The Journal Gazette
Sunday, April 04, 2021 1:00 am

Speaker recalls rookie mistake on 1st bill

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

House Speaker Todd Huston relived the demise of his first bill last week.

While a freshman member was presenting their first bill, the chamber – as is tradition – jokingly voted all red, or “no,” on the bill before slowly switching to green. They also teased the member a bit at the microphone.

But Huston said when his first bill went up on the board the red never changed – “it went down in flames,” he said.

It was Day 18 of his first legislative session when he brought House Bill 1364 to the floor in 2013. The bill would have prohibited online profiles to torment educators. It had passed unanimously in committee and school groups supported it.

So, Huston was feeling confident as he stepped to the microphone. Then a fellow Republican – a lawyer – stepped up to ask Huston some tough questions. Then another lawyer. And so on.

The vote was 68-30 against the bill.

Only later that session did Huston realize just how rare it is for a bill to be defeated on the floor.

Metaphor Madness

Thursday's COVID-19 news conference with local health and government leaders morphed into a sports metaphor contest.

As Dr. Matthew Sutter cautioned residents not to stop wearing masks and taking precautions against the virus, he sized up the state of the pandemic with a football metaphor.

“We are now at the 5-yard line. We've driven a long way. But now is not the time to spike the ball and start dancing,” he said.

Others in the room were quick to pick up the thread.

Mike Nutter, president of the Tin Caps minor league baseball team, said his metaphor was from “the best sport out there” as he compared the COVID-19 situation to the seventh-inning stretch or bringing in a closer in the ninth inning.

East Allen County Schools Superintendent Marilyn Hissong chimed in, saying that to end the pandemic “we need to make it into the end zone together.”

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry complained that he also had planned to use a sports metaphor in his remarks, but others “had used them all.”

Sutter added that he originally thought about using a basketball metaphor, given that the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament was still going on in Indianapolis, but changed his mind.

“There's no Indiana teams still in it now anyway,” said Sutter, who graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and also is affiliated with IU Health.

Dissing Dad

Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is used to taking heat on social media. But probably not from his son.

Jack Lucas quote-tweeted a Daily Mail story on Wednesday about Jim Lucas getting into an online sparring match with a Black Houston surgeon. The Indianapolis Star wrote the story, which said Jim Lucas brought up Blacks owning slaves and asked the surgeon if he received any college scholarships or assistance because of his skin color.

It was the latest in a line of online interactions involving Jim Lucas that many have called racist.

But this time Jack Lucas had his say – “What an embarrassment ... This is disgusting and there is no excuse for his comments.”

Rosa Salter Rodriguez of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Niki Kelly at Political Notebook can be found at

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