INdiana Systemic Thinking

April 29, 2010

PLA Changes Notice Procedures

The Blogmeister was recently made aware the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) was notifying current licensees of the need to renew their licenses via email.  While the PLA is to be congratulated for attempting to save money on postage (they used to mail the reminders), they apparently did not realize many people change email addresses over the two year license period.   End result…  some people did not receive the notice and their licenses expired.  As of the time of this post, they are allowing people to still renew their licenses, but there is an additional fifty dollar fee.  Some people are reporting they received a mailed notice of this policy change, while others are being caught unaware.  The Blogmeister’s advice?  Check your license status ASAP and renew if you are expired.


October 2, 2008

State Sen. Marvin Riegsecker Loses Cancer Battle

From the AP, via the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

State Sen. Marvin Riegsecker, a Goshen Republican who helped push statewide adoption of daylight saving time during his two decades in the Indiana General Assembly, died Tuesday at age 71.

Riegsecker died of cancer at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, where he was surrounded by his wife, Norma, and immediate family members, according to the Senate Republican caucus. Riegsecker was diagnosed this year with lymphoma and decided not to seek re-election.

Riegsecker, a retired pharmacist who was first elected to the Senate in 1988, was a longtime supporter of statewide daylight saving time and helped usher the contentious proposal through the legislature in 2005.

“I just want to get this over with,” Riegsecker said on the day when the daylight time bill won final approval. “I guarantee if it’s not over with, it will come back to haunt us again.”

Riegsecker represented Senate District 12, which covers most of Elkhart County in northern Indiana. He worked to protect consumers from counterfeit prescription drugs and championed causes such as providing services to those with developmental disabilities.

“In my four years in state government, I never met a kinder or more decent person than Marvin Riegsecker,” Gov. Mitch Daniels said. “Plus, he was brave in helping us tackle tough issues, always caring more about Indiana’s future than his own political future.”

Riegsecker was hospitalized for parts of the last legislative session.

“Legislative colleagues will always remember Sen. Riegsecker’s intelligence, passion and commitment,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne. “We will all miss Marvin greatly.”

The Blogmeister wishes Sen. Reigsecker’s family well in their time of sorrow.

February 27, 2008

2004 Indiana Health Insurance Law Misses Mark

The Indianapolis Star Business section has a great in-depth story on the 2004 insurance change in Indiana that allowed insurance companies to either deny insurance policies for pre-existing conditions, or waive coverage for 10 years for those conditions. At the time, it was touted as a way for more people to be covered, at a lower price, because the insurance companies would not have to cover “high risk” patients. In addition, in 2004, Indiana was only one of two states requiring insurance companies to cover these “high risk” patients. When the law was being discussed in the legislature, the insurance companies told our representatives they were in support of this measure, because it would help more of the citizens of Indiana get coverage, at a lower cost.

Well surprise, surprise. We now find more people are not covered, and, in fact, there are less people covered and the insurance companies continue to make record profits.

Here are some quotes from the story:

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, sponsored the change in Indiana law and hoped it would reduce the number of people denied health insurance.

She also wanted to limit the increasing number of people who had no choice but to seek insurance through the state’s high-risk insurance pool, which covers people who can’t get insurance from any other source. The pool was facing insolvency.

“We believed having some insurance was better than having none at all,” Miller said.

Miller said she’s had no complaints.

Rep. Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, opposed the measure and still thinks it benefits only insurance companies. He called the measure just an effort by the insurance industry to “take advantage of people who need health insurance.”

Rich Collins, chief executive of Golden Rule Insurance Co., an Indianapolis-based subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that sells individual policies, said Hoosiers have access to a strong and competitive health insurance market.

Collins said his company offers coverage to more than 89 percent of applicants.
“The fundamental issue is that health care is expensive,” he said.

I’ll let the reader make up their own mind as to what was really going on back in 2004, but I thinking it’s pretty clear this turned into a huge bonus for the insurance industry at the expense of citizens regardless of the intent.

Mr. Collins also got my dander up as he hit on a pet peeve of mine. “Health care” is not the same as health insurance. While “health care” may be expensive, health insurance is generally 30% higher to cover administering the policies, and paying his salary. Making health insurance much more expensive than health care.

February 24, 2008

Dems Still Hopeful Bayh Will Be on Ticket

A few months ago, I posted that I thought Senator Evan Bayh made huge political mistake by endorsing Hillary Clinton. My take was/is he wanted the VP slot so bad he would violate a cardinal rule of politics by showing his hand too early. Well, turns the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is now wondering aloud what the consequences of his early endorsement will mean. Sylvia Smith goes way out of her was to rationalize and justify why Bayh should be on an Obama ticket. I’m not going to post any quotes, because the story is so far from being anything close to political reality that it would be a waste of space here.

However, I will use the space to say this. Folks, get over it. Bayh isn’t going to be anywhere near a Presidential ticket. Obama needs someone older…way older than Bayh, and someone who can deliver some hefty electoral college votes from a very swing state. Bayh isn’t the guy. While he may be well known in Indiana, no-one knows who he is outside our borders. Argue with that all you want, but it’s the political truth. Add to it that he has never done anything memorable legislatively, he continues to enrich himself through his wife’s woefully unqualified “employment” as a professional board member, and the fact he has never had a real job, and he will never pass a national vetting.

So, can we please go back to sticking our heads in the sand on Bayh?

Sen. David Ford Pens Letter, Updates Condition

State Senator David Ford updates us on his condition in a letter published by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  I’ll post the whole letter here.

I would first like to thank Rep. Tim Harris for hosting our town meetings while I have been ill. He has been a really great partner, as we have represented Blackford and Grant counties over the last four years.

Second, I profoundly want to thank everyone in the Senate district for their support, prayers, cards, e-mails and wishes that have been sent.

I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I am now home and feeling very well. I am under the care of my nurse-wife Joyce, sister-in-law Kelly Ford and Family Hospice of Northeast Indiana. They are a troop of angels who make it possible for me live in my own home and still get a very high level of medical care and attention. I have begun a course of chemotherapy with Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. So far my body is tolerating the treatment quite well.

I have not been able to get back to the Statehouse since falling ill on Jan. 15, but I am able to participate in several ways. I attend caucuses through teleconferencing. I talk to various Senate colleagues on the phone daily. I get all of the bills and documents electronically. I can watch the Senate sessions and committee hearings live via the Internet. With the help of Senate co-authors, I have two bills (SB 190 and SB 197) that have already passed the Senate and House of Representatives and will shortly be on their way to the governor for his signature.

Obviously, this is not the way I would prefer to be representing my district, but it is the best I can do for now. I am able to deal with all of my mail, calls and e-mail, so if you contact me with your thoughts on legislation or your needs with regard to state government, I and my wonderful legislative assistant will give the same service that we have tried to provide in the past.

Briefly, on the issues: Rep. Harris has a handout covering major points of the Senate Republicans’ property tax relief package. I am firmly convinced that the General Assembly will take major steps toward property tax reform by the end of the session.

Thank you for your understanding and for all of your kindnesses. It is this “heart of gold” spirit within Hoosiers that constantly reminds me of why I do this job and how important it really is.

SEN. DAVID FORD  Hartford City

Straight Talk

Filed under: IN Judiciary,Indiana,Legal/Law — kurtglmft @ 9:04 am
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This little tidbit is too good to pass up. Unfortunately it was buried way down at the bottom of this article. You have to like it when someone bypasses all the politically correct diplomacy and says exactly what they mean and want:

Fielding special requests is just part of the job when it comes to holding public office — just ask Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The governor spoke Tuesday at the Outlook 2008 economic luncheon in Carmel.

He recalled receiving an especially flowery introduction before another recent address. Daniels said he stood up on that day to say first that he appreciated the kind words.

“I got up and said, ‘Bob, I don’t know how to thank you,’ ” Daniels recalled.

“He jumped up and said, ‘I do — I want to be a Superior Court judge.’ ”

The governor appoints county judges when there are vacancies.


Long, Young Muse On Property Taxes

The Evansville Courier Press has an article penned by Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and Senate Minority Leader Richard Young.  It’s encouraging to see these leaders write directly to the people of Indiana about Property Taxes.  However, they fail to “get it” on several issues.

The article is pretty much a summary of what we’ve been reading in the papers about what the General Assembly is trying to accomplish with property taxes.  Both should be congratulated for not taking undue credit and helping with the progress made so far.  Still, it seems they want us to forget how we got here, and what is going on in the other chamber of the esteemed body, where representatives continue to argue partisan points and change the good piece of legislation enacted in the senate.

They write:

This marks the fourth consecutive session many of us have attempted to address the complexities of property taxes. Earlier reforms have not garnered enough public support and political will to prevent the crisis too many Indiana property owners face. This year, public support and political will must prevail.

First off, I’m not so sure how serious the proposals over the last four years have been.  My feeling is they were other “band-aid” ideas benefiting very few Hoosiers.  Regardless, leaders lead and politicians politic.  If the legislature knew we were headed for the current crisis, they should have taken the lead and thwarted the problem before it became a crisis.  Instead, as the above quote implies, they decided to politic and do what was popular.  Well, now it’s popular and we still have the politicking, as what evidenced by what is going on in the house.  Granted, neither of these Senators have anything to do with what is going on in that chamber, but they would do well to cross the hallway and work with members of their own, and other, party to make sure the relief they passed in their chamber, passes in the house.

They also discuss property tax repeal.  They state:

Total repeal of property taxes — as some Hoosiers and legislators would like to do — requires raising about $7 billion in income and sales taxes, resulting in tax rates economists say would drive away workers and employers. Especially at a time when Indiana’s economy remains fragile, lawmakers must be certain of consequences. Currently, more questions than answers surround this concept of property tax repeal. However, the issue of repealing property taxes entirely remains a worthy long-term goal.

First off, I thought Indiana was on a hot streak, economically, not “fragile”, but I digress.

If offsetting the property tax rate with income tax would result in an unacceptable rate for “workers and employers”, doesn’t this say more about state and county spending than it does about the rate.  I mean no one is talking about an overall tax increase, but finding fairer methods to keep the status quo.  If placing all of this under one rate (income) is unacceptable, then why is it anymore acceptable to spread the same total among many different taxes?  If taxes are too high, address the problem (spending) and stop playing the Indiana tax shell game.

February 23, 2008

Amy Davis Eliminated (with video)

Filed under: Indiana,Local (NW IN) News,Misc — kurtglmft @ 4:48 pm
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Well, we are down to two… two contestants on American Idol from Indiana. Following up on my past posts, I’m sad to report Amy Davis was voted off the show on Thursday night. I can’t say it wasn’t expected. Up until Monday, when she performed for the voting announced on Thursday, Amy gave great performances. Monday’s was disappointing. I don’t know if it was the nerves of the first live performance of the season or what, but the performance was not on the same level as past performances. Really, I thought she had a shot. She has the look and the voice, but it was just not meant to be. Hopefully, she will still get a recording contract or become successful through some other venue.

Here is how the Northwest Indiana Times treated the story, and the Indy Star’s take on it is here.

Below is the performance from Monday.

Here is the elimination video (btw, I thought she did a much better job this time than on Monday):

Whatever life has in store for Ms. Davis, we here at IST wish her well and hope to see her sing live at some point.

February 21, 2008

McClain, Ruppel Running: Ripley Stepping Aside

Two Indiana legislative members announced their intentions to seek re-elections today, while another announced he would not run.

According to the Carroll County Comet,

State Representative Rich McClain (R-Logansport) has announced he will seek re-election to the Indiana House of Representatives in House District 24.

McClain represents of Cass, Carroll, Miami and White Counties.

McClain was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1994 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Reports,

State Rep. Bill Ruppel, R-North Manchester, announced Wednesday morning he will seek re-election in House District 22.

The district includes all of Wabash County and the eastern and southern portions of Kosciusko County.

Ruppel was elected to the House in 1992. He is the ranking Republican member of the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety committees, and is a member of the Financial Institutions and Environmental Affairs committees.

In another story in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette,

State Rep. Mike Ripley, R-Monroe, announced Wednesday he has decided against seeking re-election in House District 79.

The former Adams County commissioner has served as a member of the Indiana House since 1996.

He is the ranking Republican member of the House Insurance Committee. He also serves on the House Financial Institutions and Labor and Employment committees.

February 16, 2008

McCain Coming to Indiana

WTHR has a long story about John McCain coming to Indiana on February 22.  While filled with tons of background information, it is very light on details.  Toward the end they say:

Eyewitness News has confirmed Sen. McCain will visit Indianapolis next Friday. He will participate in some events on the morning of Feb. 22. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for more details and complete coverage of his visit.

So if your a supporter of the good Senator’s, keep Friday open and watch WTHR.

UPDATE:  Okay, right after I posted this, the Indy Star had some further information.

Jay Kenworthy, communications director for the state GOP, said McCain’s fund-raiser is at 11 a.m. Friday at the Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St. Kenworthy isn’t sure what prices will be for the invitation-only event.

Kenworthy said he was not sure who would be able to attend a town hall meeting, if one is scheduled, adding that the Arizona senator’s campaign staff is handling those arrangements.

Rebecca Zepick, who works in media relations for McCain’s campaign, could not confirm McCain will be in Indiana. She said she expected to know more early next week.

“We’re pleased,” said Kenworthy. “He’s the first presidential candidate of this cycle to come through, and everyone expected it to be Hillary (Clinton) or (Barack) Obama.”

The two candidates in the Democratic primary are in a closer race than McCain is in for the Republican primary, Kenworthy noted.

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