Political Notebook

  • Teachers union got A-F data early
    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved – how the Indiana State Teachers Association got hold of restricted A-F school grades.
  • ISTA receives data in advance
    One mystery from the chaotic State Board of Education meeting Wednesday has been solved -- how the Indiana State Teachers Association got embargoed A-F school grades.
  • Allen GOP donations 'off the charts'
    The Allen County Republican Party says it has raised a record amount of money – more than $485,000 – so far this year.
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Bosma shifts blame in gay marriage bill furor

While House Speaker Brian Bosma is taking heat for shifting the controversial gay marriage ban to a new committee for salvage, he is solely blaming another member – Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington – for the predicament.

Leonard was one of nine Republicans on the Indiana House Judiciary Committee where the proposed constitutional amendment was assigned.

The Democrats on the committee were four known “no” votes on the measure. That meant if three Republicans opposed it, the amendment would be defeated.

One GOP member made his opposition clear but two others were publicly undecided.

Leonard specifically refused to tell the chairman how he would vote in advance.

That meant Bosma – who has repeatedly said he has asked his members to vote their conscience – couldn’t be sure if it would pass or be defeated.

“My goal has from the start been to have this come to the floor because, as I’ve said, I don’t think one person should be making this decision on behalf of all 100 members and that’s what we were down to in the Judiciary committee. One person making the decision and taking away the opportunity for every member here to cast their vote, whether it’s yes or no.”

Reporters pointed out a defeat would have meant seven people voted against it – not one.

“I’m just telling you what my impression was when one person was not going to say what their vote was until it was cast and that’s why the chairman asked me to move the bill. He didn’t feel confident that he knew what was going to happen in committee,” Bosma said.

“Hiding behind others, sending the bill down the tubes – which a lot would like to have here – I don’t think is the right thing for Hoosiers.”

Legislative files

It’s filing time for state legislative seats.

All 100 House seats and half of the 50 Senate seats are up for election. The deadline to file to run is Feb. 7.

So far here is who will be on the primary ballot:

Senate District 14 – incumbent Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn

Senate District 15 – Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries and local businessman Jeff Snyder on the Republican ballot. Jack Morris on the Democratic side

Senate District 17 – incumbent Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City

Senate District 19 – incumbent Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle

House District 22 – Curt Nisly of Goshen on the Republican ballot and Warsaw attorney David Kolbe on the Democratic side

House District 50 – incumbent Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington

House District 51 – incumbent Rep. Dennis Zent, R-Angola

House District 52 – incumbent Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn

House District 79 – incumbent Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne

House District 81 – incumbent Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne

House District 82 – incumbent Rep. David Ober, R-Albion

House District 83 – incumbent Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City

House District 84 – incumbent Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne

House District 85 – Ken Knoblauch and Denny Worman have filed on the Republican side.

The Stutzman tour

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, played tour guide and dinner host for about 75 visitors from the Fort Wayne area.

Heavy snowfall closed federal government offices Tuesday, the same day that Friends for Life, a local group of high school students opposed to abortion rights, had planned to go sight-seeing in Washington. The students and their adult chaperones had ridden in a bus and three minivans to take part in Wednesday’s annual March for Life on the National Mall.

Stutzman had earlier offered a private tour of the Capitol to the visitors from his district. He then invited them to have dinner at his home in suburban Washington.

“He said, ‘You guys have the record for the largest group that’s ever come to the house,’ ” said Mark Dolde, a math teacher at Concordia High School and faculty sponsor for Friends for Life.

Dolde said Stutzman and his wife, Christy, served Subway sandwiches, drinks and desserts.

Christy also sang for the group, and a couple of students played the piano in the Stutzmans’ home.

“They were such gracious hosts,” Dolde said. “We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”

Primary opponent

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, has a challenger in the May 6 Republican primary election.

James E. (Jim) Mahoney III of Huntington recently filed his candidacy with the Indiana Secretary of State Elections Division.

According to Mahoney’s website, he is 57, a native of South Bend, a former chief of parks and recreation for Merrillville and Schererville, a former candidate for the Indiana House.

Mahoney ran for the GOP nomination for a seat on the Huntington City Council in 2011, finishing third in a three-candidate field.

A newspaper story posted to his website quotes Mahoney as saying he has been “disabled since 1990 with a major neck injury” and that he uses a wheelchair.

Justin Kuhnle of Kendallville recently filed as a candidate for the Democratic primary election in the 3rd District.

Stutzman filed to run again on Thursday

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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