Sunday, January 29, 2012

Worry Warts in the Indiana Legislature

HARBESON: Who’s worrying?
SOUTHERN INDIANA — Politicians sure seem to worry a lot. They’ve made the furrowed brow an art form, particularly during a legislative session when they introduce their bills that will supposedly fix the problems that worry them so.

For example, several state legislators are really worried about a problem concerning government education in Indiana. Their worry warts popped out immediately when these politicians found out that cursive writing is no longer a mandatory part of the government school curriculum.

I don’t know why they are so worried about this. If you know anything about the government schools, you know that teachers need to focus their limited time on other skills. Schools need to stop wasting time on cursive and focus on the single most important skill students need to succeed in today’s government school system in our modern age — learning how to correctly fill in answer bubbles with a No. 2 pencil.

(By the way, proponents of this law want to include private schools who accept vouchers. This is the second example I’ve found this legislative session proving that politicians will treat voucher-accepting schools exactly the same as fully funded government schools when creating new laws and regulations.)

Legislators are also worried about the ethics law that was passed a couple of years ago. Politicians say certain organizations that help pay their expenses for out of state trips should be exempt from this law because they are educational groups, not lobbyists, and legislators need to be educated on important topics.

Okay this one has me worried. Obviously Indiana has a bunch of woefully uneducated people who claim to be in charge because they seem to have no clue about how to use technology. I guess they’ve never heard of live online virtual conferences. I guess they’ve never heard of uploading video to the Web. I guess they’ve never heard of podcasts. I guess they’ve never heard of emailing pdfs and PowerPoint presentations. They must think their only alternative to a trip paid for by these “educational” groups is to read long reports written in cursive and sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

Alcohol purchases on Sundays provided another worry for some legislators, but not for long. They have no more worries for this year because the bill has been killed in committee. Part of the discussion centered on the lack of clear evidence that selling alcohol on Sundays would increase the tax revenue collected by the state. And if a legislative action doesn’t help the government collect more money, well, then they’re not going to worry about changing anything.

Hey, why the furrowed brow? You didn’t think the Sunday alcohol proposal was based on a foundational principle of freedom did you? I’m sincerely worried about you if you think individual liberty has anything to do with actions taken by the state legislature.

Finally, let’s talk about the worries of Southern Indiana legislator Rhonda Rhoads. During her campaign she appeared to be very worried about the taxpayer. I have several of her postcard advertisements and they all talk about how worried she is and how she wants to stand up for you, the taxpayer.

But now that she’s been elected she doesn’t seem quite so worried about all taxpayers. She is sponsoring a bill, known as the “parent trigger” that would convert a government school to a charter school if 51 percent of the parents vote for it. But when asked why this proposal does not include all taxpayers forced to support the school in question, Rhoads said the taxpayers without children wouldn’t know enough about what’s going on at the school.

In other words, you ignorant, uninformed taxpayers who have no children in a government school just don’t need to worry your pretty little heads about this politician’s proposed legislation. Just shut up and pay.

No wonder so many people worry when the legislature is in session.

Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson has been unable to find a set of worry beads strong enough to last her through an entire legislative session.

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