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Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:03 AM
By MATTHEW BUTLER
    
INDIANAPOLIS – A Washington Post headline earlier this month read, “Congrats Missouri, you’re no longer the nation’s meth-bust capital.” Now that dubious distinction belongs to Indiana.
    
In 2013 Indiana led the country with 1,808 meth lab busts. The states behind us were Tennessee (1,500), the former national leader Missouri (1,400), and Ohio (1,010). This isn’t a new phenomenon; 2013 caps a seven-year trend of increasing meth-related incidents statewide and their mounting costs, both fiscal and human. Indications of a worsening crisis are spurring louder calls for action and Republican leadership in the House, Senate, and governor’s office appears more receptive to tougher policies.
    
Some, however, argue the surge in lab busts can be attributed to improved police techniques. State Sen. Carlin Yoder believes good police work is primarily driving the jump in bust numbers, not necessarily a worsening meth problem. He argues new technologies are successfully tracking the sale of cold medicines containing the meth ingredient of pseudoephedrine (PSE), preventing illegal sales in real time, and leading police to the meth cooks. “In my mind we’re busting more meth labs,” he told Howey Politics, “and that’s a good thing.”
   
The individual limits severely constrained meth cooks and forced them to find another means of supply: ‘smurfing.’ The increased demand led to third-party individuals selling seemingly-legal bought PSE to meth cooks. Consequently, the lucrative trade has brought more and more Hoosiers into the meth business even if they’re not cooks or users.
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  • By CRAIG DUNN
    KOKOMO – A packed house at the Howard County Lincoln/Reagan dinner was treated to a visit by U.S. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.  After a busy day touring the 4th and 5th Congressional districts with Reps. Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks, McCarthy joined Howard County Republicans for their annual tribute to two of our greatest presidents. Considering that I am a devotee of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” a program featuring a fictional Democratic Majority Whip Frank Underwood who is the walking definition of ruthlessness, I was very interested to see if Kevin McCarthy was anything like the fictional Underwood. McCarthy was engaging, personable and seemed to genuinely enjoy rubbing elbows with the locals. This son of a Democrat firefighter from Bakersfield, Calif., fit in well with the Howard County Republicans and they warmly received him. McCarthy’s rise to political power would be grist for a Damon Runyon novel.   
  • By MORTON J. MARCUS
    INDIANAPOLIS - From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services to correct, in part, their failure to fund their state and local pension plans. Illinois’ difficulties prompted Indiana’s leaders to hunt like vultures for carrion on the other side of the border. We celebrate every family or firm that moves from the Land of Lincoln to the Hoosier state. Are there no Hoosiers moving to Illinois? Readers of this column urged me to compare the economic records of the two states and thereby prove that our policies are superior to those of our embarrassed neighbors. When it comes to private sector jobs, Indiana has out-performed Illinois. We had a 1.7 percent decline in jobs from 2007 to 2013; Illinois fell by 3.2 percent over that period. We ranked 24th among the states in private job growth, while Illinois ranked 35th in the nation. 
  • By JACK COLWELL
    SOUTH BEND - Today is Dyngus Day. Well, maybe not everybody knows. Thus, for newcomers who never heard of such a thing _ also for others who never go Dyngusing or go and don’t quite understand why _ I again fulfill my obligation to explain this event. Q. Where did Dyngus Day come from? A. Poland. It’s traced back to a spring observance there, where dousing maidens with water was a feature. The splashing is said to have been inspired by the mass baptisms when Christianity was embraced by Poland in 966. That’s 1,048 years ago, just before the Cubs last won the World Series.
        
     
  • By BRIAN A. HOWEY
    INDIANAPOLIS - Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is that Brown is the powerful Republican chairman of the Indiana House Ways & Means Committee, which plays a huge role in developing $30 billion biennial budgets. Bucshon is the Republican congressman from Southwestern Indiana. The two were embarking on a statewide “listening tour.” In more than three decades of covering Indiana politics, I cannot remember a legislator and member of Congress doing anything like this. And it couldn’t come at a better time. The Affordable Care Act – or “Obamacare” – had just passed its first signup deadline.  
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Bayh discusses 2016
Former Indiana governor and senator Evan Bayh talks about 2016 and a possible candidacy (WTHR-TV)
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  • House Ethics likely to clear Turner
    By MATTHEW BUTLER
        
    INDIANAPOLIS — All of the evidence reviewed by the House Ethics Committee Wednesday afternoon suggests it has not found any technical wrongdoing on the part of Rep. Eric Turner. The panel convened to consider rules and ethics allegations leveled against the House Republicans’ second-highest ranking member and Speaker Pro Tempore. The committee plans reconvene later this month. The complaint was initiated by State Democratic Party Chairman John Zody when he requested House Speaker Brian Bosma investigate the matter. The Speaker then referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee. At issue is whether Turner violated conflict of interest rules and/or the Code of Ethics when he helped quash a proposed new nursing home construction moratorium during the 2014 Session. Turner’s son and daughter lead a family-owned firm, Mainstreet Properties, that had several nursing homes under construction within the state. Turner and his family, according to the Associated Press, stood to gain millions if the moratorium failed.
     
  • Horse Race: Indy spurns 2016 conventions
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    KEY WEST, Fla. - Former Indiana Republican chairman Mike McDaniel has always envisioned a national political convention - even a Democratic one - for Indianapolis. But during the state’s 2016 bicentennial year, it’s not going to happen. Earlier this week, the Democratic National Committee included Indianapolis in a list of 15 cities that it is inviting to submit a bid. But Republican Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said the city is “unlikely” to make a bid. “Given our previously scheduled major events such as the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2015, NCAA Women’s Final Four in 2016, 2016 Olympic trials and other conventions; it is highly unlikely Indy could provide the space and private funds needed to host either major party national convention in 2016,” Ballard spokesman Mac Lotter said.
     
  • Breezy Pence prep for '16 preezy run
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY
        
    ISLAMORADA, Fla. - Gov. Pence, you’re busted! For a man who has not spent one minute thinking about running for president in 2016, the milepost flash came last Thursday afternoon when Fox News First revealed an exclusive advance copy of remarks the Indiana governor would be making at the historic Adlon Hotel near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. This was a national advance that eluded the Hoosier press. This would be no economic development announcement creating German jobs for Hoosiers in LaPorte, South Bend and Columbia City. We’ll let Fox News pick up the narrative: He will decry “Russian aggression” and call on President Obama to resurrect a planned missile-defense shield for Eastern Europe that Obama scrapped in 2009.
     
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  • Rep. Kersey discusses Turner probe
    “What happens in caucus stays in caucus. As far as everything else, he followed the rules.” - State Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, after the House Ethics Committee heard testimony on Wednesday involving State Rep. Eric Turner. The committee appears to be poised to exonerate Turner. It will meet again on April 30. See complete story below. 
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Dem Gov

Who would be the best gubernatorial nominee for Indiana Democrats in 2016?


 

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