Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bills Bills Bills I

As legislation is introduced in the Indiana General Assembly this year, I will be looking for the noteworthy ones and sorting them into three categories:

1. Silly Bills: Bills that make you laugh, and then cry because you elected the idiot who places that issue on the top of the priority list. [Example: SB 433-20040--creation of an Indiana Poet Laureate.]

2. Bill O'Reilly Bills: Bills that crazy evangelicals and Fox News commentators think must be passed so that God will not smite us. [Example: SJR 7-2004--constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.]

3. Good Bills: Bills that your average technocrat would agree have positive, relevent effects on Indiana's citizens. Of course, you will have to take the word of this technocrat.

So here we go, Round I.

Silly Bills

SB 009: Provides that the State will honor any Indiana resident who is elected President or Vice President by building a statue of the person on the Statehouse lawn.

(In related news, Senator Bayh has begun a rigorous workout regimen).

SB 010: Authority to solemnize marriages. Authorizes the governor, the lieutenant governor, and members of the general assembly to solemnize marriages.

For a $500 contribution to the Republican Party, Mitch Daniels will allow you to tie the knot on RV1.

Bill O’Reilly Bills:

SB 004: Provides that a person may not be required, as a condition of training, employment, pay, promotion, or privileges, to dispense: (1) a medical device or drug that may result in an abortion; or (2) a birth control device or medication.

Because it is the pharmacists who are the victims, not the thousands of women whose contraception is held hostage by someone else's religious beliefs.

SB 006: Lifetime Parole for child molesters

SB 045 [Here's a doozy]: Fetal development curriculum. Requires each school corporation to include instruction regarding human fetal development in the school corporation's high school health education curriculum. Requires the following to be taught in the curriculum:

(1) the result of human sperm and egg convergence;
(2) the resulting development of human conception;
(3) the health consequences of early termination of pregnancy;
(4) photographic images portraying each state of uterine fetal development; and
(5) descriptions of human fetal development.

Well, you have to teach something on sex day...since teachers are no longer allowed to show kids how to put condoms on bananas.

Good Bills

HB 1001: State takeover of child welfare funding.

This is good for the following reasons:
1) it will lower property tax burden an average of 5% below what it would have been from 2005 forward. This is not to say that property tax bills will be lower next year, but they will be lower than they would be without the measure.
2) The responsibility for fundraising (i.e. the taxing) is done by those who make the decisions. Currently, state officials are not accountable to voters for inefficient allocation of funds. County officials simply give the state a blank check that is cashed against their own political capital. And that is a recipe for massive county-state conflicts.
3) Smoothing of funding. This means that normal citizens who happen to live in a county with a small tax base and large child welfare issues are not charged more than normal citizens who do not. It means that Indiana residents pay for Indiana children; no matter where the need is, everyone chips in equally.

SB 082: Allows the use of ISTEP test scores and scores on nationally recognized assessments to be used as one, but not the only, criterion in evaluating the performance of teachers and administrators.

State employees will soon be evaluated based on a large number of factors...the same should be true for teachers. Placing too much focus on ISTEP scores only encourages cheating, test-targeted teaching, and laziness.

More to come as legislation trickles in.


Anonymous TRIB said...

Great post, Jezebella. You get the highest marks in a roundup of legislative reviews on TRIB.

11:24 AM  

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