Speaking Of The World’s Worst Legislature…

Every time I refer to Indiana’s General Assembly as “the World’s Worst Legislature” (note capital letters), readers remind me that there are other worthy contenders for that title–Texas and Florida among the standouts.

Granted, the competition is fierce, but Indiana’s lawmakers–not content to rest on their embarrassing laurels–have engaged the contest with what I can only describe as a bravura performance. As James Briggs of the Indianapolis Star explained:

While you were preparing for Thanksgiving, and maybe for a run in Broad Ripple, the Indiana General Assembly’s gobbledygook plot to set a new speed record for bad policymaking ended in a sloppy, embarrassing fiasco.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s understandable, because you were probably supposed to miss it. Legislative Republicans barely a week ago revealed that, as part of a rare one-day session intended to help Gov. Holcomb end the state’s public health emergency, they also were going to jam through severe constraints on businesses that require workers to either get vaccinated or find a new job.

As Briggs patiently explained, this effort was insane both substantively and procedurally. The bill that had been drafted would have required employers requiring vaccinations to adhere to onerous testing burdens. It would have required them to accept any and all “religious objections,” despite the inconvenient fact that no major religion has asserted that getting a COVID-19 vaccines violates its faith.

Perhaps most egregiously, the draft language gives credence to vaccine disinformation by carving out an exemption for pregnant women despite no evidence that vaccines pose a risk to them and much evidence that COVID-19 kills pregnant women at higher rates than women who are not pregnant.

And as Briggs also noted, as ridiculous as the draft language was, the process by which the Republican super-majority planned to ram it through was worse. They intended to pass the employer vaccine mandate ban on Monday, “the first business day after a major holiday weekend, while bypassing normal procedures to establish a consequential law faster than anyone could remember.” Even Kevin Brinegar, CEO of Indiana’s extremely conservative, Republican-loving Chamber of Commerce, testified that in his 42 years interacting with the  Indiana General Assembly, he’d never seen anything like what they were preparing to do.

“The chamber and, I believe, the entire employer community is opposed to this legislation,” Brinegar said.

Briggs described the seven-hour hearing as a disaster filled with vaccine lies and confusion, and he noted that the most effective–albeit unintentional– opponents of the bill were the anti-vaxxers in attendance who were urging lawmakers to pass it. Following the fiasco, the Speaker informed lawmakers that the one-day session was cancelled.

One item missing from Briggs’ report was how much that fiasco cost Indiana taxpayers. The last one-day session, held in 2018, cost 30,000.

The issue of employer vaccine mandates could return once the legislature begins its session in January, but the brake-slamming suggests that a critical mass of Republicans either were horrified by what they heard during the committee hearing or they were unwilling to consent to ramming through new rules for employers on an extraordinary timeline.

If you have been reading this and thinking “this is insane–why would the presumably “pro-business” party, a party that has been unwilling to regulate even the most socially harmful business practices, call an expensive special session and ignore their own rules of procedure in order to prevent businesses from safeguarding the health of their employees and customers? Especially as news of a new COVID variant is emerging?

If rational Hoosier voters need any more evidence that the state GOP has gone completely off the rails, this exercise should provide it.

A recent Doonesbury Sunday cartoon captures the moment, illustrating that Republicans are not only willing to infect their families and friends, they are willing to die  from an almost completely preventable disease–all in order to “own the libs.”

In the contest for “worst,” I submit that Indiana’s legislature has secured a place in the very top tier…..


  1. I find it hard to believe that the Republican State Legislature “came to their senses”. Probably more like early reports out of the CDC concerning the new variant slapped them up the side of the head, and Klondike Eric called off the loons.

  2. The more I read about the pandemic and watch the response of the global governments, the more I believe this was a manufactured virus released to thin the herd.

    I also think they knew the responses they would get and by whom. Robert Kennedy wrote a book that has some exciting research and details. I haven’t read it, but I recommend people reading Pepe Escobar’s recent article.

    Hoosiers get what they deserve, and they are getting a government that wishes them dead. However, the irony it’s playing into the hands of Democrats; it’s a version of voter suppression.

    By owning the Libs, Republican voters will die in waves of Covid variants. So, yeah, sure, it will cause short-term damage to our hospital systems, but it’s an excellent business for funeral and morgue oligarchs. Our healthcare system is set up for profit enhancement, so Covid is just another grand financial opportunity.

    As opportunism flourishes, one is only restricted by their imaginations. I can see lots of financial opportunities emerging. As the Florida condo markets become flush with supply, it may present good buying opportunities. Embrace the positive. 😉

  3. Todd, you sound like you should be part of the Indiana legislature or at least Alex Jones’ attorney.

    What has to happen before reality, sanity and good government returns to ANY of the red states, they and their families have to start dying from COVID. These Republicans simply lack sufficient neurons between their ears to understand anything that serves democracy and the people who, incredibly, elected them.

    Meanwhile, Big Pharma laughs all the way to the bank even while our health care workers drop from exhaustion. This virus wasn’t made to thin the herds. It evolved in an incredibly stupid environment…around the world with humans being the perfect Petri dish.

  4. “In the contest for “worst,” I submit that Indiana’s legislature has secured a place in the very top tier…..”

    As we all struggle with Covid-19 and its increasing variants in this economy with 6% overall increase in prices; the Indiana Republican Senate cut the Indiana Public Employee Retirement System (INPRS) monthly income by ending our 13th Check this year. It is to be replaced with the 1% COLA beginning January 2022. Those retirees include public employees, teachers, judges, police officers & firefighters, Excise, Gaming & Conservation Officers, Prosecutors and Legislators. “Your INPRS pension is a guaranteed lifetime benefit. You can count on this monthly payment arriving to you in full, for life.” A Republican guarantee ignored by this Republican Legislature.

    Indiana Legislature has cut retirement benefits to thousands of retired Republicans in order to own the retired libs among them. A hollow victory which will affect the economy of many Republicans in the entire state. Personally figuring my 5.9% Social Security COLA minus the increase for Medicare and adding the $2.80 monthly COLA to my PERF check, I will receive $3.00 LESS monthly beginning in January. Somebody in the Senate should have done the math before making this decision and others.

  5. As a nurse working at a large urban hospital in Indiana this is both maddening and sad to hear that our state legislature is STILL following the tRump guide to pandemic containment. Our hospital ICU is once again filled with COVID patients and over 90% of them are unvaccinated. I can’t think of any other country on earth that has so politicized this deadly disease and the vaccine to prevent it, and to stop the spread of COVID. Srsly what the hell is wrong with these people when even the ultra conservative chamber of commerce does NOT want this law? I would move to another country if they would allow Americans in!

  6. To me it’s a window into how things will work on a national scale if the GQP can secure permanent majorities in both the House and Senate as well as win the White House, based on voter repression tactics enacted in enough red and purple states to secure a more or less permanent hold on power.

    If it does I can see California, Oregon, Washington, New York, most of New England and the Eastern seaboard down to Philadelphia eventually suing to dissolve our Constitution and form their own national governments. Texas will follow because it’s Texas. Then we wait to see if the GQP tries to exercise military force to stop them and to see if the military brass comply with orders to do so. If I’m still around I will leave Indiana and what’s left of the USA and find some place outside of it to live out my final years on this planet.

    Both the ‘22 and ‘24 elections are about HR1, the “For the People Act of 2021″ and little else. To pass it will require that Dems retain (or re-gain) majorities in the House and expand it in the Senate as well as retain control of the White House.

    Every blue dot living in a red state should put their money and time into helping to win a congressional seat wherever seats are competitive in the country. They are no longer local elections when they have existential national and global consequences.

  7. Yes, Vern, as a journalist, one finds that thinking like a lawyer, or having that skill set, is mandatory. I’m finding more and more dead ends because the Republicans/Democrats are very good at not leaving many trails leading them back to their oligarchic sources. Therefore, you have to research and file complaints to get what you want. They refuse to answer FOIA’s daring you to sue them for the information.

    The bigger media outfits rarely even file FOIAs, let alone hire attorneys. As an independent, it’s cost-prohibitive, so you do your own.

    And guess what you find out with the judges in Indiana?

    They are as bad as the politicians.

    The press was granted the powers but they won’t use it so they are withering away. As they wither, the vulture oligarchs buy their decaying carcasses to sell off any meat remaining.

    The great independent journalists I know use GoFundMe to raise money for legal fees. It’s the only way for them to afford legal representation to hold nation-states accountable.

    That’s why I laugh when people are afraid we’ll lose our democracy if the GOP does this or that. It’s already lost because the oligarchy captured it and destroyed the free press. Now, there is no Fourth Branch of Government to hold them accountable to the people.

    Until the free press is restored, it’s a kleptocracy – a free-for-all.

  8. I am starting to think there is some think tank out there that said how can we make sure Republicans win the next election, and they cooked up the “Freedom” sound bite. Worst part about this, the Republicans that bought into the strategy are not thinking long term or even in the best interest of the country.

    This sound bite has an emotional punch, but more importantly it will keep the country from getting back to normal and upset voters respond to emotion better than logic, and will vote Republican. Be Damned if it tanks the economy, or even kills people, they will win.

    I got a subscription to the NY Times a few years back because the Trump administration had things spinning so far from normal that I needed a source of news I could trust to be fairly balanced and truthful, and read awful things day after day. I found now days I am reading about semi-normal things like political negotiation on legislation (albeit by only one party) and I am back to enjoying reading the paper.

    What makes me cringe now days is that things are doing amazingly well, but half the country is convinced otherwise, and it comes down to the emotional manipulation of a crazy, out of control political party that has somehow convinced people, among other things, COVID is not real, and they are worse off than they were when Trump was in charge.

    It takes Republicans at every level to make this kind of trick work. Just check your brain at that door. The Indiana legislature is right up there with the rest of them.

  9. Here’s a bit of irony/perspective to add to the stupidity of all this. Former REPUBLICAN Governor Mitch Daniels – now President of Purdue University – announced a policy of get vaccinated or submit to regular testing for all faculty, staff, and students barring a religious exemption (presumably that you can back up.) long before Joe Biden started publicly discussing the idea. Participation in this policy is a term of employment. Rokita is working to sue the Biden Administration for a policy that one of the most revered Republicans in the state championed very early on. Ironic isn’t it? It will be great fun (sarcasm) to watch the Republican legislature rip apart one of their own kind….I mean, they’ll have to won’t they? Won’t Rokita have to sue Purdue too? And the legislature will undo one of the best policies that ever came off Daniel’s pen? All that is tongue in cheek of course, this is all political theater. They’ll never be held accountable for this irony, it’s what politicians do. I’m not one of Daniel’s devotee’s by any means, but at least he’s not as insane as the legislature we now have. (I won’t go so far as to say he had nothing to do with leading us to where we are however.)

  10. With the gerrymandering it will only get worse.

    Unfettered capitalism always contained the seeds of America’s destruction. Now we witness those seeds grow into the tree of Idiocracy.

  11. Additionally, there seems to be a push to police the in-class comments of school teachers for personal opinions. Got a ‘survey’ from Mike Karickhoff that asked my view of such legislation. What is this mind control effort about? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. I completely agree with Ms. Kennedy. Come on Hoosiers…..we can elect better representatives.

  13. Religious-based exemptions from getting the vaccine is pure bull puckey.

    There isn’t a word in any scripture that mentions this sort of thing. As with so many religious-based stupidity, this is yet another lie being foisted against ignorant people. It makes my point earlier about the human Petri dish of stupidity.

  14. Our boys here in FLA got all the time they needed to push through their idiot plan to stop mandates. I guess it helps to have the world’s worst governor working in concert with your legislature when you’re vying for the title of world’s worst legislature.

  15. The Indiana legislature always holds an organization day in November, before the session starts in January. The committee hearing was held on organization day, a day when all the legislators are already in Indianapolis. They apparently were going to add a second day on Monday to pass legislation, but changed their mind when the crazies came to the committee hearing. So, they actually avoided the $30,000 extra cost of a one day session. So, I think it’s wrong to tag them with that expense, since it was avoided.

    I think they record those committee hearings. I have been desperately looking for the recording but haven’t been able to find it on the legislature’s website. If anyone has a link, I’d like to see it and possibly write about it. Apparently, even the Trump-supporting GOP legislators were shocked at the crazy that was unleashed at the committee hearing. Frankenstein’s monster?

  16. The national top, then, is crowded. And 99.9% of Hoosiers were/are unaware, and don’t care. That national top is crowded also.

  17. Of course Republicans aren’t as stupid as they act. They know that the vaccine is safe and effective but they have so little respect for their constituents that they believe that they can get away with misleading, and in fact now have to mislead, their “people” by maintaining the culture war between them and the majority.

    They are even willing to risk killing a bunch of them, and creating business and education disruption, to keep the Trump cultural wars going.

  18. I am surprised to hear that the GOP which believes in the deregulation of businesses is trying to create a law that outlaws business mandates that their employees get vaccinated. You would think we would want hospitals mandating vaccinations for their employees or getting tested often which is unpleasant.

    With the far right infiltrating the GOP even at the state level, I have noted that many laws don’t take the long view and don’t serve the greater good. As long as their candidates are loud about the culture wars when they run for office, as long as they promote the idea that global warming is a hoax, no one will hear about the policies they will choose to support. They don’t even think about how GOP policies will affect them. Due to their hostility towards the truth of global warming, Indiana farmers will not be incentivized to engage in sustainable farming practices.

    It is tragic that the conservatives have become so blatantly hostile towards scientific discoveries and innovations. This has led to all the misinformation about the vaccines which in turn has increased the number of anti-vaxxers.

    People have become increasingly distrustful of medicine because the MBA’s seemed to be more worried about their profit margins than quality of care. They are even limiting the amount of time doctors can spend with each patient. They are treating people like commodities, a dehumanizing attitude.

    Time for me to pet the cat because this diatribe in make my blood pressure rise. Studies indicate petting a cat or dog, lowers blood pressure.

  19. I hate to disagree with truth, so let me just add to the discussion by introducing another point:
    There is more than politics at work here :: there is history.
    So, we must not forget that just as the Democrats in the South switched parties and became Republicans after the Civil Rights bills of LBJ, so did the Copperheads in Indiana, who were Democrats during the Civil War, switched parties and became Republicans in the 20th century. But, there was no shifting of parties among Hoosier Republicans, and thus, Indiana became a one party state and will remain so even if gerrymandering were ended.
    So, I will fight to the death anyone who says Indiana has the world’s worst legislature without also stating that the Gen. Ass. is made up of the world’s worst citizens – citizens who do not share the standards of the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States, especially the phrases that mention ‘domestic Tranquility’, ‘the general Welfare’, and ‘the Blessings of Liberty’. And neither do they respect and honor the concept of the Separation of Powers when they elect an Attorney General who serves the purposes espoused by the Gen. Ass. rather than the Executive branch.
    But rest assured, all this, too, will pass, my fellow Hoosiers, although it may take 500 more years. But we will eventually become a populace in which there will be no varied colors of our skins and the citizens of that time will be made up of people who are of a bit darker complexion, having ended the racism of our current age.

  20. To a degree the Corporate Suits of the GOP in the business community must have been shocked at venomous level of their base. They should have not have been since the cultivation of the GOP Rabid Reactionary Right Wing, coupled with bible thumping has delivered the votes for them.

    What probably worries GOP office holders is the idea of getting tossed out in a primary. This demonstration of zealous ideology by the base, tosses on it’s head any idea of lofty GOP Platforms of Conservatism, small Government and blah, blah.

    The New GOP reminds me of China’s Red Guard ran amok purging the old guard of the Chinese Communist Party. It is one reason the GOP Elected officials must toss scruples aside to stay in office.

  21. Religious freedumb isn’t what it was cracked up to be. Just another stoopid attempt to bypass laws made to keep us all safe.

  22. I can see it now- As the Indiana legislature is about to go under, in a pit of quicksand, some folks throw ropes to them. They, in all their
    brilliance, decline the ropes, because they were thrown by “Them Libs!”
    How far back does Indiana legislative idiocy go? One could answer that “Only The Shadow knows,” but here is an example from 100 years ago:
    In re: immigration, around 1921- “Said Indiana Republican Fred S. Purnell, ‘There is little, or no similarity between the clear-thinking
    self-governing stocks that sired the American people and this stream of irresponsible and broken wreckage that is pouring into the lifeblood of America
    the social and political diseases of the Old World.” pg. 408, “These Truths,” Jill Lepore

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