02/28/11Friday afternoon Indiana Representative Nancy Dembowski released her weekly “Statehouse Report.” She addressed issues including the Democrats leaving the state to avoid a quorum and the legislation being proposed that that can’t stop due to the Republicans having a majority. Her report follows in its complete form:
In response to the House majority’s decision to advance an agenda that I feel will cause great harm to millions of Hoosiers, House Democrats have relocated operations to Urbana, Illinois. We will return to Indianapolis when the people in charge understand that they need to stop what they’re doing because it will hurt the people of this state.
These are not decisions that are made lightly. I fully understand that these actions will be criticized by many. We will be “ordered” to get back to the Statehouse and “do our jobs.” I already have decided to refuse the regular per diem we receive throughout the entire time that we are working in Illinois.
But I believe I am doing my job when I question the determined pursuit of proposals that will destroy the quality of education that your children receive and take money out of your pockets. I will not stand by while an anti-family agenda is being forced down your throats.
Over the past few days, thousands of Hoosiers have come to the Statehouse to tell the world what will happen if the programs sought by those who are in charge of state government are allowed to become law.
These are folks who follow the rules and have no desire other than to earn an honest dollar, care for their families and make sure their kids have the chance to succeed.
And they are being ignored by the leaders of this state’s government.
The public schools of Indiana already have been ordered by the governor to cut the programs and services they are constitutionally required to provide to our children by $600 million the past two years. Now they face a new proposed state budget that diverts even more support toward programs that are available only to a select few.
And if you can’t get into a charter school or qualify for a taxpayer-funded voucher? Your schools will have larger classes. You won’t have the kind of access to programs and materials that will enable you to get the skills that can help you take full advantage of your individual abilities and succeed in life.
The situation is equally as dire for the men and women of this state who put in a good day’s work and deserve a good day’s pay. Hoosiers already earn only 85 cents for every dollar that’s earned by the average American.
The people of Indiana do not need proposals that have a lengthy, documented history of driving down incomes for working men and women, preventing them from obtaining health care and other protections for their families, and keeping them from being able to set aside enough to help them after they retire.
These ideas are being touted as this session’s major job creation plan for Hoosiers who are out of work. This comes at a time when close to 300,000 people in our state are classified as unemployed and hundreds of thousands more are considered unemployable.
Consistently during my time as a state lawmaker, I have emphasized the need for passing programs that get people back to work. The proposals being advanced this session will cost us jobs and take money away from working Hoosiers.
Here is one more point to mention.
As this week came to a close, the governor signed into law a bill that was called unemployment insurance “reform.” It was praised for its fairness to corporate Indiana. Nowhere was it mentioned that it cuts unemployment benefits for out-of-work Hoosiers by 25 percent.
Those of us who chose this course have been called every name in the book by the interests that pursue the agenda I have just detailed. We are told that we lost our rights to complain after the results of last November’s election.
But I do not believe that agenda is what the people of Indiana want. The thousands who have come to the Statehouse in recent days have made that clear.
For now, we will continue to heed their advice and give all Hoosiers a chance to find out what the leaders of their state government want to do.
You’d better believe this is one of those times when I want to hear from you.
Please call the toll-free Statehouse telephone number of 1-800-382-9842, write to me in care of the Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, or send a message to my web site at www.in.gov/H17.