Friday, October 30, 2009

"Ogden on Politics" Public Official Of the Month For October 2009

I hope this will be a regular feature on "Ogden on Politics." My goal is to highlight the work of a public official, regardless of party, who is fighting the fight for good government reform. In particular, I want to highlight those officials who stand up not for the lobbyists and big monied interests, but for the interests of average, everyday working men and women.

The first recipient of the "Ogden on Politics" Public Official of the Month award is Senator Mike Delph. While I am no fan of Senator's Delph's immigration measures, when it comes to good government reform, Senator Delph bats a thousand. This week, Speaker Pat Bauer introduced a reform agenda for the 2010 legislative session.
While I applaud Speaker Bauer for getting religion on government reform, we should never forget that Senator Delph was fighting for it long before it became a cause for insiders, like Bauer, House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long . They are all now clammoring to jump on the reform bandwagon. that Senator Delph has been driving for quite some time.
Before the 2009 legislative session, Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana discussed Senator Delph's legislative reform proposals:
Matt Tully's column this morning discussing lobbyist reform legislation Sen. Mike Delph is introducing in this legislative session is a refreshing change. Here's a look at Delph's proposals, which he shared with Tully recently over coffee:

  • He showed me a bill (Senate Bill 17) to require the reporting of every gift of $25 or more, including meals, that a lobbyist gives to a lawmaker. The current limit is $100; a reduction in that amount would make it harder for lawmakers to keep quiet about which interest groups are funding their dinners.

  • Then he showed me a bill (Senate Bill 73) to require state university lobbyists, including presidents and trustees, to actually register as lobbyists. While it is crucial that we support and fund Indiana's universities, those institutions should have to abide by the same rules as other lobbying groups. Few groups work harder than universities to tap into the state budget. Is it too much to ask that those efforts be disclosed?

  • Two other bills that have not yet been filed would ban lawmakers from accepting gifts from lobbyists on out-of-state junkets and force the legislature
    to create a commission to fairly draw legislative districts.

Senator Delph was true to his word and did introduce bills limiting legislative gifts and seeking to reform the redistricting process. In particular, Senator Delph insistence that the legislature draw fair legislative district lines, a reform that protects voters' rights but makes legislators who want safe, noncompetitive seats, unhappy, deserves praise.

We need more legislators like Senator Delph. Thank you, Senator, for a job well done.


Downtown Indy said...

This is a good idea. We all hash and rehash what's wrong. Time to give what's good a fair look, too.

Paul K. Ogden said...

DI, I agree. It's hard not to be critical. But we shouldn't overlook when people do things right. I don't think we should expect people to be "right" 100% of the time either.

Diana Vice said...

Very, very good post. Thanks.