Feb 24, 2006

HB1190 -- Direct Wine Sales

OPPOSE: We oppose this as it's written, but totally killing some effort to protect a local industry is even more irresponsible. Legislation should be offered at no cost to the State, that protects an industry rather than threatening it. Wineries should maintain their ability to sell and ship direct to customers without being required to go through a middle man who will trim the wineries' margins, bulk up their own and control what product the public can access. The loser in this are the "Buy Indiana" wine drinkers that enjoy an occasional local treat.

We have a governor claiming to want to grow businesses across the state. We have a legislature and local governments that encourage public financial incentives for the smallest of projects.

Yet, the legislature would like us to now penalize a small, but successful cottage industry of Indiana wineries by limiting their long-established practice of direct sales to customers. Of course, this is at the hands of the longer-established distribution companies that have a stranglehold on alcohol sales channels. It's enough to make Joe Kennedy proud.

In its latest legislative twist, Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Garton is not going to allow the bill to advance. Rather, he prefers to put this back in the courts where nine Indiana wineries are challenging a government order not allowing them to ship in-state.

Status: Passed House 60-36. In Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. Killed for now by Sen. Garton.

Feb 23, 2006

Update -- HB1010 - Eminent Domain

Rep. David Wolkins kindly phoned the office today with an update on HB1010, his legislation to make eminent domain abuses a practice of the past. (Well, at least until Quick Fix and Indy Mayor Peterson squeeze out the NK Hurst company....then the legislation can take effect.) He noted in the phone message that they have a handful of amendments on the table for a Monday session. He was pretty neutral on the changes and I concur they don't appear to be anything that would change the tone nor purpose of this bill. We'll still watch for those changes.

Kudos to Wolkins for taking this on this session -- now if we could only have him look clearly at the terms of the toll road sale -- oh, sorry, that's a lease. Oh, wait, it's a "sale" that just looks like a "lease."

Feb 21, 2006

SB47 -- Free Criminal Background Checks for Religious Organizations

OPPOSE: The taxpayers should not carry the financial burden for staffing decisions made by not-for-profit and religious organizations. SB47, authored by Sen. Hershman and passed out of the Senate 48-1, provides exactly that. It provides for free background checks on potential employees and volunteers. If background checks are prohibitively expensive, maybe we should revisit their costs for all interested parties.

Status: Passed Senate 48-1; passed out of House Committee 11-0; up for full House.

House Committee for Public Health

The House Committee for Public Health is hearing two Senate bills today with the option of amending and voting on each. Both, whether well-intended or not, seem to create more levels of bureaucracy or mask the purpose and intent. Libertarian? Support? Oppose? You tell me.

Take the polls for the following two bills under consideration on our Liberty Beacon Yahoo! Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lpin

SB270 -- Family Social Service Agency Matters
Smoke and mirrors? This bill proposes the name of the program change from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Temporary would be nice, but the bill goes on to remove the "prompt and diligent efforts to verify information in indigent care applications" language. We all understand the staff at FSSA is overworked and under-appreciated. While we commend the jobs they do, should the government be providing a path to least resistance in handing out public dollars? Also, the bill authored by Senator Miller requires state staff to seek an exemption of copayments at the time of treatment for non-emergency services delivered at hospital emergency rooms. This passed out of the Senate 50-0.

Read the full text of the bill and see the action on SB270.

SB284 -- Statewide Trauma System
This bill establishes a statewide trauma system under the authority of the Indiana Department of Health. It authorizes the Department of Health to "adopt" rules concerning the trauma system. "Adopt" or "impose"? It would seem that a private network of hospitals could arrange this with the government's brokerage, not oversight and "authority". OH, this passed the Senate 50-0, also. What's this we hear about bi-partisan battles at the Statehouse?

Read the full text of the bill and see the action on SB284.

Sign on or join our Yahoo! group and take the polls on these bills. Results will be posted later this week.
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