Political news

courtesy Dan Coats

Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) and several other conservative Republicans have penned a letter to President Obama accusing him of, in their words, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that’s led to a flood of Central American migrants into the U.S.

Coats and fellow Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans Thad Cochran (R-MS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) accuse the Obama Administration of not enforcing the nation’s immigration laws – despite the fact the number of deportations of illegal immigrants is up during Obama’s tenure.

courtesy Bionca Gambill

Indiana‘s newest state representative will be campaigning in November to win a career in the House chamber that lasts longer than one day.

Former township trustee Bionca Gambill (D-Terre Haute) replaces Kreg Battles (D-Vincennes), who resigned last month. She was sworn in in time to take part in a special one-day session to fix errors in two new laws, but the House won‘t reconvene until after the November general election.

File Photo

“Realistic” – that’s the word Indiana Democrats keep using when talking about November’s election.  Republicans hold six of eight statewide elected seats and control both houses of the General Assembly with supermajorities. 

State Democratic Party chair John Zody says the message he’s getting out is that putting Dems back in the majority isn’t going to happen overnight:

“It’s going to be multiple election cycles and that’s where we know we are and people are talking about that and realistic and they’re focused – and that’s exactly where we need to be,” Zody says.

Dillon Beach / https://www.flickr.com/photos/momboleum/2247313447

Only 13-percent of registered Indiana voters went to the polls for May’s primary election. 

The 2014 primary election was atypical for Indiana – there were no statewide races on the ballot, the first time that’s happened since 2002.  Only three statewide officers are up for election in November – Secretary of State, Treasurer and Auditor – and those candidates are chosen at the state party conventions. 

Speaker of the House John Boehner's office / https://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerboehner/13607898585

The first member of Congress to call for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation says Shinseki's exit needs to be the start of reform efforts, not the end.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-2nd) says the lengthy wait times at VA hospitals and cooked books to conceal them should lead to criminal charges against those directly responsible, and a fresh set of eyes at the top to order a comprehensive review.

LuAnn Snawder / https://www.flickr.com/photos/luann_snawder_photography/8289166535

The mold keeping West Lafayette leaders out of city hall may pose unexpected problems as the city considers upgrading from a third class municipality to a second class one.

That’s because the newly-created clerk’s office will likely need a considerable amount of space, according to one clerk who recently made a similar transition.

Clerk Vicki Conlin says Jeffersonville city leaders didn’t realize how much real estate she and her employees would need when, in 2012, that city made the switch.

Terry Ross / https://www.flickr.com/photos/qnr/3336138633

Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Dan Coats (R-IN) aren’t yet joining the ranks of those calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. 

Controversy has swirled around the Veterans Affairs head for weeks amid allegations that VA hospitals around the country manipulated wait lists, leading to treatment delays and even patient deaths. 

Kim Davies / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kjd/2502535352

Delegates gather in Indianapolis next month to lay the groundwork for a constitutional convention.   Indiana is one of more than 20 states to call for a convention to consider amending the Constitution.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) has backed the effort, in hopes of drafting an amendment to realign the balance between state and federal power, and, in his words, bring the national debt under control.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Allowing same-sex couples to marry could provide a $39 million boost to Indiana’s economy in the next three years.  That’s according to a recent report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. 

The study indicates that if same-sex marriage was legalized millions of dollars would be spent on wedding expenses, guest travel and tourism, and sales taxes. 

Ball State University economics professor Michael Hicks says even though the study finds some 550 new jobs could be created as a result of the new industry, the conclusions are a conservative estimate. 

IU-Kokomo Professor To Help Monitor Ukraine Elections

May 14, 2014

An Indiana professor will be among 900 volunteers in Ukraine to help monitor the country‘s upcoming presidential election.

IU- Kokomo Professor Kathy Parkison, an economics professor and the interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, will be one of the observers keeping watch at the polling places for signs of voter intimidation or voter fraud.

“You watch the closing, you watch the count. You verify that if they had 35 votes for this and 50 votes for that, or whatever the number is, that they write down 35 and 50,” Parkison says.