Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 20, 2014

Public Eye: Was Turner the only one?

CNHI Statehouse Bureau Chief Maureen Hayden and other Statehouse reporters didn’t get an answer as to why the House ethics committee hearing concerning State Rep. Eric Turner was postponed, but it now appears the committee will meet Wednesday.

A note on semantics here: State Rep. Greg Steuerwald, the ethics committee chairman, originally told reporters the hearing would take place April 10, but then let it be known that the hearing had actually not been scheduled. Whether that indicates the definition of “scheduled” is now “posted on the door of the meeting place” or otherwise is unclear, since the House Republican leadership has also let it be known that they’ll take no further questions on the matter.

The delay led to speculation that the House Republicans were trying to spare Turner any further blushes between now and the May 6 primary, where he faces Sheridan architect Parvin Gillim. The meeting was announced as back on Thursday, the same day an Indianapolis Star ran a column on the subject.

Now that the hearing is moving forward, the next question becomes whether an inquiry into Turner’s lobbying could stir up other issues.

Turner is under fire for privately lobbying against a bill which would have installed a one-year moratorium on new nursing home construction, a measure which would have negatively affected the nursing home business run by Turner’s son.

The Washington Times reported in March that two legislators with an interest in the nursing home moratorium bill – Turner and State Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis – were excused from voting on the measure.

State Rep. Heath VanNatter, R-Kokomo, told the Public Eye last month that Frizzell also spoke privately to the House Republican caucus in favor of the nursing home moratorium, in the same meeting that Turner lobbied against the bill.

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