This Friday will be the start of an election year. So if you’re already sick of the campaign cycle, get used to it, because it’s about to get worse. All I have to say is thank the maker this era of near-unlimited spending on political ads is also the era of DVRs that allow us to skip commercials.
In the midst of all the ads, grandstanding, attacks, and other irrelevant noise to come in the next ten months, it’s important to not get distracted and to keep track of the things that really matter: the issues. To that end, I’m here to help.
Here are a few of the things Governor Mike Pence or the Indiana state legislature did in 2015:
- Accepted the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, used to augment the existing Healthy Indiana Plan.
- Announced, then cancelled, JustIN. Though to be fair, it was never clear if the site was really a state-run news source or, as Pence claimed, simply a press release service made out to be something it wasn't.
- Stripped the Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elected office, of its power after fighting Glenda Ritz at every turn since she took office.
- Abandoned Common Core standards without much a plan to replace them. The state later adopted a new curriculum heavy on standardized testing.
- Passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, effectively legalizing LGBT discrimination in Indiana and resulting in a nationwide backlash against the state. The legislature hastily added anti-discrimination language to the law to save face, but later in the year, a proposed expansion of the state’s nondiscrimination policy left exemptions allowing some forms of discrimination.
- Created a needle exchange to help stem an HIV outbreak in the state.
- Repealed the state’s Common Construction Wage law.
- Announced that Indiana would not take in Syrian refugees (and was ignored).
You might agree with some of these, disagree with others. I myself have different opinions on each issue. But these are things that happened in Indiana this year. So regardless of whatever pageantry 2016 has in store on the campaign trail, just remember everything that went down this past year when you get to the voting booth, whichever way you vote.
And if you're not registered to vote, go do that. Call it a New Year's resolution, one that you might actually keep.