Friday, April 03, 2015

RFRA and the damage done: Legislators have some explaining to do.

With the exception of five lonely defectors in the Indiana House, including my own state representative Ed Clere, the state's Republican majority dropped a neutron bomb on Indiana business when it pushed RFRA through to Governor Pence. It has since been amended, but ample damage waa done.

The PC: Our bedfellows are becoming stranger with each passing legislative session.

It is bad law, a regrettable over-reach (the GOP enjoys a super majority in Indiana state government), a human rights disaster, and a body blow to the state's business climate -- all of these being purely negative aspects, and yet the saddest part of it might be the grubby, small-minded pettiness of the politics involved, and how, with a stroke of his gilded crayon, Pence has deposited this bundle of divisive bile at all our front doors, to foul all our communities.

These are the same legislators who've been so conducive to measures favoring the growth of Indiana-brewed beer. Understanding that this is my personal opinion only ... but don't some of our "friends" need to explain in greater detail why this happened?

Surely RFRA must rank as one of the greatest unforced errors in recent Hoosier political memory. From the perspective of beer and brewing, it's worth remembering that the same fundamentalist constituency being pandered to with RFRA forms the backbone of Prohibitionist sentiment in Indiana. That's worrisome.

My state senator, Ron Grooms, has responded to principled criticism of his unqualified support for RFRA by digging ever deeper bunkers of denial, and insisting that RFRA was misunderstood.

But the problem for Grooms is that we understand all too well.

Honesty, anyone?

Business Insider: Only group effort can clean up RFRA fallout, by John Ketzenberger (Indy Star)

... Downtown Indy's Senior Vice President Bob Schultz said last week there were more than 700 million Internet impressions of the phrase "Boycott Indiana" in the first four days after the governor signed the bill. He called the reaction a "catastrophe" for local business.

While the loss of dollars and cents won't be determined for months and may never be known for certain, the damage is already done for those who match talent with jobs in Central Indiana.

"This has played into every stereotype," said David Phoebus, an executive recruiter for Indianapolis-based Vaco. "You know, like the sign at the state line that says, 'Welcome to Indiana, set your clocks back 200 years.' "

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