Political Notebook

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Long OK with criticism

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, has used the Rules Committee liberally this year to kill off bad legislation.

He has assigned more than 20 bills there -- plus dozens of other empty vehicle bills -- from class basketball to guns on campus and the Lord's Prayer.

Long said "some of these bills just aren't reasonable." Or they are blatantly unconstitutional.

For instance, Senate Bill 230 -- which provides that any federal act, order, law, rule, regulation, or statute found by the general assembly to be inconsistent with the power granted to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is void in Indiana.

It specifically voids the federal health care act, and would make it a felony to enforce any provision of the law in Indiana.

Long said legislators promise to uphold the federal and state constitution and can't pass unconstitutional legislation like this. He noted the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the majority of the health care law.

"It's my responsibility to take the heat. It comes with the job," he said.

The Tenth Amendment Center has attacked Long for blocking Senate Bill 230.

"Hey, Dave! Joe Biden is on the phone. He wants to thank you on behalf of President Obama for your support," Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. "Maybe Long should consider switching parties."

Boldin went on to say "this is not Long's personal fiefdom" and he should allow the bill a hearing and vote.

"For one man to block a popular bill because he either doesn't want to stick his neck out and oppose D.C., or he actually stands on Obama's side, is unacceptable."

Long said he understand citizens are frustrated but he can't advocate unconstitutional legislation.

He noted that he sent more bills to Rules this year partly because the second-highest number of bills ever were filed, 621.

But he also said some senators file a bill strictly to make a statement and never expect it to get a hearing.

GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma said fewer of these "statement" bills are filed in his chamber because lawmakers there have a 10-bill limit in the long session. There are no such limits in the Senate.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.