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MurphTheSurf3 On January - 2 - 2012

On four occasions last year unions gathered in the Indiana State Capitol to protest actions beings considered by the GOP dominated State Assembly. In all four cases, the bills were either defeated or postponed.

Indiana officials delivered an end-of-year surprise to state residents on Friday, announcing a limit on the number of people who can be inside the statehouse at any one time. The bill was introduced under expedited rules which pertain to administrative procedures. As a result, there were no public hearings. Democratic and labor leaders swiftly condemned the move as an attempt to quash dissent and reduce the size of public protests.

Effective Jan. 1, only 3,000 people will be allowed inside the building at one time which includes the 1,700 state employees who work there. This means that just over 1,000 others will be able to assemble on a given day.

The rule was drafted by the Indiana State Police, the state’s homeland security department and the state fire marshal’s office. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) appointed the heads of all those offices.

The action is clearly in response to union action. Last February, for example, thousands of union supporters gathered at the statehouse to protest the GOP-controlled legislature’s push to pass “right to work” legislation, that would have barred companies and employees from negotiating contracts that required all employees to pay representation dues.

With vocal union support, thirty-nine Democratic lawmakers walked out to protest the bill, eventually staying away from the state for five weeks. Daniels was forced to persuade the legislature to postpone the bill.

Even though it’s pretty clear why the restrictive bill is in place, State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell, tells a different story. He told the Indianapolis Star that the capacity limit was being implemented strictly for safety reasons.

“During the last legislative session, several scheduled events were interrupted or canceled, and we want everyone who visits or schedules an event in the building to have a pleasant and successful experience,” he said.

That trumps the Constituti­on Any Day, right? No?

Let’s consider the 1st Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishm­ent of religion, or prohibitin­g the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances­.”

Now let’s consider Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constituti­on, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishe­s the U.S. Constituti­on, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as “the supreme law of the land.”

“This Constituti­on, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constituti­on or laws of any state to the contrary notwithsta­nding.”

Pretty cut and dried. The Indiana Law is Unconstitu­tional….­..It will take time and money to oppose it effectively. Given precedence, the law should be easily struck down. Now if we only had a Supreme Court willing to back us up on that….

The GOP (with the assistance of ALEC- The American Legislative Exchange Council) has crafted a series of actions aimed at sidetracking constitutional protections wherever possible. Block the Vote, Derail the Unions, Limit the Right to Assemble.

The (oh-so-serious) games continue.

The Year We Better Take the Battle to Them.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

13 Responses so far.

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  1. SueInCa says:

    What are they going to do in the instance of the State of the State address? Is there not usually more than that in attendence?

  2. choicelady says:

    Artist- Any decent judges left in Indiana who will honor the Constitution and NOT the GOP opposition to, well, people?

    Y’know -- I’d think this is someplace the Baggers should join forces with anyone else. They crowded into the CA capitol and might even find reason to do it in Indiana. They’d be prohibited, too -- if the powers that would be did not turn a blind eye, of course.

    Why are so many Americans willing to give up their freedoms? The pissing and moaning is all about “property” (which is not guaranteed or protected save for the 4th, 5th, and some 14th amendment protections IF you have property) but nothing about civil liberties. And yet the Right fears the Black Helicopters from the feds all the while the goblins in the states are the ones picking off their rights.

    There are a lot of rights over and above the Second Amendment which is NOT even under threat. Wow -- some people sure do fool easily.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I used the Five Cent 175th anniversary stamp for two reasons.

      I wonder if there are jurists and legslators in these red states who give a plug nickel for the fullness of the Constitution and are not totally invested in the narrowest of interpretations that support their policy positions.

      1966 was the 175th Anniversary….the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the mid point of the anti-War movement. Feminism was on the march. And so much more. It all feels like ancient history.

    • Artist50 says:

      I’m not sure there are CL. We just go further to the right. We passed a very restrictive abortion bill in 2011 and Daniels eight years are up so he doesn’t care, although he has openly said he’d like to be a VP choice and this is going to bring in some bad PR. But, what I think is bad PR may be good PR to the Right. Sadly, Mike Pence wants his job and he’s twice as conservative and we don’t really have anyone strong to run against him. It’s amazing we went with Obama in 2008, perhaps those people don’t vote in local elections. It makes me crazy!!!!

      • AdLib says:

        As disappointing as the rightward swerve is in IN, I do agree with CL that ultimately, this will be stayed then struck down as unconstitutional.

        This is a violation of federal rights so it’s not up to state judges or state supreme courts to have the final say, even if they want to put their politics ahead of the Constitution.

        Walker in WI has tried the same tactic and it’s only a matter of time until it is challenged de facto by a protest then struck down in court (federal if necessary).

        What is with the rank and file Republicans who just look the other way as THEIR rights are taken away from them too by their leaders, just because they want their team to “win” by any means necessary?

        Winning is everything to these fools, even if they have to lose everything they have so “their” party wins. Frankly, being a Republican seems to require a degree of self-destructive mental illness.

        And their ignorance is astonishing, not even being capable of the thought, “What if Dems ever take back the Governor and Legislature and WE want to protest to stop them?”

        Destroying the town to save it, the GOP motto since 1980.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I wanted you to see this:

          I used the Five Cent 175th anniversary stamp for two reasons.

          I wonder if there are jurists and legslators in these red states who give a plug nickel for the fullness of the Constitution and are not totally invested in the narrowest of interpretations that support their policy positions.

          1966 was the 175th Anniversary….the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the mid point of the anti-War movement. Feminism was on the march. And so much more. It all feels like ancient history.

          As to your remarks. I know you are right about the Constitutionality of the laws but judges have upheld blatantly unconstitutional statutes before and given the the nature of our Supreme Court (and God help us the future Supremes if O loses)….I am not confident.

          I believe that for the GOP there is no option now….they want to seize the entire government and make it impossible for the Dems to ever be anything but a Minority Party. Redistricting, Block the Vote, Anti-Unionism, Mega Money, Media Control.

  3. Artist50 says:

    Having been in this huge stone building many times, this ruling is poppycock! A typical small town high school basketball game will seat three thousand. My own hometown of New Castle has a world class facility that will seat over half the town, almost 10,000. And they don’t seem to be worried about those fire codes. This is strictly political and beneath Daniels because they’re getting ready to vote for the “Right to Work” law. There’s plenty of room outside for protesters, but I wouldn’t think Mitch would want the NCAA crowd to see them!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Right on the mark. Any idea what a reasonable crowd really is for the interior of the capitol building?

      • Artist50 says:

        I don’t have any idea and could not find any numbers, but the place is huge, and Caru is right it is a very nice public building. It’s right downtown where the NCAA will be held, if people are outside protesting it will snarl up traffic.

        Indianapolis has a very vibrant downtown thanks to a unique city-county government that has helped our downtown immensely. Most local governments are held by the Democrats because most people used to union, but at the state level it’s usually Republican. Evan Bayh was a popular governor, he was an extremely moderate Democrat and he went to Washington, I’m sure at the dismay of his father, and became a money hungry Republican. People here often vote against their best interest because of social conservatism. I was taken off my high school class reunion blog because I objected to them politicizing it’s during the last elections. They were talking about death panels and telling people not to vote for Obama in emails and I was furious. This was a minister from our class that started this blog to keep us all informed about each other. I finally said if it was going to be a political blog to leave my name off -- and he did!

      • Caru says:

        I haven’t been able to find the square footage of the building, but considering the sheer size of the building, as shown below, I think that the 3000 number is a low-ball estimate as to how many people the building can safely hold.


        Also, what about the grounds of the building? Are they limiting the number of people who can gather there too?

        • Khirad says:

          There’s a lot of state capitol buildings that I think are eyesores.

          I must say I always thought Indiana’s was one of the finer ones.

          And yes, they totally have the space.

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