The Indiana Legislature’s in its final week with several key issues yet to resolved. Indiana House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Pelath appeared on Afternoons with Amos to give a sober assessment of what Hoosiers face from the Republican supermajority. Pelath blasted Republicans and Gov. Mike Pence for their failure to deal with Medicare expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Pelath said that as many as 450,000 Hoosiers may not be covered under health care reform because of the failure of the Governor and the Legislature to act. Indiana’s unemployment rate is stagnant at 8.7% and Pelath was concerned that not moving on health care reform in Indiana means 30,000 new jobs won’t be added. A figure cited by the Indiana Hospital Association. Pelath warned that school districts like IPS and the township districts in Marion County and other cities across the state will see their school funding reduced under the proposed Republican budget plans. Pelath though was optimistic about legislation that will reform sentences for criminal offenses in Indiana. The proposed law would reduce penalties for non violence offenses and create more opportunities for alternative sentencing instead of incarceration in a state prison. Penalties, though would be enhanced for more violent crimes. Rep. Pelath, though saved his biggest criticism on GOP efforts to drastically change government in the state’s two biggest counties – Lake and Marion. Pelath blasted the Senate Bill 621 which would radically give more power to Indianapolis’ Mayor at the expense of the City-County Council. Calling it the “Worst Bill this Session”, Pelath said the plan would make the Indianapolis Mayor too powerful and would violate Indiana’s constitution, particularly the plan to give an unelected City Controller power of the budgets of constitutional county elected officials. Pelath also mention a bill that would allow the most white suburban of Griffith, Indiana to “secede” from Calumet Township, which includes most of majority-Black Gary, Indiana. This bill, like the Indianapolis Power Grab Bill is an unprecedented change in local government and in Pelath’s words sets a bad precedent for allowing a municipality to secede from one township to another. Click To Hear Rep. Scott Pelath’s Interview with Amos. Runs 18 Minutes ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.
Tags: Affordable care Act » Amos Brown » Calumet Township » education funding » Gov. Mike Pence » Indiana Democrats » Indiana economy » Indiana education funding » Indiana House Democrats » Indiana Legislature » Indiana sentencing reform » Indiana unemployment » Lake County » Medicaid expansion » Power Grab Bill » Rep. Scott Pelath » sentencing reform