Democrats Predict GOP Will Pay 2016 Price For RFRA

May 4, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/

Sixty-six Indiana cities cast ballots for mayor Tuesday, but Democrats are already looking ahead to legislative and gubernatorial elections next year.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says mayoral victories this year would position Democrats for 2016.

The party’s strategy is already in focus—reminding voters of the controversy over the religious freedom law.

Pelath (D-Michigan City) acknowledges Democrats had high hopes last year too, after the legislative battle over same-sex marriage.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence was able to declare almost total victory Thursday in the wake of the 2015 session despite early skepticism from the General Assembly for much of his agenda -- in part because he took so much criticism for his handling of the state's so-called "religious freedom" bill.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Republican lawmakers and the governor say while the controversy around the religious freedom law overshadowed a part of the session, they’re confident its shadow will fade over time.  Democrats agree, but for a different reason.

Governor Mike Pence says he regrets not being able to foresee the controversy that erupted over the religious freedom law known as RFRA.

“And as I’ve said, I regret the difficulty that Indiana passed through during a time of great misunderstanding about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act," Pence says.

Indiana Public Media / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/8409284742

Indiana’s 2016 gubernatorial race could be a repeat of 2012 after Democrat John Gregg Thursday announced he’ll run for governor again.  But he might have competition for the nomination this time.

Gregg indicated back in 2013 he wouldn’t seek another shot at the governor’s office, but in the months since, rumors start circulating that the former House Speaker was changing his mind. 

Brandon Smith / http://www.ipbs.org/

During a rally at the Statehouse Monday, members of the Indiana Pastors Alliance used words like “shock,” “outrage,” and “betrayal,” while accusing GOP leaders of “selling out” religious liberty when they passed the religious freedom bill’s “fix.” 

But Indiana Pastors Alliance executive director Ron Johnson says the fix was akin to passing a gay rights bill.  Johnson says GOP leaders “cowardly capitulated” to the pressure of what he calls the “gay mafia,” a “media lynch mob,” and big business.  And he says leaders need to be held accountable.

State of Indiana

Governor Pence‘s communications director has resigned weeks after the controversy over the state‘s religious freedom law.

But Christy Denault says her decision to leave is to spend more time with her family, and not because of the RFRA backlash.

She says she wants to spend more time with her 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old triplet sons.

Josh Boyd is an associate professor in Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication.

Senate President Long: RFRA Strife Good For The State

Apr 16, 2015
Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is trying to find a silver lining to the kerfuffle concerning the state’s so-called “religious freedom” bill. Long says lawmakers are now more sensitive to issues involving the LGBT community.

He says relevant discussions are now, in his words, "on the front burner" and the entire ordeal was, as he puts it "a good thing for our state to go through."

WFIU Public Radio

If Angie‘s List CEO Bill Oesterle decides to challenge Governor Mike Pence in next year‘s primary election, one analyst says he will have his work cut out for him, regardless of the public‘s opinion of the religious freedom law.

Oesterle announced on Wednesday that he was resigning as CEO of Indianapolis-based Angie’s List to become, in his words, "more civically active" in the state.

But Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne says that doesn‘t mean Oesterle would necessarily beat Pence.

Poll: RFRA Sinks Pence Approval Rating

Apr 15, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

New polling data shows Gov. Mike Pence‘s public opinion took a big blow following controversy over the state’s so-called “religious freedom” bill.

The data shows 75-percent of likely Hoosier voters thought Pence‘s push for RFRA ultimately damaged in the state’s business climate. His job approval also took a big hit -- dropping from 66-percent favorable to just 39-percent.

Almost two-thirds of Republican voters thought the controversy damaged the state’s economy.

Purdue University

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says he’s allocating more money for higher education in this year’s spending plan so, in his words, colleges won’t have to raise tuition. That was music to the ears of Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who’s pushed a tuition freeze for the three years he’s been in office. On this month’s conversation with him, we ask what influence he had on getting the state to push for the same changes Purdue has made.