Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 5, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: What is the cost of controversy?

Indiana has paid ACLU more than $900,000 since 2008.

What is the cost of controversy to you, the taxpayer?

In the past five years, legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly has defunded Planned Parenthood and created new immigration laws, and there have been moves to amend the Indiana Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

In addition, the Indiana attorney general has challenged a key provision in the Affordable Care Act, and the Indiana treasurer attempted to thwart the 2009 merger of Chrysler and Fiat.

The Republican-dominated Legislature passed these controversial measures over increasingly smaller and weaker Democratic minorities. The responding Democratic battle cry often has been: See you in court.

And we’ve seen the law defunding Planned Parenthood and parts of the immigration law struck down by the federal appellate courts.

In fact, from 2008 to the present, the state has paid $916,426.37 in plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees to the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in 16 lawsuits where the ACLU prevailed against the state.

Recently, Indiana dodged another showdown when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles reinstated the specialty plate of a gay-youth advocacy group. ACLU attorney Ken Falk agreed to dismiss yet another federal lawsuit in return for the restoration of the plates.

The irony here is that Hoosier lawmakers and officeholders — many carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in their pockets — routinely pass legislation that fails to pass constitutional muster.

When seeking the cost of controversy, the easiest answer comes in the Chrysler-Fiat merger challenge by Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who paid $2 million to the New York law firm of White & Case in a case the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear.

Many of the other controversial cases did end up with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office. And this is where the question of how much do Indiana taxpayers spend on these cases winds up in an apples-vs.-oranges dynamic.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Happy marriages do not just happen My wife, Marylu, and I met through a mutual friend. My wife had been involved with Campus Crusade at her university, where my friend, Norman, also attended. One Christmas break, Norman invited his friends from church (including me) to a party — along

    July 27, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Truth about inflation Almost nothing in economics seems to confuse people as much as monetary inflation. That confusion leaves an intellectual void into which some of the least credible ideas of the modern world crawl.Goods and services typically have a price dictated in

    July 27, 2014

  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller