2014 Indiana General Assembly

Pelath declares legislative session 'unproductive failure'

2014-02-21T23:30:00Z 2014-02-22T11:56:04Z Pelath declares legislative session 'unproductive failure'Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
February 21, 2014 11:30 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, is disappointed that the Republican-controlled General Assembly is on track to produce zero major accomplishments before adjourning for the year in just three weeks.

"It's time for the people of Indiana to ask what they're getting out of these two supermajorities and out of single-party rule of state government because I think it's about time to pronounce this session a miserable and unproductive failure," Pelath said.

He said not only have Republicans ignored Democratic proposals to expand access to health care, boost the minimum wage and offer tax benefits for college graduates who stay in the state, GOP leaders aren't even willing to support the agenda of Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

This week, the governor's preschool voucher program was turned into a study committee, his road funding plan was chopped in half and his business tax cut appeared to be on life support.

In addition, Pence's plea to put the marriage amendment on the ballot this year was rejected Monday by lawmakers, who postponed a public vote on the issue until at least 2016.

"It's somewhat insulting to the people of Indiana that not only do they (legislative Republicans) reject their own governor's bad ideas, but they don't even take the time to propose any bad ideas of their own," Pelath said.

"The people deserve a vision, they deserve leadership, they deserve more than just a Legislature that's spending its time here jaw-jacking with the lobbyists and not actually trying to implement a vision for the future of Indiana."

Pelath said he feels bad that Pence's proposals are having such a rough time in the Statehouse, but wondered if the governor even is interested in leading the state. On Friday, Pence refused to rule out a 2016 run for president during an interview on MSNBC.

"Is he happy just to say them and let the Legislature set them aside? If that's the case that would be possibly the bleakest of all possible outcomes," Pelath said. "I've seen governors get tough before. ... His predecessor knew what power he had. He used it to no good a lot of times I felt, but he did it."

Pence is spending the weekend in Washington, D.C., attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

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