The Inmates Running Indiana’s Asylum

Meanwhile, on the local front….

As I was busy avoiding last Friday’s Inauguration, a reader sent me the digest of an bill introduced in the Indiana legislature, demonstrating that insanity isn’t confined to Washington, D.C.

The official synopsis of House Bill 1127 reads as follows:

Nullification of EPA regulations in Indiana. Nullifies all regulations imposed in Indiana by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Provides that the department of environmental management shall provide environmental protection for the citizens of Indiana. Effective: July 1, 2017.

The fiscal analysis of the measure (which evidently assumes that there is no such thing as the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution) is blunt: According to the Legislative Services Agency’s Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis,

the bill nullifies all regulations imposed in Indiana by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It provides that the Department of Environmental Management shall provide environmental protection for the citizens of Indiana… The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) would be solely responsible for providing environmental protection for the state due to the nullification of U.S. EPA regulations provided in this bill. The impact to IDEM would be the loss of federal funds from the U.S. EPA that are used to run programs and provide funding for the staff assigned to those programs. This would also result in a reduction of the amount of state matching funds (about $11 M in dedicated funds annually) that the state would have to provide to receive the federal funds. If IDEM continues the programs, the costs would be funded only through state appropriations.

This bill could result in the loss of about $22.5 M annually in federal funding from the U.S. EPA. Of this amount, about $2.2 M was disbursed to local units in FY 2016…. Local units receiving funding from U.S. EPA grants through IDEM could experience a decline in funding. For FY 2016, local units received about $2.2 M in grant funding through U.S. EPA funds received by IDEM.

The operative phrase, of course, is “If IDEM continues the programs…” It is fairly obvious that the purpose of this legislation is to allow Indiana to discontinue programs that protect the state’s air and water.

I have no idea whether this retrograde effort will get a hearing, nor do I know anything about Representative Judy, who introduced it. We can hope that legislative leadership recognizes both the unconstitutionality of the measure–after all, states cannot simply “nullify” federal regulations with which they disagree, no matter how much they might want to–and the considerable political capital it would cost them.

Despite the rejection of climate science by Republican ideologues and Trump cabinet nominees, survey research confirms that large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats accept settled science and strongly favor environmental protections.

Bills like this raise the question–perennial in Indiana–WHO ELECTS THESE PEOPLE??

55 thoughts on “The Inmates Running Indiana’s Asylum

  1. Very few elect these people. Remember, many run unopposed and more than a handful are appointed by the majority party. Indiana is the poster child of gerrymandering.

  2. “Who elects these people?” Easy. Gerrymandered voters all over Indiana. Of course, they don’t know they have been gerrymandered so it is easy for their party to elect any damn fool they choose to run wild in the State House. There is, however, hope.

    Four bills in the state legislature addressing gerrymandering wait for hearings. In the Senate they are SB 136 and SB 278. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Elections Greg Walker needs a push to bring those bill forward for a hearing 800- 382 9467. Over in the House Committee on Elections the Chairman Milo Smith needs a push on HB 1014 and HB 1378. Call him at 800- 382 9841. Then call your own representatives and urge them to speak up on this important issue.

    The alternative to taking action is to sit back, bitch and moan about the low quality of state representatives and hope that others are doing something about it. In these times the “others” is you.

  3. There is the backdrop of Lucas and Sandlin posts against women exercising their 1st Amendment rights that indicates that gerrymandering has created an environment that is so protective of republicans that there is nothing that they can’t say or do, including authoring bills like the one Sheila discusses. Washington is starting to look and function too much like Indiana.

  4. Nancy shared the link to the rolling stones article about Pence the other day and it was very informative. It covered the neighborhood in East Chicago IN that had to be evacuated because of lead poisoning. Those bills you mention would remove any cause that residents would have to sue any corporation for poisoning them, right?

  5. Theresa Bowers nailed it; those gerrymandered voters who aren’t aware of being gerrymandered are the old guard, hangers-on, staunch Republicans who will vote for any Republican running for any office. They are among the loudest complainers regarding the status quo and the conditions and problems we deal with daily but are also unaware that they elected the status quo politicians who are causing the continuation of the conditions and problems.

    How many are ranting about the murder rate in this city; two more shot in the head last night, but support the anti-gun control reform and support open carry? How many of them are familiar with HB 1051 which, if passed will deny all state and local law officers from aiding federal offices in arrest and confiscation of weapons in the state of Indiana? The state and local officers face 60 days in jail and $500 fine for their first “offense” aiding federal officials and one year in jail and $5,000 fine for an additional “offense” if this bill becomes law. This endangers the public, the officers at all levels, and maintains the status quo of guns on our streets resulting in the rising murder rate in this city and state.

    “The operative phrase, of course, is “If IDEM continues the programs…” It is fairly obvious that the purpose of this legislation is to allow Indiana to discontinue programs that protect the state’s air and water.”

    The passage of HB 1127, Nullification of EPA regulations in Indiana, is another way of supporting – and escalating – the right to endanger lives of even more Indiana residents than our current lax gun laws. I will, like the bull dog I am, return to my question asking what happened to the “cancer cluster” victims in Johnson County which local health officials within a few days decided there weren’t enough cancer victims and their types of cancer were too varied to declare it an official “cancer cluster”. They know nothing of Karen Silkwood, Erin Brockovich or Jan Schlictmann’s battles against such mindsets regarding lack of protection of our air and water or the deaths of those cancer victims.

    “Who elects these people?” Our family, friends and neighbors elect these people…repeatedly. Many of them are among the faction who do not understand that gerrymandering is another name for redistricting and Obamacare is another name for the ACA.

  6. So the first issue that comes to my mind is the cleanup in East Chicago that is paid for by the EPA. I am sure that Indiana legislature would love to foot the bill for the cost for this enormous project. They should be very careful what they wish for in this world. When states rights truly trump Federal oversight and pocketbooks, Indiana may be left with a bigger burden.

  7. Thank you Teresa Bowers for posting phone numbers and information to make our voices heard. I participated in the March in Indy Saturday with my family. I have never been more energized to fight for what I know is right. This is another area that needs our attention and I will be calling and fighting for. The idiots that are somehow elected to these positions that continue to propose unconstitutional legislation or tweet or and share on fb insulting posts toward women trying to make a difference HAVE TO BE REMOVED FROM THEIR POSITIONS! ENGAGE IN MEANINGFUL ACTIONS THAT WILL LEAD TO POSITIVE CHANGE!

  8. Wouldn’t it be nice if all candidates for public office had to take a test to determine their knowledge of the Constitution?

  9. This bill is not only at odds with the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution but against the whole idea of federated states following the vision of Madison (which predated adoption of the Constitution).

    Thus if the Indiana legislature can pull this one off, what’s next? Shall the legislature exempt its citizens from the protections of Pure Food and Drug Acts? How about the federal income tax? Church and state amalgamation? Shall we stop all traffic coming into the state to pay an ingress tax to the state in our return to the disastrous thinking undergirding the Articles of Confederation? How far does the Tenth Amendment go before colliding with federated thought?
    I can think of a host of other questions that could be asked in regard to Indiana’s secession lite from federated government. This state doesn’t have the human or material resources to become a nation unto itself and is clearly and desperately in need of new faces and ideas in the State House before the whole shebang comes tumbling down.

    I was born and raised and educated in Indiana but am glad to be living elsewhere in these days of 19th century thinking by a gerrymandered supermajority in that Republican dictatorship masquerading as a bastion of democracy.

  10. Please use the link below to find the names and contact info for the members of the Committee on Environmental Affairs.
    My state rep, Dave Wolkins, is the chair and I have written about him on this blog many times. He is a proud member of ALEC and will do everything he can to push the Koch brothers’ agenda.

    PLEASE call every member on this committee! They are intent on destroying all environmental protections.

    As a side note – the author of HB1127, Chris Judy, grew up in my county, Wabash. This county is one of the centers of Hell.

  11. Keep complaining. It will do no good. Your fellow Hooooooooosiers (slang for “hick” elsewhere, by the way) are racist, small-minded rubes, and their children and grandchildren will continue to elect their local Boss Hoggs to the legislature to do their worst. Their representatives will continue to downgrade their education system, their churches will continue to brainwash them to ignore reason, and they will continue to see the GOP as their own tribe: a collection of pasty, fat, backward white people. They will vote for their own and get what they want.

  12. Not surprising. Expect more of this from so-called conservative states and state governors. Here in Texas, our governor is threatening county sheriffs with their jobs if they ignore the rousting of so-called illegal immigrants. Thing is, those sheriffs are elected by the voters.

    These right-wing crackpots all feel enabled by Trump’s modeling of tyranny, so be prepared for a descent into fascist tyranny.

  13. Idiots abound !
    Yes – get rid of gerrymandering. But if the lines are already drawn , how would the legislature redraw the districts if by present gerrymandering would ” nullify” , or preserve the present districts as they are – indefinitely ?

  14. Over it, I agree with you up to a point. “They will vote for their own and get what they want.” The way I see it it is “They vote for their own and don’t get what they want because they do not see the connection between their vote and the world they live in.”

  15. Over it; are you aware that “Hoosiers”, whatever it means, is now Indiana resident’s official title at the federal level. Pence and Coats to thank for this honor in addition to our state motto, “Honest to Goodness Indiana”. WTF does that mean?

    Timothy; what or who is your profanity aimed at? In and of itself it is meaningless…just mean.

  16. Thank you Sheila for the information. We the people need to know what our representatives are doing so we can speak out loudly and daily in opposition. Please keep it coming.

  17. 91% of Indiana’s energy is coal generated. There is a new coal generated energy plant not yet online that touts its energy as clean coal because the coal it burns comes from Indiana. I don’t know what’s clean about Indiana coal. Indiana has high incidences of cancer and childhood diagnosis of ADD and autism. Of course the families bear the expense of treatment so that’s not relavant to the calculations of cost. Some of the dirtiest most polluted water in the country flow through Indiana. It’s a great place for business good luck. Indiana

  18. These people are nuts, freaking nuts!!!! So do we do this with all the other Federal oversight that states need to have as guidelines for their own rulemaking? What’s next, the eliminating the FDA’s oversight for food safety in this state? I am just dumbfounded by the actions of these legislators but equally dumbfounded that people elected them to the state legislature and then re-elect them. Granted, a lot of this stems from the ridiculous gerrymandering of this state but this is incompetence at a level heretofore unimaginable.

    Since Indiana leads the way in terms of aberrant gerrymandering maybe it will be the poster child for all the other states in essentially ceding from the union for all practical purposes in terms of having any Federal oversight. Chaos in the extreme as if we don’t have enough already. As George Herbert Walker Bush once said “This Cannot Stand” and,
    as Sheila eluded to, we’re going to have to be the ones that knock this down and along with it the total fools that are pushing it and God only know what else.

    Sheila’s title for this post says it all!

  19. Over it,

    “Keep complaining. It will do no good.”

    You’re 100% right. Complaining isn’t going to do one bit of good. WE lost. The longer we keep complaining the worse it’s going to get. Try doing something positive or constructive. Or is that impossible?

    “Your fellow Hooooooooosiers (slang for “hick” elsewhere, by the way) are racist, small-minded rubes, and their children and grandchildren will continue to elect their local Boss Hoggs to the legislature to do their worst.”

    In all due respects, calling the people who have just helped WIN an election, HICKS, might be inappropriate at this point in time. That won’t get US anywhere. It will only make matters worse. And if things continue to spiral downward in a free fall, there will be no coming back. You can be assured of that.

    hick (hik) n. [altered,Richard] [Inf.] an awkward, unsophisticated person regarded as typical of rural areas: A CONTEMPTUOUS TERM

    I spent my last years of practicin law in Quinlan, Texas population 1,000. It was Midway between the two most racist counties in America. Raines County even had a Klan judge, Judge Ramsey.

    It was a very pristine area near the shores of Lake Tawakoni about 30 miles to the east of Dallas. I’m a water addict. There were some nice people there. And I’m sure there still are.

    When the people were faced with having to do the right thing, they did it. I never lost a jury trial. But you have to respect them. Respect their strengths. That means at certain times you have to stand up to them. You can’t run away. And you better make damn sure you never call them “DEPLORABLES” like only a FOOL would do.

  20. Unfettered oligarchy, that’s the goal. Autocracy heralding back to Medeival days. Welcome Hoosier serfs to the New World Order. The Second Coming.

    Wait a minute that’s not Jesus! That’s Pope Pence!

    Welcome Hoosier serfs to the New World Order.

  21. Because of the E.P.A. Hoosiers have cleaner, air, and water than when I was born. As a child I suffered from asthma. Doing away with these regulations will mean people will again suffer. Corporations are not people!

  22. As of 10:15 Eastern Standard time on January 26, 2017, we still have never made a stand for democracy in more than fifty years. When you make a stand you might get hurt. By NEVER making a stand it will probably create something much worse than getting HURT.

  23. Again from the front insert of “Freedom for Sale: Why the World is Trading Democracy for Security” by John Kampfner (New York: Basic Books, 2010):

    “…In the last twenty years, nations including India, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates have disproved the idea that capitalism and democracy are inextricably linked. Emerging middle classes have proven themselves all too willing to sacrifice certain democratic rights–including FREE SPEECH, AN OPEN MEDIA, AND FREE ELECTIONS–in exchange for PROSPERITY But they are NOT ALONE. We are all doing it. Alarmingly, Western democracy has adopted some of the attributes of that AUTHORITARIANISM.

    Maybe the next “Great Book” to be written should be: “How to Prosper While Supposedly Fighting the Religious Right/Far Right.”

  24. Maybe MikePence has fed them some inside information. Block grant funding, allowing states to distribute to the appropriate departments, may be the wave of the dystopian future. Business owners get rich, the rest of us get sick.

  25. As a practicing cynic I looked up Judy’s District just to the West of Fort Wayne. According to Food and Water Watch Judy’s District includes counties with high densities of Factory Farms –;location:IN;year:2012

    If you go to Judy’s Web Page the following comes up.

    Judy has co-authored House Bill 1460, Sales tax exemption for firearms and ammunition. Provides a sales tax exemption for transactions involving firearms and ammunition.

    Judy has co-authored House Bill 1159 – Regulation of firearms. Repeals the law that requires a person to obtain a license to carry a handgun in Indiana. Specifies that a person who may otherwise legally carry a handgun is not required to obtain or possess a license or permit from the state to carry a handgun in Indiana. Makes conforming amendments. Allows a resident of Indiana who wishes to carry a firearm in another state under a reciprocity agreement entered into by Indiana and the other state to obtain an Indiana firearms reciprocity license from the superintendent of the state police department.

    Judy has co-authored House Bill 1134 Protection of life. Repeals the statutes authorizing and regulating abortion. Finds that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm. Asserts a compelling state interest in protecting human physical life from the moment that human physical life begins. Redefines “human being” for purposes of the criminal code to conform to the finding that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm. Makes other conforming changes.

    Authored – House Bill 1445 Destruction of firearms. Removes destruction as one of the options that a law enforcement agency is permitted to use when disposing of certain firearms in the law enforcement agency’s possession.

    Authored- House Bill 1051 – Firearms and federalism. Prohibits a state agency, political subdivision, or employee of an agency or political subdivision from: (1) participating in the enforcement of a federal firearms law enacted after January 1, 2017; or (2) using any state funds to aid the federal government in the enforcement of a federal firearms law enacted after January 1, 2017; unless the participation or use of state funds is required by a court order.

    I guess we have solved all the major problems in Indiana and we have a prosperous, healthy, well educated citizenry, that enjoys a first class infrastructure at the local, county, and state levels. We citizens are so happy and content in Indiana, we can focus on guns and sperm.

  26. I’ve been blinded. I can now see. Thank the Lord. There is no PROSPERITY in creating peace. The leaders of our pro-democracy NGO’s would be out of business if we had DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY. So it’s all show and we keep funding them. Talk about DYNASTIES.

    General Smedley Butler who unmasked the fascist plan to take over America by members of the Dupont and Bush families in the mid 30’s is best known for his statement. “War is a Racket.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Just as true today as back then.

  27. Louie,

    Are you a travel agent for Indiana in disguise. If you don’t watch out you’re going to start a “real estate boom” in rural Indiana. Maybe we should all start an investment club and get in at the beginning?

    boom (boom) vi. [<? prec. vi.] to increase or grow rapidly, –n. a period of prosperity

  28. This discussion and Judy’s House Bill 1127 is probably beside the point.

    It’s not clear that anything is going to remain of the EPA anyway. The Repubs have wanted to dismantle it for years, and I thought that was what they would do once in power. But instead, they have taken a different — and much easier — route of simply destroying it, and all of the other federal agencies they hate, from within. As of this moment, all EPA grants and projects have been suspended until further notice.

    So regardless of what the Indiana Legislature does with Judy’s bill, whatever environmental protection Hooisers and the rest of the States will likely (not) have in the future will be solely up to the States to regulate and pay for. Pretty sure how that will (not) work out for the future of our environment.

  29. David F,

    “This discussion and Judy’s House Bill 1127 is probably beside the point.”

    Not really. Just look at the “real estate boom” around Nuremberg after Adolph Hitler became Chancellor.

  30. OPPPS > Iowa oil spill underscores pipeline risks day after Trump revives major projects
    Rupture of 138,600 gallons is ‘not a major disaster’ but environmental advocates say it highlights their fears about the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects.

    Magellan Midstream Partners, an Oklahoma company with more than 10,000 miles of oil and ammonium pipeline, acknowledged that the spill began on Wednesday morning in Worth County, Iowa, and said it was “unsure of the cause of the incident at this time”.

    The Magellan spill occurred just days after the company reached an $18m settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

    On 19 January, the EPA announced that Magellan had agreed to spend $16m on “injunctive relief” and pay a $2m fine over three pipeline spills in Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas. The injunctive relief includes completing cleanup efforts in Nebraska and improving damage prevention training.

    Representatives of the EPA either declined to comment or did not respond to queries from the Guardian. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that EPA staff have been barred from speaking to reporters.

    I would speculate that since the EPA under the Trumpet has been silenced reports of spills will be a thing of the past unless it is sanitized to protect the guilty parties.

    From what I found the density of petroleum diesel is about 6.943 lb/US gal. this means if I have calculated correctly 6.943 pounds per gallon x 138,000 (spill amount) = 958,134 pounds of oil spilled or 479 tons.

  31. I just checked my records:

    Donald Trump entered the Presidential race on June 16, 2015

    I purchased the URL with private registration on June 30, 2015, two weeks after Tump made his announcement. Intelligence tracking does have some important advantages over just understanding history.

    “I skate to where the puck is gonna be, not where it has been” ~Wayne Gretzky, NHL great

  32. You can’t play the game from behind. However, it looks likes that’s what we’re going to continue to do. And, consequently, we will have no chance whatsoever of winning.

  33. From my “humble,” just kidding, perspective, at the heart of America’s problem are dual issues: the Survival of Democracy and the Triumph of Feminism. You can’t have one without the other.

    For some unfortunate reason or reasons, that fact hasn’t hit home as of yet.

  34. Off Topic

    Your To-Do List today:

    Got 30 seconds?

    If you want to support Senator Warren’s request to audit President Trump’s finances for conflicts of interest, the woman who answered the phone at the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office said the most effective way to be sure my support counted was to email two administrators, Katherine Siggerud and Timothy Minnelli.

    And there is a third email address through which they’re tracking people who are urging support for the audit.
    Send ONE email addressed to:,,

    Subject line: Re: Audit for President Trump’s financial concerns

    Dear Ms. Siggerud and Mr. Minnelli,
    I’m writing in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s request for an audit of our incoming President Trump’s finances, to prohibit conflicts of interest that would prevent him from carrying out the responsibilities of the office without corrupt influence.

  35. Aside from the loss of vital funding used to protect our vital natural resources the bill will put the health and welfare of our wildlife and humans in vile peril. Our legislature has never shown the wisdom or intelligence to protect from blind profit. Our environment is the prime example of market failure. Our water, air, forest and prairies are too precious to allow this band of miscreants to have total control. That being said I do not trust the EPA to guard our environment under the drumph regime. I am afraid that our only hope is direct action at the ballot box and on the front line in front of the bulldozers, at the sewer outflows and the barricades if necessary!!

  36. Representative Judy has also authored or co-authored the following (many along side Rep Lucas, BOO!!!)
    HB 1051: Prohibits state agencies from enforcing federal gun laws passed after 1/1/17
    HB 1445: Prohibits law enforcement agencies from destroying firearms in the agency’s posession.
    HB 1446: Does not allow medical practitioners to disclose info regarding patient’s ownership of firearms to any state agency
    HB 1134: Coauthored with Asshat Rep Nisly, FULL BAN ON ABORTION. NO EXCEPTIONS
    HB 1460: Prohibits ALL sales tax from being collected on firearms and ammo.

    Evidently he wants us to return to the wild west days.

  37. For neolibrals government appears the same as unions do. They both are obstacles to wealth distribution up at the expense of quality of life for the vast majority who are workers/tax payers/family.

  38. Radical Republican extremists are the biggest threat to this country’s survival as a democracy.

  39. As always, hysteria abounds here. Republicans want to poison the people with dirty water and starve the children. Every time any government regulation/program is eliminated or funds reduced, that is your “go to” line. I realize you’re all such big government lovers, that your view is myopic, but most common sense people understand the onerous arm of government is not helpful. The democrats used their bureaucracies to punish or manipulate, but now your game is over. There is a new sheriff in town and every day is a breath of fresh air… Rasmussen now reports Trump’s approval number as 59% and the democrats are having sessions on “learning how to talk to regular white people” …. Keep up the good work liberals- everyday you help the cause
    to # MAGA

  40. Whatever Becky.

    We want safe drinking water, clear air and safe food. You can’t achieve that relying on corporations to do it so the gov’t has to.
    Out of Many, One.

  41. @ Becky:
    Depending on which poll is cited, Gallup has Trumptyʻs current approval rating at 46%. Rasmussen is a “conservative leaning American polling company founded in 2003,” so of course their poll is higher at 59%.

    BTW, “common sense” really just means other people who have the same ideas and opinions as you do. “Common sense” is not an indicator of facts or truth.

  42. Far from the question of ‘who elects these people,’ who puts these people on the ballot? That’s a good question for both parties, as both establishments provide candidates whose loyalties are extremely suspect. Nobody’s working for us, folks.

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