PHIL WIELAND: Legislature great at dealing with problems we don't have

2013-02-15T00:00:00Z PHIL WIELAND: Legislature great at dealing with problems we don't haveBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
February 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It's heartening that the Indiana Legislature provides gainful employment to the mentally challenged, but sometimes they introduce bills that become laws.

I think the other legislators feel sorry for them. It's sort of like when everybody gets a medal just for showing up.

That has to be the only explanation for the success of a state constitutional amendment backed by State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Who-Knows-What-Planet and the man with the best porn film name in the Legislature.

Steele is halfway to adding an amendment to guarantee Hoosiers the right to "hunt, fish, harvest game and engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, poultry and dairy products," subject only to the limits imposed by the Legislature.

The measure passed in 2011 and needs House approval to go on the state ballot for adoption as a permanent part of the Indiana Constitution. What Hoosier is going to vote against a potential threat to their right to hunt, fish and harvest game? Darn few, I'm thinking.

And just who are the Commie, terrorist, tree-hugging SOBs who are threatening Hoosiers' rights to kill anything with fur, fins and the IQ of a legislator? According to Steele, it's radical and outsider groups like the U.S. Humane Society, which he said is secretly plotting to eliminate meat from Hoosiers' diets.

Do these people take paranoia pills before or after they get elected, or does someone put "Stupid Water" in the Capitol drinking fountains? I wonder if those secret meetings also are where the Obama administration is plotting the seizure of everyone's guns.

Steele admits there's very little chance anyone would ever succeed in forcing us all to eat rabbit food, but he wants to be sure it never happens. The easiest threats to prevent are the ones that don't exist. He doesn't see a need to guarantee any other activities against nonexistent threats, but he said it will always be up to the Legislature to determine when such constitutional guarantees are needed.

It's too bad the Legislature doesn't have a judge or someone with more sense than God gave a grapefruit to review proposed legislation and decide, as with many lawsuits, whether it is frivolous and throw it out rather than waste time better spent dealing with real problems. Steele's amendment should be dismissed with prejudice, meaning it could never be introduced again.

The amendment cleared the Senate this week, which doesn't leave much hope that common sense and reason will prevent it from being on the ballot in 2014. As Steele said, "Fishing, hunting and farming are part of our heritage."

Unfortunately, so are boneheaded legislators.

The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached at phil.wieland@nwi.com or (219) 548-4352.

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