Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Long Has Grasp of Senate Priorities

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Long Has Grasp of Senate Priorities

Article excerpt

Senate President David Long says he's trying to be a leader not a dictator. That's why he assigned Senate Bill 230 to the Rules Committee where it is not to see the light of day. The bill to invalidate Obamacare is unconstitutional, Long said, and to spend precious legislative time debating it would be counterproductive.

His action has ignited a debate over democracy in Indiana with some accusing the Fort Wayne Republican of stifling opinions. His critics say it's always productive to discuss important ideas even if they don't advance through the legislative process. To deem a bill unconstitutional before a hearing is to deprive the people of a voice in setting policy.

Long's taking more heat than usual because he's a conservative standing in the way of a conservative, Tea Party-backed initiative to invalidate the national health care law.

Introduced by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, the measure has a legitimate chance of passage, its backers say, since there's a Republican governor and Republican super majorities in both houses.

The Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank devoted to limited government and states' rights, has appealed to Long to change his mind, citing "strong support for the bill in both legislative chambers and a public outcry in favor of the legislation."

Reality check: Long's action is not unusual, SB 230 is quite radical, and there's been very little public outcry in favor of it.

The bill would not only invalidate Obamacare in Indiana - most of which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June - it would void "any federal act, order, law, rule, regulation, or statute found by the general assembly to be inconsistent with the power granted to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States." In other words, the bill would give the Indiana General Assembly veto power over anything the federal government does - in contradiction of the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.

Long's critics are right about this: The more hearings the better so the public can have open and honest discussion about public concerns. …

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