Legislature Enters Week 2
The Indiana General Assembly is starting to pick up now as committees outside the budget start holding hearings on a wide variety of topics. About 800 bills have been posted. I could write about dozens upon dozens of bills we are watching but at this point, it is best to try to focus on bills that might get a committee hearing. Therefore, I am only going to mention four today.
Senate Bill 12 (Tomes) concerns “matter harmful to minors” in schools. This term means pornographic or sexually explicit materials. The bill simply says that schools are not automatically exempt from the possible crime of distributing matter harmful to minors. (A county prosecutor would determine if such a crime was committed in this section of the law that concerns adult businesses, pornography, and obscenity.) Unfortunately, the Library Association is claiming this is a book ban bill and pushing back strongly against SB 12. (If they do not have pornography in school libraries, I don’t know why they fight this bill with such desperation and scare tactics.) Your calls to your State Senator in support of SB 12 would be helpful.
House Bill 1220 (Davis) is the bill that I mentioned at the bottom of page 2 of our AFA January newsletter. I did not have the bill number when I wrote that in late December. It prohibits a doctor or surgeon from performing gender transition surgeries on minor children. It allows a child harmed by puberty-blocking drugs or a gender reassignment surgery (a PC word for bodily mutilation) to file a civil suit for damages. This bill could become a huge battle in the House this session. HB 1220 needs your support.
HB 1334 (Wesco) – This is a very interesting bill that strengthens absentee ballot verification in Indiana. The bill has a lot of positive components for the verification of absentee ballots for county election boards across the state.
HB 1407 (Devon) – This is a much-needed, long overdue, and critically important bill on parental rights in Indiana. It recognizes the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their child. You can read HB 1407 here: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2023/bills/house/1407#document-d165a23f
Let’s Teach Children This!
There will be a lot of discussions this legislative session about education and student success. The mental health debate is part of this too as the Governor and legislators wind up pitching billions into both.
I am skeptical of pouring truckloads into government programs and institutions and expecting better outcomes than we already have seen. However, here is an idea that could improve the lives of Hoosier youth and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny.
For decades sociologists have affirmed what was once common knowledge among parents. I am not so sure how common it is now, which is why it would be a good idea to teach what has been called “the success sequence” in schools. It is a far better message than teaching students that America is evil, racist, or unfair. (That message does not help student mental health.)
In a recent article titled, “Personal Responsibility Not Victimhood” authors note the following:
“There are too many barriers that stand in the way of the American dream for black and Hispanic young adults — from failing schools to unsafe streets. But there is a path that leads to the dream and away from poverty for them. This path is called the “Success Sequence,” and black and Hispanic young adults who have followed it are markedly more likely to be flourishing financially today, according to a recent report from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies.
The sequence entails three steps: (a) getting at least a high-school degree, (b) working full-time, and (c) marrying before having children.” (Note: I have seen a fourth step sometimes mentioned, which is do not use drugs)
“Although we do not minimize the importance of continuing to tackle these structural barriers — with policies such as school choice — we also think young adults deserve to know the truth about the sequence. Stunningly, racial and ethnic gaps in poverty are basically nonexistent among young adults who followed all three steps: If they follow the sequence, only 4 percent of blacks and 3 percent of Hispanics are poor by their mid 30s, and the share is 3 percent for whites, according to our new analysis of data that track a cohort of young adults (Millennials) from their teenage years to adulthood in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.”
America is still a land of unique and incomparable opportunity, and young people really need to understand this.
Marijuana Use Among Youth at All-Time High
The National Institutes of Health has found that marijuana use among youth is now at the highest level ever recorded.
Past-year, past-month, and daily marijuana use (use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days) reached the highest levels ever recorded since these trends were first monitored in 1988. The proportion of young adults who reported past-year marijuana use reached 43% in 2021, a significant increase from 34% five years ago (2016) and 29% 10 years ago (2011). Marijuana use in the past month was reported by 29% of young adults in 2021, compared to 21% in 2016 and 17% in 2011. Daily marijuana use also significantly increased during these time periods, reported by 11% of young adults in 2021, compared to 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2011.
In states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized (for adults) use among youth ages 12-19 is 25% more than in states that have not legalized marijuana. (This isn’t helping our nation’s mental health either.)
Indiana Senate Race Takes Shape
Fort Wayne Congressman Jim Banks officially announced his campaign for US Senate in 2024. The Senate seat will be open as Senator Mike Braun is running for governor rather than re-election to the Senate.
Banks’ announcement has irritated some of the Republican establishment who were hoping to clear the field for former Governor Mitch Daniels. I am glad Jim is running because I am not a fan of rolling out the red carpet for an heir apparent. If Daniels chooses to run, Republican primary voters will have a real choice between a rank-and-file Republican and a conservative leader. Another possible candidate looking at the race is first-term Congresswoman Victoria Spartz. There may be other candidates in this field before the filing deadline a year from now. There will also be candidates emerging to run for the House seat currently held by Banks, and perhaps Spartz too.
In Their Own Words:
“The family has paid too much. It has lost too much of its authority to courts and rule-writers, too much of its voice in education and social policy, too much of its resources to public officials at all levels.” – Gary Bauer, President Reagan’s Report on the Family, 1986