Attention all Indiana voters: Your powers to elect a State Superintendent of Public Instruction are in jeopardy. Voters can defend the powers they have had for 166 years at a hearing this Monday, March 27 at 10 a.m. in the Senate Chamber.
Come to speak if you can or send messages to your Senators opposing House Bill 1005.
Is our democracy in Indiana fading? How much do voters want to keep their powers?
The leaders of the Senate have decided that when 26 Senators voted no on Senate Bill 179, nearly identical to House Bill 1005, it was not "decisively defeated." They want to bring it back to life.
The Senate has a rule regarding a defeated bill that says "that exact language or substantially similar language shall be considered decisively defeated and shall not be considered again during the session."
The Senate is apparently ready to interpret that rule to help the Governor and allow another vote on a similar bill with a few changes.
The Rules Committee will consider the bill and amendments to the bill at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 27 in the Senate Chamber.
Will Indiana voters defend their powers?
House Bill 1005 passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate after Senate leaders decided how to negate their own rule on "decisively defeated" bills. House Bill 1005 ends the use of the name "State Superintendent of Public Education" and would have the Governor appoint a "secretary of education." House Bill 1005 also removes the two-year Indiana residency requirement and requires no experience or licensing in education, stating only that the appointee would serve at the pleasure of the Governor for a salary determined by the Governor.
No amendments to HB 1005 have been posted, but speculation about changes includes three topics:
Power Leaves the People and Goes to the Governor
None of these possible amendments would change the basic question: Do Hoosier voters agree that they should give up the power to select the Indiana state school superintendent, a power they have had for 166 years, and to hand that power over to the Governor?
I say no. I say that voters should elect an independent voice to be the executive of the education system in Indiana, just as the framers of our Constitution intended.
No doubt the Governor would love to have the power to select the State Superintendent, but that would remove the power of voters to name an independent leader who knows Indiana education. Keeping this power in the hands of the people is what democracy is all about. We should maintain this power that voters have had for 166 years.
Are we about to diminish our democracy after 166 years? Are we about to diminish public education in Indiana by removing the public from the selection of the State Superintendent?
Is this just one more step in the death spiral of public education in Indiana envisioned by Milton Friedman and his followers?
Contact Senators to Keep the Power in the Hands of Voters
Individual voters need to step up to the plate if they want to keep their powers at the ballot box. Voters are about to lose a big one if they are not heard loudly and clearly in the next few days.
Besides emails and messages to Senators, I hope some voters will show up to testify that our democracy should not be diminished and voters should not lose their powers to the Governor.
The first Senators to contact are onthe Rules Committee which will vote on House Bill 1005 Monday morning, March 27th in the 10 am meeting.
The members of the Rules Committee to be contacted are:
Republican Senators Long, Holdman, Bray, Charbonneau, Eckerty, Hershman, Kruse and Merritt
Democratic Senators Lanane, Breaux, Randolph andTallian
(Group email for your "to" field:)
Then contact your own Senator or any Senator about this bill. They will all vote again on this proposal as they did on February 20th when 26 Senators voted no. You can thank all 26 in the list below and ask them to maintain their opposition:
Senators Becker, Glick, Leising, Stoops, Bohacek, Grooms, Melton, Tallian, Breaux, Head, Mishler, Taylor, Crane, Kenley, Mrvan, Tomes, Crider, Koch, Niemeyer, Young, Doriot, Kruse, Niezgodski, Ford, Lanane, Randolph
Group email for your "to" field:
In this era of activism and resistance, the voters of Indiana who don't want to lose their powers in our democracy need to go to work right away to oppose House Bill 1005!
Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!
Vic Smith firstname.lastname@example.org