.

Seifert says Hawk misled them. When reached by phone, the lawyer hung up on a reporter seeking comment. He failed to return a voice message as well. Some weeks ago, when discussing a matter related to the treatment plant, Hawk stopped midsentence to ask the same reporter if he had a law degree.

"No, I don’t have a shingle," the reporter said. However, the reporter has had chickenpox. Apparently, a sense of humor is needed when dealing with some Huntertown officials.


Fitting end


Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, can thank the last day of session for finally getting to 10,000 daily steps on his Fitbit – a fitness device worn on the wrist to track physical activity.

He and wife, Melissa, have been using them and trying to reach the 10,000 daily steps mark.

"I haven’t been able to come close to that at the Statehouse when you’re trapped inside," Long said.

But on the last day, the Fitbit hit 12,700 steps.

"That just shows what kind of day it was, going back and forth trying to glue things together and get people talking," he said.


Paddock honored


One Fort Wayne City Council member was recognized Monday by the IPFW Department of Public Policy.

Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, was awarded the 2015 Community Achievement Award. According to a letter the university sent to Paddock last month, the award "recognizes outstanding public, not-for-profit, or healthcare administrators and policy makers in northeast Indiana whose career exemplifies the standards and ideals of the Department of Public Policy at IPFW."

Paddock on Thursday described the award as an unexpected honor.

"I have been fortunate to be involved in public service and I enjoy it, and I try to give back to my community in many ways," he said. "A particular source of satisfaction is the fact that I get to serve as the 5th District city councilman, and I hope that continues."

Dave Gong and Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook