Monday, January 28, 2008

House GOP Kills Property Tax Amendment To Advance Gay Hate

The House Republican caucus led by Rep. Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has chosen to kill a constitutional amendment proposed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to limit property taxes on homesteads to 1% of the gross assessed value, HJR-1, by choosing to file an amendment to it to bar same-sex marriages and the recognition of any of the legal incidents of marriage for unmarried couples, whether straight or gay. The mean-spirited, discriminatory amendment has been filed by a member of Bosma's leadership team, Assistant House Minority Leader Eric Turner (R-Gas City). It contradicts an earlier claim by Bosma that property taxes would be given the highest priority this session.

The filing of the amendment by Turner has effectively killed Gov. Daniels' proposed constitutional amendment to permanently cap property taxes for homeowners. House Speaker Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) and his House Rules Committee Chairman Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) announced earlier this session that the House would not be hearing SJR-7, the controversial gay marriage amendment which the House Rules Committee voted down last year. House Republicans have placed a higher priority in writing discrimination into our state's constitution than in writing into it permanent tax relief for the state's homeowners.

Sadly, two other members of Bosma's caucus, Rep. Jeff Thompson (R) and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R), have effectively killed proposed hate crimes legislation, HB 1076, by filing killer amendments to the bill. The bill's chief author, Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), has refused to call down HB 1076 because of the controversial amendments the two lawmakers have filed to the bill at the request of religious right leaders Eric Miller of Advance America and Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana. Continuing opposition from the fundamentalist extremists is based on bogus claims that the legislation will create "special rights" for "homosexuals and cross-dressers" by allowing a court to impose harsher sentences on persons who commit crimes against a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that it will impede the "free speech rights" of ministers to speak out against homosexuality. Indiana is one of only five states in the nation without a hate crimes law, putting our state in the sad company of Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia and Wyoming.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Walorski was on Channel 34 in South Bend yesterday with Wensits
interviewing her and Ryan Dvorak.
Walorski and Dvorak were so chummy
with each other that she was close to almost flirting. Walorski hinted
while laughing that she would be filing something today for which she'd "be getting in trouble with the school principal."

Anonymous said...

well this ought to be a test of whether the people (as in "The People") have any real influence.

Very disheartening to hear this. Unfortunately, not really surprising.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite kitchen magnets: (on the theory that most of life can be summed up in a referig. magnet):

"Oh, not to worry...I wasn't using my civil rights anyway."

Not a good day for the lovers of civil rights today. But we'll live to fight another day.

Scott said...

Gary, here's something that I don't understand about our political system: is there a way that an amendment to an amendment can be killed without the whole amendment being killed? It seems like there has to be a way to stop these idiots in the Statehouse from voting on legislation with language that wasn't originally intended to be there. So can Amendment 12 to HJR-1 somehow be removed, or does it have to stay now that it's there?

Anonymous said...

Why are Eric Turner and Brian Bosma so obsessed with Gay Marriage that they'll even jeopardize the Governor's own HJR1 on property taxes by trying to amend in SJR7. Slick way to avoid Scott Pelath's committee process. But Hoosiers are not fooled.

Brian, Eric, Brandt, Curt, Micah -- if you're so worried about same-sex marriage, don't get one. Now get back to work on the real issues and stop u^^%^&$%ING around!

Anonymous said...

Scott - you assume that the House Republicans are playing policy and not politics. See, if they can get HJR1 to the floor and force a vote on the SJR7 amendment on the Dems, they win. There are too many Dems, especially in Southern IN, who'll feel forced to vote YEA. And the other gutless ones know they could be defeated, so they'll vote yea.

And even if Bauer could hold his coalition together, that's a lot of capital spent on this. So, instead Bauer will not call down HJR1 -- allowing the Reps in the House to claim that they're anti-property tax reform.

I lay this squarely at the feet of the Governor. You've dithered for four years, letting everyone else do the heavy lifting on SJR7 and now it comes home to roost. We know you'd like this to just go away. Then reign in your bloodhounds and tell the Unholy Trinity to get lost.

Oh yeah, you can't. You want to be reelected.

Anonymous said...

In response to Mitch Daniels's announcements, I would like to offer the following opposing points. To get immediately to the point, Mitch's ability to capitalize on the economic chaos, racial tensions, and social discontent of the current historical moment can be explained in large part by the following. Mitch uses the word "barothermohygrograph" without ever having taken the time to look it up in the dictionary. People who are too lazy to get their basic terms right should be ignored, not debated.

Mitch managed to convince a bunch of the worst types of pushy, sexist degenerates I've ever seen to help him destroy our moral fiber. What was the quid pro quo there? Whatever the answer, at this point in the letter I had planned to tell you that the world would be a much better place to live if he stopped trying to peddle the snake oil of nit-picky, delusional imperialism. However, one of my colleagues pointed out that Mitch's calumnies celebrate deception, diversion, and fashion. Hence, I discarded the discourse I had previously prepared and substituted the following discussion in which I argue that he must have recently made a huge withdrawal from the First National Bank of Lies. How else could Mitch manage to tell us that the health effects of secondhand smoke are negligible?

While some information provided by Mitch's dupes may be factual, other material is unsubstantiated rumor or laughable pranks. The ultimate aim of Mitch's fairy tales is to restructure society as a pyramid with Mitch at the top, Mitch's lackeys directly underneath, oleaginous autocrats beneath them, and the rest of at the bottom. This new societal structure will enable Mitch to initiate a reign of anti-democratic terror, which makes me realize that he uses big words like "spinulosodenticulate" to make himself sound important. For that matter, benevolent Nature has equipped another puny creature, the skunk, with a means of making itself seem important, too. Although Mitch's disquisitions may reek like a skunk, Mitch contends that everyone who doesn't share his beliefs is a capricious psychopath deserving of death and damnation. Excuse me, but where exactly did this little factoid come from? Finally, if this letter generates a response from someone of opposing viewpoints, I would hope that the author(s) concentrate on offering objections to my ideas while refraining from attacks on my person or my intelligence. I've gotten enough of that already from Mitch Daniels.

Advance Indiana said...

Scott, The Speaker could always rule that the amendment is out of order; however, the minority can then insist on a vote to over-rule the chair. Eric Miller will use that as a litmus test vote on whether House members are for them or against them on standing against gay marriage, notwithstanding the fact that it is simply a procedural vote. That's how these folks play the game. Their more interested in helping members earned perfect score cards with Miller, who then distributes them to churches across the state right before the election.

Anonymous said...

There is an answer to this I hope. I don't know what it may be but I trust Pat Bauer will find it. Gary, time for you to stand up and support the Speaker on this. I for one am dam mad.
arnie

Advance Indiana said...

I think that Speaker Bauer should withhold a vote on it unless Turner agrees to withdraw the amendment. And I agree, Gov. Daniels should be the person showing some leadership and demanding the wing-nuts stand down on this. He invited this kind of mischief by saying before the start of this session he supported SJR-7.

Athena said...

Gary, thanks for keeping us informed on this issue. Nothing like a wedgewhack to keep the session off track from its' main goal: property tax reform.

Anonymous said...

Daniels show leadership...lol......

Mike Bowman said...

Why ANY Amendment that is not property tax related is added is Stupid and Arrogant regardless of what party does it.

Shame on them.

D said...

Gary, did you see today that the Statehouse idiots amended a bill to let Marion County keep all of its township assessors? They proved they're more interested in protecting political turf than the interests of the people.

Shofar said...

Okay, someone help me out here. Constitutional lawyer needed to explain this mess.

According to how I read the Indiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 19 "An act, except an act for the codification, revision or
rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject and matters
properly connected therewith.
(History: As Amended November 8, 1960; November 5, 1974)."

Am I wrong, or does this say that all bills (acts) before the GA are to be "clean" and free of such garbage such as we are seeing in this incident?

Does this not violate the Constitution by attaching an amendment to the bill that is unrelated to the bill?

Someone out there please help me understand this mess we call our General Assembly.

Anonymous said...

I am so angry right now, i can barely find words to express my outrage.

Our representatives are worthless cowards.

Jeff Newman said...

Gary-
My Indiana Equality Action Alert says "this morning" (meaning yesterday morning), yet I can't find a word about this on the Indy Star website. Shouldn't the potential death of HJR1 be big State House news?

What's your take on this?

Advance Indiana said...

It is, Jeff. They'll catch up. Ed Feigenbaum sugggested this might happen in his newsletter which came out on Friday and what it might mean to the entire property tax reform effort.

Anonymous said...

We need to stick with property tax and do not let division take over. By the way, Advance Indiana, watch your headlines -"amendment to advance gay hate". Most people don't care about peoples personal lives and do not hate as your say. What we don't like is you calling those that support the institution of marriage, haters and distorting that viewpoint to represent extremes.

Both parties are farcical said...

Just when you want to root for the Republicans on a fiscal issue, you realize they're more concerned with social engineering at the behest of the religious right than actually helping society. As Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater said, be wary of legislating morality. Government has little place in social issues.

Anonymous said...

As a Democrat, the one good thing I can say about all this is that voters need to remember that it was the Republicans who refused to consolidate our local government so taxpayers could save money and it was Republicans who tanked property tax relief. Thank you Brian Bosma.

When you go to vote, just remember that your ballot is the loudest voice you can exercise.

Anonymous said...

HJR1 will have to go to 2nd reading today, where Turner's attempt to insert discrimination into a property tax reform amendment will come up. I can't imagine the Speaker ruling that germane. But maybe the whole bill just won't come down, and they'll let the Senate version come over instead.

Doesn't the Governor have any influence on these people? I'll bet the little guy is jumpin' up and down angry that anyone would f'up his clean attempt to change property taxes.

Who can we call to make sure they know our displeasure? 1-800-382-9842

Edward Fox said...

Anonymous 8:32, Judge Hanson, in Varnum wrote: Notwithstanding the presumed legitimacy of the State's interest in promoting long-term committed relationships for parents and prospective parents, this Court again asks how excluding same-sex couples from marriage furthers that interest. Having heard no convincing explanation, this Court is left to conclude that the argument that excluding same-sex couples from marriage somehow encourages heterosexual parents or prospective parents to get married is specious at best.

Do you have any such explanation? Or do you simply wish to harm same-sex couples and their children?

Anonymous said...

even less principled than that, ed they just want to get reelected

Anonymous said...

Gary, the Senate just approved SJR7 39-9 AGAIN.

Don Sherfick said...

There seems to be an assumption that the amendment to HJR1 itself amends the property tax amendment by adding/incorporating the marriage amendment into it. There may be a question of germaneness under one of the rules, but the wording itself doesn't do that. Arguably, it uses a single resolution to deal with two separate proposed amendments, one that could (because of no change in its own separate text) go onto the ballot in 2008, and the other going on to its still longer journey. That may be novel. Whether or not that would control the constitutioality of either one under Article 16 of the Indiana Constitution seems at least an open issue.

Edward Fox said...

Don, I think that the argument that, if Amendment 12 passed that it would validate the marriage amendment for this fall is pretty strong. But the germaneness rule would seem to apply in that you would be asking legislators to vote on two separate issues at once. That is not the Indiana way, but I do not want to bet the future on that technicality. I have no faith in the umpires.

Saw it happen said...

SURPRISE! Speaker Bauer killed HJR 1 tonight, but NOT because of the marriage amendment. HJR 1 was handed down for amendment, then Tim Harris of Marion, Indiana offered his amendment that kept in place the Gov's permanenet property tax caps (effective 2010) and added language to permanently eliminate property taxes on homesteads in 2012. Just as Harris was about to speak at the mic, the Speaker pulled the bill and killed it.

The marriage amendment was never offered. The Speaker killed the bill over the elimination of property taxes on homesteads.

Stunning turn of events. Nobody saw this coming.