Last December, the 78-year old O'Bannon married a retired Indianapolis attorney, 84-year old Donald Willsey, after drawing her state pension check for about 10 years. When her late husband died in 2003, he left behind an estate worth several million dollars. Indiana state lawmakers believe that Judy O'Bannon got a raw deal in only being allowed to collect a pension for a decade so guess what? They're changing the law just for her.
That's right. An insertion into a pension bill, HB 1075, sponsored by State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Greenwood) and Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus), removes those five offensive words from the Indiana Code, "unless the surviving spouse remarries," so O'Bannon can continue receiving her $30,000 a year pension, in addition to her social security check and the millions she inherited from her late husband. After all, those trips she enjoys taking throughout the world are very costly and somebody needs to pay the bills. So why not you?
According to a blog entry on WISH-TV's website by its State House reporter, Jim Shella, lawmakers never even mentioned the O'Bannon provision in the pension bill when lawmakers heard it in conference committee. When he asked them about it, they had no problem defending the change in law for her benefit:
Republican Woody Burton is the author. “She’s moving on with her life and I don’t think you should cut her off just because of that,” he said.
“It’s an archaic law. It shouldn’t occur,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long. “Frank O’Bannon earned that pension and so did Judy and she deserves it so we’re going to try and fix that.”
No one even mentioned the O’Bannon provision at the conference committee meeting. It must still be approved by both the House and Senate.
Worth noting, Frank O’Bannon was a Democrat and it’s Republicans who are working behind the scenes to get this law changed.Republicans helping a Democrat? Huh. More like Republicrats helping a Republicrat. It's so difficult to distinguish the political differences between most Republicans and Democrats in this state. I'm very disappointed to see that Sen. Greg Walker is sponsoring this bill. So much for that phony conservative crap he used to topple former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Garton. Wasn't self-dealing benefits for State House politicos one of the big issues he used in his campaign against Garton? It didn't take him long to become a part of the problem. I can't wait until multi-millionaires Evan Bayh and Mitch Daniels start drawing their pension checks from the state. Only a year to go for Mitch.