Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 28, 2013

Public Eye


Kokomo Tribune

---- — Blowing in the wind

Earlier this year State Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, told residents of Tipton County that he would seek to have a legislative summer study committee appointed to study the benefits and impact of wind farms in the state.

Buck did get a resolution passed authorizing the committee, but the leadership in the Indiana House and Senate declined to appoint a committee.

Last week, Buck indicated there was little chance of studying the wind energy issue this year, and also noted no legislation was introduced concerning wind farms. This is a concern for wind farm opponents.

The legislature rarely takes on a big issue without first hashing out some ground rules, either in a summer study session or through committee hearings on an actual bill. Since no one filed a bill, and since the legislative leadership won’t assign a summer study committee, there’s a good bet nothing will happen on the wind energy front when the legislature meets next year.

Usually the legislative protocol works like this: First, file a bill, get it as far in the process as you can and see if it draws any interest; knowing it won’t pass the first year. Second, press to have the issue dealt with in a summer study committee. Third, bring the bill back in the next legislative session, properly vetted this time and see how much further it gets. Keep doing this until you get the bill, almost certainly in a form far different than its first incarnation, passed.

Several members of the Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development, opposed to wind energy, believe Buck’s move was a form of appeasement for the next election cycle.

More strip club silliness

Kokomo Common Councilman Bob Cameron, D-2nd, is dead serious about wanting to regulate the city’s strip clubs, although he concedes there are some limitations as to what he can legally accomplish.

Last week, Cameron said he won’t pursue the idea of requiring strippers to be licensed by the city, citing constitutional concerns. But that’s not to say he’s run out of ideas.

The latest one to attract his interest is the idea of taxing lap dances. He plans to broach the idea when the council’s Public Safety & Welfare committee meets Monday.

“There is a ton of money flowing through those places, and it’s all cash,” Cameron noted.

The idea might not be as far-fetched as it might seem. The city of Philadelphia has gone to court recently to argue the city’s 5 percent amusement tax should apply to lap dances. The city’s strip clubs are banding together tofight it.

Clarification

In the July 7 edition of The Public Eye, we passed along an obvious misstatement from Howard County Election Board member Mark Bourff which should have been double-checked.

At the July election board meeting, Bourff claimed, wrongly, that one candidate in the 2011 city election received thousands more votes than any other candidate on the ballot. Bourff was corrected at the meeting by other members, who noted Mayor Greg Goodnight had received 5,596 votes in his landslide victory over Republican Scott Kern. The next highest vote-getters were Kokomo Common Council at-large candidates Bob Hayes, with 4,500 votes, and Mike Kennedy, with 4,484 votes. Both election board chairman Jim Watkins and Howard County Clerk Kim Wilson said there was nothing unusual in the count.