The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:52 pm

Nov. 17 'sneak attack' beyond credibility

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Did you hear about the sneak attack coming to the Indiana Statehouse on Nov. 17?

Eric Miller, founder of Advance America, has posted a 41/2-minute video alleging a "sneak attack" that will harm Hoosier children and families.

Advance America is a statewide group that lobbies for many conservative values, including religious freedoms and home-school.

The video – which at best can be called fearmongering – explains the usual process for a bill and says a secret plan is in the works to pass a bill in one day and without public hearing Nov. 17.

That day is Organization Day, when House and Senate members return to the Statehouse for a ceremonial start of the 2016 session. They then return in January to get down to work.

The video, which has simplistic graphics and Miller’s earnest narration, says the sneak attack is being orchestrated by key political leaders and powerful special interest groups and corporations.

Miller never says what the exact topic of the bill would be, except that it has to do with sexual activity and children.

Many assume it could be related to civil rights for gay Hoosiers.

But Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, took to social media to address the rumor.

"Having consulted with Senate President (David) Long … he has asked me to pass along the message to all that absolutely no legislation regarding religious freedom or LGBT issues will be debated or voted upon on Organization Day, and has never been contemplated."

Another idea is that the sneak attack might be related to a vaccine young girls could take to combat cervical cancer. 

But House Speaker Brian Bosma tweeted: "Let me be perfectly clear. There is no ‘sneak attack’ planned for organization day. A simple phone call would have clarified that."

To see the video yourself, go to

UAW supporting city Democrats

The United Auto Workers Political Action Committee has endorsed Fort Wayne’s entire Democratic Party ticket.

"Over 100 years ago, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed in an encyclical that the people’s right to collectively bargain with their employers is a human right," said Randy Schmidt, UAW Community Action Program Council vice chairman. "Tom Henry is a moral and ethical man, who has fought to protect that right. And he will continue to do so if he receives a third term as mayor of Fort Wayne."

Schmidt also said every Democratic candidate on the ballot has pledged to support reinstating collective bargaining.

"We are a nonpartisan committee," he said. "When candidates demonstrate a commitment to our common goal of a fair and prosperous city, we endorse folks from both political parties.

"But this crop of Republicans seems bent on destroying the union movement itself."

Swanky spaces for IEDC

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. doesn’t mess with basic conference or meeting rooms.

In recent months, the agency has used the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Parkview Field in downtown Fort Wayne and, this week, the Indiana Pacers’ practice court.

Yep, complete with hoops, bleachers and a squeaky-clean floor.

Though the state has an entire conference center with dozens of rooms and an auditorium, IEDC staff said none that were big enough were available for Tuesday’s meeting.

So they paid $150 for the space. Tables, padded chairs, a podium and a television were arranged on the court.

It was a sweet setup, including free Wi-Fi and microphones that made it easy for the public attending to hear discussion.

And heck, the space might as well be used for something.

The Indiana Pacers recently got permission to build a new $50 million, 130,000-square-foot practice complex across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse that will include a gym, office and tenant space.

Apparently the court doesn’t provide enough perks for current NBA players and teams. But it’s pretty darn awesome for a meeting space.

The only request is that the clock run on the scoreboard to cut off long-winded speakers.

County surveyor wins award

The Association of Indiana Counties on Tuesday announced that Allen County Surveyor Al Frisinger received the 2015 Outstanding County Surveyor Award.

The association presented the award during its annual conference in September.

During the conference, representatives from public agencies, private entities and local elected officials addressed topics including the future of road funding, how federal health care reform affects counties, government ethics, trends in assessed value and criminal justice reform. 

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at ­ or Niki Kelly at ­ An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at

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