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[r23] Friend Report: Tragedy dominates the news
Start Date: 4/24/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/24/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Tragedy dominates the news

The events of the past week have been troubling for all Americans. I try to write about important issues being considered by the state Legislature, but they seem to pale in comparison to life and death situations in Boston and Texas as well as the flooding right here in Indiana. The media has been dominated by pursuit of the men accused of the bombing and was presented non-stop on all the networks. This story will continue to unfold as more evidence is brought to light. Each of us will develop our own opinion, but our world has changed. We should all grieve for the victims and be on guard to identify threats to our safety.

Residents and workers of the small town of West, Texas were devastated by an enormous explosion at a fertilizer plant. The last I heard, 60 people were still missing. This disaster caused widespread destruction of properties with injuries and deaths.  Identifying the cause will take time, but I am confident investigators will look into every clue to find out how such a massive explosion could occur. Hopefully, it was an accident.

The rain in Indiana this past week has caused an immense amount of damage. Flooding has occurred in several areas. Some counties like Tipton were declared a state of emergency. This will result in delayed planting for farmers as they look at huge ponds in their fields.

My point in writing about these situations is that the work of the Legislature can seem insignificant when nature and terrorists affect our everyday life. Explosions that kill and maim and natural weather events that displace people and damage property overshadow activities of the General Assembly. But life goes on. We in the Legislature have to continue our work.

The end of session is upon us, and we are working through the conference committee phase. Budget negotiations are continuing, and there are many difficult issues. Education funding is a huge concern. Questions about Common Core and vouchers seem to be sticking points. I am sure these will be resolved by the end of session.

Senate Bill 373 will be worked through conference committee this week. The author, Senator Travis Holdman (R-Markle), has dissented on the bill and wishes to return it to language as it left the House Agriculture Committee. That means he wants to include the photography language.  I am not sure how the bill will end up. It has attracted nationwide attention and will be discussed for some time to come. I would like to get it passed and tested in the legal community. Taking unauthorized photographs and posting them on the Internet just seems to be a violation of personal property rights. Property owners should have rights as well as random visitors with no authorization.

Several folks have asked about Buddy, our 3-legged golden retriever. He is doing well and still willing to listen to me as long as his food dish is full. Just this afternoon, Buddy spotted a big coyote crossing the farm. He defended us very well, and no one was injured or impaired!

Please continue to communicate with me. The legislative session is ending, but constituent issues go on throughout the year. Stay involved!

More later,

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

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