As campaign season heats up and primary races take shape, one has to wonder how much longer we will be seeing this. It seems that everywhere you turn, there are stories about the rift in the Republican Party. One of the reasons is that seems to be somewhat of a power vacuum within the GOP as there isn’t a true leader of the party and there hasn’t been since the mid-term elections of 2006. While Speaker John Boehner is the highest ranking Republican in the land, I don’t think you can say he is the “leader of the party”*. Without leadership, the direction of the party has been rather aimless
(Editor’s note: I know we try to stay away from social issues here…but when things are this big we have to talk about them)
I think the utter disgrace of what is happening in Arizona right now is spilling over to other states, including some of those in the Midwest. Arizona’s proposed legislation – SB1062 – would allow business owners to deny service to customers due to the proprietor’s “strongly held religious beliefs”.
Lost in the shuffle of hubbub of HJR-3 was Indiana SB 229 – a bill that bans the practice of gun buy-back programs organized by municipalities. The bill passed the Indiana Senate and is now being considered by the Indiana House. I think I might be missing something here because this one is a head-scratcher.
Today, Representative John Dingell (D-MI 12) announced he would not seek re-election to the U.S. House. While it seems that every week one or two of the 535 Members of Congress (435 in the House plus 100 in the Senate) announces their intention to not seek re-election (i.e retire), Dingell’s announcement is especially noteworthy. You see, John Dingell has served in the House since the Eisenhower Administration! No joke, Dingell won his first election to the House on Dec 13, 1955 and has never looked back. Even more astounding, he succeeded his father, meaning a Dingell has held the same seat in Congress for the past 80(!!!) years.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – this story was originally published on 2/13 in my column at IVN)
It seems that in every cycle there is debate about which states should hold the first presidential primary elections. Some state always seems to try to jump ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire. Since 1972, the Iowa Caucuses have been first in the nation and New Hampshire has been the first “primary” since 1920.There, of course, have been states that have attempted to circumvent Iowa and New Hampshire, claiming that they don’t truly represent America as they are small states with seemingly narrow demographics. This has led to a few reform proposals where states are ordered based on population and demographics or grouped together to be more representative of the nation as a whole.
The U.S. Senate race in Michigan is one of a few that will gain national notoriety. Michigan is labeled a “blue” state due to the fact it has swung in favor of the Democrats in every race since President George H. W. Bush’s election (1988) and has two Democratic Senators. However, the majority of the state’s congressional delegation is Republican. The governor, Rick Snyder, is a Republican and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the Republicans. So, as you see, labeling it a “blue” state is simply lazy. While the media and every ignorant national political analyst will talk about Michigan being “blue”…the state is actually quite purple. Republicans can win in Michigan.
This weeks contestant on “So you think you have a budget surplus” is Wisconsin. Recently, Governor Scott Walker announced his intentions to push forward with a $500 million tax cut due to a projected surplus of around $1 billion. The tax cuts would be applied to both property taxes and income taxes. Why the hurry to do this now instead of when the surplus is actually realized? Well, re-election of course. Walker will be running for his second term in 2014.
So, HJR-3 is behind us now. The Indiana legislature can move on to things they should actually be legislating (novel concept, that). Of course, during the time when everyone was spinning their wheels on HJR-3 they could have been spending it on some other areas where Hoosiers need help. I feel like taxpayers should demand a refund for the time the legislature wasted.
The Detroit Red Wings are getting a new arena…and all of Michigan is paying for it. The Red Wings, owned by pizza mogul and billionaire Mike Ilitch (also owner of the Detroit Tigers), will be moving out of the Joe Louis Arena and into the new space by the time the 2016-17 hockey season rolls around. The new space will be located near the existing Ford Field (home of the Lions) and Comerica Park (home of the Ilitch owned Tigers) essentially creating a year-round draw for the area.
News out of Indiana yesterday that HJR 3 will most likely pass out of the Indiana Senate unchanged from the House, allowing it to be passed by both chambers, signed, and sent to the Governor. The real news though is that the Indiana Senate is passing the altered House version and not the original language version. What does this mean? Well for a constitutional amendment to be added to the State’s constitution it must pass 2 consecutive general assemblies (not years, but general assemblies) and then be passed on the November election ballot by the qualified voters of Indiana. HJR 3 will not be on the November ballot because this general assembly is passing a version with slightly different language than what passed during the last general assembly. This means the process of amending the state’s constitution has basically been reset.