Welcome to tonight's live Times columnist chat. Our columnists, Doug Ross, Marc Chase and Rich James will be discussing the issues and accomplishments in this year's Indiana General Assembly session.
Marc, Rich and I are eager to chat with you tonight.
Just found out I can use my phone to post. May the autocorrect force be with you -- and me, too!
Yes, thank you. I cleared the last hurdle in remembering my password.
It's 5:59 p.m. Drum roll?
So did the Indiana General Assembly do anything interesting besides punt the gay marriage issue down the road?
Technology is grand when it works.
It was a small win, but a win nonetheless, when the Legislature approved the adoption tax credit. Further measures need to go further than a $1,000 credit for adoptive families making this important decision. But it's a step in the right direction.
It's time pro-lifers in the General Assembly put their money where their mouth is and adopt more measures that make it easier for loving and financially stable families to adopt children.
I agree with Marc on the adoption issue, and yes, it should be made much less costly. But the session as a whole was terribly weak.
Am I the only one on The Times "opinion" trio who thinks drug testing for TANF is a good idea?
The adoption bill wasn't as much as Gov. Pence asked for, but that's a recurring theme.
I hope you are the only one who thinks drug testing is a good idea.
On the surface, drug testing for TANF might make sense, but when you look at the cost, there is no savings. It ends up being a giveaway to whoever gets the drug testing contract.
Drug testing for TANF is a huge waste of money and an insult to the destitute.
You're right Doug. The federal adoption credit is about $13,000 if you make $197,000 a year or less.
If there is drug testing, the state should pay for the treatment.
For our panelists, short sessions are often notoriously short on accomplishments. How does this one stack up with other short sessions?
TANF is for the poorest of the poor. Their drug abuse rate is lower than that of the general population.
I don't agree, Doug. If you're going to receive government support, there needs to be some accountability. Drug use is a huge drag on the lower socioeconomic folks. Although, I have to agree with Rich that some type of treatment should be attached.
So why single out them? Why not all recipients of state/federal funds?
Having covered and watched legislative sessions for 35 years, I would say this is one of the weakest.
And since when it is a sound conservative principle to spend more on administering a program that you save by doing so?
Talk about special legislation! Was there more than one Olympian who returned to Indiana with a medal?
I'm the broom guy, Robert. You can slide the rock -- which is probably a butchery of the actual terms.
Yes, Doug. I remember getting rid of book rental fees was a pet issue of former Rep. Duane Cheney. He never got that one through.
Mike, we agree on something!
So what do you think of the law that lets people lock their gun in the car in the school parking lot?
There are far too many "user" fees on parents, who are already paying taxes.
Licensed handgun carriers can possess guns in school parking lots, provided they are kept out-of-sight in a locked vehicle. Previously it was a felony to have a gun on school property. Guns still can't be brought inside school buildings. (Senate Enrolled Act 229)
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath complained that little was done this session to help the middle class. Pence said the road money will create lots of high-paying jobs for the middle class. I take that as an insult. Not all middle class folks are laborers and in the skilled trades.
You are right, Marc. Parents are being nickiled and dimed to death.