Monday, April 6, 2015

RFRA Fight Leaves General Assembly Supermajority Missing Some Teeth

The Indiana General Assembly has reached a crossroads in the Crossroads of America, and I think it's going to be tough to get anything controversial done from here on out.

This RFRA debacle has taken up precious legislative time that the Republicans could have used to screw teachers or union members or some other constituency group they typically are opposed to.  I'll be interested to see what happens from here on out.

The first big test will be the Common Construction Wage Law.  This 80-year-old law that was signed into law by Governor Paul McNutt forms boards with a variety of folks on them to set the wage for public construction projects.  It has assured that all stakeholders are represented and that there's no fleecing of the taxpayer.  It still stands, but Governor Mike Pence has put his own weight behind getting rid of this one.  He's been running incessant ads on the issue spending a lot of his campaign cash and capital trying to push it through.  His argument is that he can create savings by dumping the law.  At what price towards the economy and workmanship?

The Governor right now has to begin rebuilding his record.  He has no political capital left to use.  Across the country, he's now a pariah and a laughingstock and it's again Brian Bosma and David Long that appear to have the upper hand in state politics.  They, however, preside over a much different Republican Supermajority than the one they had just a few weeks ago.  Its numbers may be large, but its grip on state government is weaker.  Tim Lanane and Scott Pelath did an excellent job of driving home the minority's points over the last few weeks.  I wonder what the relationship between Pence and his supposedly loyal troops in the Indiana House and Senate is right now.

Some, like Gary Welsh, believe that Mitch Daniels is the puppetmaster behind all of this downfall for Pence.  I just believe Pence is a little dense when it comes to being an executive.  Daniels knew to stay out of the weeds.  He would have easily made the common construction law a think of the past by now if he had been Governor.  Pence doesn't have the ability to see the big picture like his predecessor.  Now, he's paying for it.

With less than a month to go, the General Assembly has to start wrapping things up.  We'll see if they try to challenge a resurgent but very vocal minority.  My bet is that suddenly they back off the Common Construction Wage Law for now while they know people are watching.  

But, we'll see.

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