Neighboring states leave Indiana behind in 'cloud of smoke'
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Most Hoosiers are okay with legalizing marijuana -- 85% approve, according to a poll from Indiana Public Radio and Ball State University.
However, Indiana law does not allow citizen-led initiatives on the ballot.
Political experts don't see an appetite among Republicans - who hold a supermajority at the Indiana Statehouse and in the governor's office -- for giving citizens a direct voice.
So, Indiana State Democratic Chairman Michael Schmuhl suggested neighboring states have left Indiana behind in a cloud of smoke.
"And some of these states are not dissimiliar from our state," said Schmuhl. "Yes, we have our challenges. There are some sort of structures around that and some disadvantages, but direct voice for people to vote on things -- especially, when it comes to their own body and their own choices -- you would think that that would be a no-brainer."
Opponents of citizen-led initiatives argue voters choose politicians who can be trusted to make the best decisions on behalf of Hoosiers.
However, Schmuhl countered, that idea has been eroded by a single party controlling the levers of power. Republicans have held tightly to power since 2010, when Mitch Daniels was re-elected governor -- which Schmuhl pointed out gives the GOP total control of drawing lines for Indiana's congressional voting districts.
"What gerrymandered districts do is it speaks to the extremes of both sides," said Schmuhl. "That's who's going to get through a primary, is the loudest voices. Here in Indiana, unfortunately, that is folks that are extreme and on the right. I would argue that those elections aren't reflective of the average Hoosier's belief."
Schmuhl contended that some parts of the nation's democracy -- both federal and state -- are broken.
Indiana is also one of only six states where voters are allow to vote a straight-party ticket. Opponents argue this allows voters to support a party's slate of candidates without much thought.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
A bill moving through the Kentucky Legislature would make fluoride treatment in drinking water optional for local municipalities. House Bill 141 …
New York state lawmakers have appointed members to the Community Commission on Reparations Remedies, created through legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul …
A new report argued many charitable foundations need to examine the origin of their wealth and repair harms done. The National Committee for …
A proposed urban reforestation program in Massachusetts aims to help cities mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation would create a state …
A Wyoming nonprofit is helping single mothers climb out of poverty by connecting them with the training and support they need to step into and succeed…
Even though March is barely underway, parents of Wisconsin kids are being encouraged to plan for summer reading activities - especially if their …
A law aimed at immigrants crossing the border in Texas will not take effect tomorrow, after a federal judge halted enforcement until a court battle …
Minnesota already has a law calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Now, there's a similar plan for transportation, and a legislative …