Op Ed

New Indiana Laws Thumb Nose At Democrats, Poor People

In a series of sweeping laws enacted in Indiana today, our elected representatives once again abandoned common sense and common good in favor of “What can POSSIBLY go wrong?” legislation aimed at turning our fine state into a live action game of Grand Theft Auto.

The Republicans are playing it fast and loose with the majority they have pretty much everywhere in state and local politics.  I’m a lefty, and I’m all for a little spirited debate, but it’s kind of a dick move to crush the constituents who didn’t vote for you under your boot.  We’re a two-party system for a reason.  It sucks less than a one-party system.

Anyway, not all the laws are ridiculous.  One bans texting and driving, one promotes start-ups, and one makes high school athletes with head injuries be cleared by a physician before they can play again. They’re banning the faux weed “incense” sold at gas stations and record stores state wide.  The kids have names for it, but I feel old and stupid when I type them. This is likely a good thing.  On the other hand, a lot more Hoosiers stand to be unemployed soon, and in parts of the state, there isn’t much else to do. Those folks will return to the real stuff, and then lose their UI benefits when they can’t pass the newly minted requirement to piss test everybody who gets unemployment.

7500 of our poorest students will be getting private school vouchers, but hopefully they’ll pay attention to the crosswalk lights on the way to their new schools, because Hoosier pedestrians no longer have the right of way without the crosswalk.  Going to school every day will be an even better idea than it is today, because it’s one of the few places in Indiana where it’s still illegal to carry a gun.  Along with courthouses, prisons and hospitals.  So plenty of brand new and unarmed parents can welcome new babies, because it’s the law to tell women considering abortion that life begins at fertilization.

The inevitable immigration related laws hold businesses accountable for hiring U.S. citizens, and requires college students to prove citizenship to receive certain benefits.  So, we’ve got drugs, entrepreneurs, public safety, unemployment benefits, abortion, traffic, guns and immigration, in a time when we really need a lot more jobs.  Helping college kids build start-ups might bring us some jobs down the line, but nothing else on the table addresses Indiana’s real problems.  Drug testing unemployment recipients alone is going to cost an astronomical amount of taxpayer money.  We can’t get our public schools enough textbooks for every kid, but we can buy piss tests for 8-10% of the population? Our neighborhoods are crumbling around houses that dropped 70% in value and we need to make it harder to get an abortion? Our upcoming economic Hail Mary, the Superbowl, might not happen because of the NFL strike, and you’re making it easier for people to shoot each other? What the hopping hell, Indiana.  We’re supposed to be smarter, and kinder, than this.

So as we swing into beer, barbeque and fireworks weekend here in Indiana, with our gun-toting, SUV-driving, broke, angry and unemployed neighbors, we’re hoping for the best.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

2 replies on “New Indiana Laws Thumb Nose At Democrats, Poor People”

I think actually, if you did your research, that “spice” is no more harmful than actual marijuana, which should be legalized. It’s bad that Indiana’s going this route, but given the state’s standing on topics ranging from abortion to domestic violence I’m not surprised. While I’m for welfare recipients being drugtested, unemployment benefits are something else that’s in large part paid by the employer that made the individual unemployed to begin with. Such benefits are not welfare, contrary to what many professionals and spouses of professionals believe.

Also, don’t feel so bad about the superbowl. It will happen but it will not have a lasting effect on your economy, positive or negative. Ask Pittsburgh about the Major League Baseball All-Star game and it’s lasting effect on the economy.

There’s not enough research on “spice” to convince me one way or another on it’s safety, and there have been related deaths in Indiana. I’m pretty sure weed still hasn’t killed anyone. I agree weed should be legalized, and I’m opposed to piss testing welfare recipients for the same reason I’m opposed to pisstesting the unemployed, it costs too much, and being poor isn’t probable cause.

The SuperBowl may not completely revitalize Indiana, but the influx of tourist dollars in our economy certainly won’t hurt, and may even help in the short-term. Providing we don’t shoot or run over the fans while they’re here.

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