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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Monday, July 21, 2014 11:21 AM

CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.
The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.

Kubacki, a conservative and the daughter of migrant workers, envisioned granting in-state rates to undocumented students in return for their promise to complete a degree, perform community service and stay in Indiana. The best and brightest, as she saw it, could become teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs – not to mention role models to immigrant children everywhere. “These are the kids we want to stay in our state,” she said. “Instead we’re just kicking them in the teeth.”

But Kubacki won’t be coming back to the General Assembly. In May, she lost in the Republican primary to Tea Party candidate Curt Nisly. She’d been targeted for not supporting an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. With her loss came the loss of the only Republican Latino in the Legislature. Kubacki is not going away quietly. Until her term is done, at year’s end, she plans to fiercely advocate for children whom she believes are Indiana’s most disenfranchised.  This summer, as a member of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, she’s serving on a task force examining the education of juveniles in state prison. Their graduation rates are deplorable, and she wants to devote more resources to those children to reduce the risk of them returning to prison as adults.

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    INDIANAPOLIS - The  governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood. There is no question that our national and state tax codes are enormous tomes when printed, complex and detailed beyond belief. How did they get that way? Blame the legislators who give special privileges to persons and businesses willing to plead their arguments, live or in cash. For example, Indiana exempts $1,000 from taxation for each person in your household. Then, if the taxpayer and the spouse are 65 or older, they each get an additional $500 exemption. Plus, if the taxpayer or the spouse is blind, there is another $1,000 income exemption. Wouldn’t it be simpler to count a person as a person without regard to age or disability?  
    INDIANAPOLIS – This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.” Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapolis, reasoning that the Democratic nominee has to have a background in public safety. On Monday morning, Southern District Attorney Joe Hogsett backtracks from an earlier disavowal of candidacy and resigns. A few hours later, former governor Evan Bayh shows up on Monument Circle for a press conference lauding Hogsett. At this point, Indiana Democrats are like Cleveland, Ohio. Four years ago - the same year basketball king LeBron James broke buckeye hearts by taking his talents to South Beach - Sen. Bayh dropped an epic bombshell that he would not seek a third term before taking his talents to Fox News. On Monday, the inevitable questions about a 2016 gubernatorial run soon followed, and Bayh was glib, coy and did nothing to tamp down the rampant speculation that he was about to pull off a latter day LeBron and return to the Hoosier campaign trail. “That election is two and a half years from now,” Bayh said. “We’ve got important races this fall that are going to be important to the state of Indiana, we’ve got mayoral races next year, so first things first.” 
    INDIANAPOLIS – Hillary Clinton’s comment that she and former President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” upon leaving The White House in 2001 set off a media firestorm. She was criticized from every angle for being  out of touch with the American populace. Republicans scoffed, pointing out that the Clinton clan was making plenty at the time and that since then Mr. Clinton alone has raked in well over $100 million in fees on the lecture circuit. Coupled with Mrs. Clinton, who pulls in $225,000 per speech herself, the duo has a net worth estimated at upwards of $50 million. Democrats were equally aghast, furious that their presumed standard bearer could be so reckless and disingenuous in trying to be one of us. But the larger point to me is why? Why is she trying so hard to be “one of us”?  
    SOUTH BEND – Jackie Walorski would like to win the race right here, right now, this summer. That’s why the Republican congresswoman from Indiana’s 2nd District is running TV ads on area channels, including cable, right now, in mid-July. It’s new school strategy in her race with Democratic challenger Joe Bock. The old school of politics was that a candidate didn’t “waste” campaign funds on television ads and other appeals to voters in the middle of summer, when a lot of people are on vacation and most aren’t tuned in to politics. Better to save precious funding for when the campaign really gets under way after Labor Day, when voters will pay attention. Well, most congressional races now are over by Labor Day. 
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Sen. Coats on Senate floor about Flight 17
Sen. Dan Coats takes to the Senate floor to discuss the Malaysian Flight 17 atrocity in Ukraine.
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  • Indiana Republicans have big CD, statewide 2Q money leads
    INDIANAPOLIS – Nationally, Congressional Democrats are out-raising their Republican counterparts, but back home in Indiana, GOP incumbents are walloping their challengers. The same holds true for the Republican statewide nominees, with all three significantly out-raising Democrats. This quarter furthered the storyline we’ve already been watching: Congressional challengers just aren’t raising any cash or getting any traction, while the incumbents continue to haul it in. It appears it’s going to be a quiet November in the Hoosier state. U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski is the big winner for this quarter, bringing in $338K, edging out U.S. Rep. Todd Young’s $334K and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks’ $309K. The trio out-distanced the pack, as the next closest was U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman with $214K.
  • Stutzman talks trade, immigration, Boehner suit
    INDIANAPOLIS – The worsening crisis along the southern border and a growing wellspring of public support for comprehensive immigration reform, particularly within the state and among Hoosier Republicans, is being felt by U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman and his colleagues, the Republican told Howey Politics Indiana in an exclusive interview on Monday. Rep. Stutzman is and obviously has been frustrated with the White House for quite some time, but a pervasive theme throughout many of his answers and remarks is a frustration with inaction on Capitol Hill. “The administration is not engaged with Congress, period. House Republicans, we feel like we’re trying to lead and put ideas together passing bills and they go to the Senate and nothing happens,” Stutzman said.
  • Pence's blue ribbon transpo panel finds funding hurdles
    CNHI State Bureau

    INDIANAPOLIS -- A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade the state’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all. Last week, Gov. Mike Pence’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure released a long wish list of “critical” projects that includes adding travel lanes to the state’s most crowded arteries, Interstates 65 and 70, as they pass through rural areas. Also on the list of projects deemed essential to the state’s economic growth are improving Interstate 69 across the Ohio River bridge in southwest Indiana, and a new four-lane divided highway to loop around Indianapolis so that drivers can avoid the crowded bypass that already exists.

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  • Sen. Coats calls for more economic sanctions on Russia
    "When you have a bully in the playground, you've got to stand up to him. You can't sit there and calculate the potential economic risk. Better to do it now than to pay a much tougher price, a much harder price, later.” - U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, the former ambassador to Germany, to Reuters in calling for more invasive economic sanctions on Russia following the missile-induced crash of Malaysian Flight 17 which killed Indiana University graduate student Karlijn Keijzer and 297 other souls, including former Kankakee Valley HS exchange student Laurens Van Der Graaff, who was traveling with Keijzer. Secretary of State John Kerry said over the weekend that evidence points to Russian backed Ukrainian separatists firing the missile. 
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