Friday, April 26, 2013
Fourteen Republicans Cross Aisle, But SB621 Still Passes
14 Republicans joined 31 Democrats in an effort to overturn the bill that has been called a political play, a power grab, and bad policy by people in all three major Indiana political parties.
Buried deep in the bill is more sinister political power moves. One provision puts Mayor Greg Ballard in charge of the Metropolitan Development Commission. Another provision makes the Constitutional offices of Marion County Government beg the un-elected city controller for their budgets. Still another mandates that there will be a central counting of all absentee ballots in Marion County only despite the fact that Marion County Clerk Beth White says it will cost more, force the county to buy more machines and hire more election workers, and delay results of critical races for days.
By the time you read this, the bill will probably already have passed the Indiana Senate and be on its way to Governor Mike Pence for his signature.
What really gets me is that David Frizzell, sent to defend the bill in Conference Committee, had very little in the way of specifics to back up the bill. He consistently told the committee only his opinions. At one point, he actually used the words "I suspect many in Marion County are in favor." That's why House member after House member came to the podium on the floor and said, "I have not had any constituents tell me they support this bill." Even one Republican said he had heard nothing either way on the bill.
Republicans told Marion County residents that their voice didn't matter either by shooting down suggestions that the bill should be put to a referendum. Frizzell instead said that he believed the legislative process was better. Easier to fix that way.
Well, something must have been wrong with Frizzell's case. Republicans left him. In the end, it wasn't enough.
The Democratic Caucus of Marion County fought hard and got in some good parting shots. This one's over though. The fight moves on to another day. The bill is sure to pass the Senate, and it may have done so by the time you read this post. Then it will go to Mike Pence for his signature, and the Governor hasn't said all that much on the bill just yet. With only 54 in favor, would they be willing to override a possible veto? It does only take a simple majority to do so.
Perhaps there's still a little more life to this debate yet.