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… And other bad bills

Sen. Dennis Kruse’s school prayer proposal is, unfortunately, just one of several bad bills under consideration in the Indiana General Assembly. Many of them are more than just misguided public policy proposals. They concern divisive social issues unlikely to be resolved with legislation, and they are diversions from important legislative matters concerning taxes and spending.

Many also appear to represent tea party points of view and have a number of elements that would expand government control, even though tea party followers say they are for smaller government.

Among the bad bills that should – but not necessarily will – be headed for the legislative trash bin:

•House Bill 1051, by Republican Rep. Suzanne Crouch, would require that “music therapists” in Indiana have proper credentials. This proposal comes at a time when many lawmakers want to reduce – not increase – the number of professions the state governs.

•State Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City offers Senate Bill 99, which paradoxically states that “gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in Indiana”; yet “A person may not compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government.” The bill also states that any capital gains derived from selling gold and silver are exempt from sales tax and can be deducted from a Hoosier’s adjusted gross income for state tax purposes.

•Senate Bill 130 is another Kruse bill. This would declare that any gun made and kept in Indiana “is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration.”

•In Senate Bill 191, Kruse makes another effort to prevent school from starting earlier than the day after Labor Day.

•Senate Bill 101 is yet another attempt to restrict women’s right to abortion. Sponsored by Kruse and Banks, the bill would require abortion providers to distribute to patients written materials that the Indiana Department of Health would have to create. For two senators who often call for smaller government and less regulation, this bill regulates minutiae of the written materials, including such requirements as: “Cover title of ‘A Woman’s Right to Know’ in at least 28 point font size and bold”; “Pictures in color”; “Information concerning the availability of adoption.” Providers would have to pay the state for the cost of the material.

•Senate Bill 120, by Sen. Jean Leising, would require elementary schools – including “An accredited nonpublic elementary school” – to provide instruction in cursive writing.

•Sen. Mike Delph, in Senate Bill 55, wants to abolish grand juries, even though they are used sparingly, and usually for good reason, in Indiana.

•Delph also wants to revisit – yet again – the state’s time zones, sponsoring a resolution calling for the U.S. Department of Transportation to have hearings on putting the entire state in the central time zone.