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[r23] Friend Report: Difficult decisions loom
Start Date: 4/10/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/10/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Difficult decisions loom

Just as an observation of life: We usually postpone the most difficult decisions until the absolute deadline. Taxes, insurance, finances, and even questions of health come to mind. I think you get the idea; the biggest challenges take time and lots of thought before action is taken or a conclusion is drawn.

So, with no surprise, the General Assembly acts similarly. Tough decisions are put off until the deadline is rushing at us. We are dealing with very divisive issues right now, and the discussions are often long and spirited. Besides the budget, issues centered on education, guns, hunting and abortion have required lots of time and discussion. While these topics are time consuming and generate more media attention, they are not necessary our focus, but the debate leads to better policy. 

Senate Bill 1 has been widely discussed amongst media outlets and people in the past few days.  It deals with school resource officers who are on site and armed with a firearm. As it stands now, the bill would require every public school building or campus to have at least one person on site carrying a loaded firearm at all times during regular school hours. This person’s title would be “designated school protection officer”. The Senate budget has included a $10 million appropriation to fund this requirement.

Of course, this has drawn a considerable amount of discussion. Opponents hate the concept of being forced to pay an armed officer for protection when the dollars could be used for programs for students.  Proponents want to take an action that will allow a defense against horrific situations like Newtown. What is the right thing to do? I don’t disagree with someone being armed at the school, but I do question a mandate. It seems that a local decision by the school board makes more sense.  Security issues at rural schools seem very different to me than issues in large cities. I very much favor the locals having the ability to make a security decision of this type.

House Bill 1002 creates the Indiana Career Council to facilitate cooperation between education and manufacturers to increase skills of our workforce. The bill passed both chambers without a single dissenting vote.

House Bill 1006, which revises the criminal code, continues to move through the process. The bill reduces some penalties for lesser crimes and increases penalties for more heinous crimes. Currently, an offender will serve 50 percent of a sentence factoring in good-time and educational credits. Under the new bill, an offender would serve at least 75 percent of the sentence.  

Opponents of the bill say it is soft on more minor crimes and too hard on the serious crimes. Proponents of the bill say it is long past due to adjust the code. Keeping really bad people locked up longer while easing up on the minor offenders can save some taxpayer dollars and shift the focus to rehabilitation in community correction facilities. I am confident this bill will pass and be a good product.

The reports are positive that Baldwin Painting is in operation at Grissom Air Force Base. They have received and are working on airliners. Officials are pleased that efforts have come to fruition, and the company is up and running in the remodeled and expanded Hangar 200.

It is crunch time for the Legislature. The fate of many issues is determined in the next few weeks, sometimes without any notice. If you have one, communicate your issue. Maybe we can help. Stay involved!

More later,

Bill Friend
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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