Am I the only resident of the Hoosier state who cannot comprehend the priorities and prejudices–let alone the analytical abilities–of Indiana lawmakers?
It’s bad enough that the most high-profile battle of this session–HJR 3–has given the rest of the country the impression that Hoosiers are 19th Century yahoos determined to buck the headwinds of change. What’s worse is that all the high-profile jockeying to keep GLBT folks in second-class citizenship status has sucked the wind out of everything else going on–obscuring all the other stupid decisions being made at the Statehouse.
One example: HB 1351 which requires the drug testing of TANF recipients. This measure, which will cost taxpayers nearly 1.5 million in fiscal 2016-17 alone — is moving steadily through the General Assembly, despite the fact that in states that have passed such laws , like Florida, courts have held it unconstitutional–and despite the fact that very few abusers were found. (If I had to guess, I’d bet the percentage of drug abusers in the General Assembly is substantially higher than the percentage on welfare. Drugs cost money, and TANF pays $288 per month for a family of three. You try living and buying drugs on that.)
As of March 2013, there were just 26,364 individual Hoosiers receiving TANF. Of that number, 23,128 were children. So Indiana is proposing to spend a million and a half dollars to test three thousand adults for drug abuse.
Dumb or not, this costly measure of dubious constitutionality and demonstrated ineffectiveness is speeding merrily through the process. Meanwhile, SB 413, a bill that would encourage TANF families to accumulate the assets they need to transition off of public assistance [and save taxpayer money], is not expected to go anywhere–despite the fact that other states that have implemented that measure have saved money and helped poor people move toward self-sufficiency.
It’s hard to escape the suspicion that our legislators not only don’t want to help poor folks–they want to punish them for being poor. One reason there are so few adults receiving TANF is that we have already made the process so difficult and demeaning that only 2.9% of impoverished Hoosiers participate.
I guess GLBT folks aren’t the only people Indiana doesn’t want.