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Monday, May 2, 2016

Baird seeing another side of government as state representative

Thursday, April 7, 2011

(Photo)
Rep. Jim Baird greets other House members and staffers shortly before Tuesday's session. [Order this photo]
INDIANAPOLIS -- For freshman members of the Indiana House of Representatives, it's been an odd first session. The five-week walkout by House Democrats has made for a surreal few months for all house members on both sides of the aisle. For the newbies like Greencastle's Jim Baird, there still isn't a concept of what a "normal" session is like.

On the other hand, the former Putnam County Commissioner went to Indianapolis with the goal of learning as much as he could about the process of state government. On that front, he has succeeded in spite of the strangeness of the session.

"One of the goals I had was I wanted to know where the money came from and where it was going," Baird said. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, he has had this opportunity.

A big concern for county commissioners throughout the state is transportation funding. As urban, suburban and rural counties all try to divide up the pie, each county can feel it's getting the short straw.

As an example, counties receive funding for roads based on registered passenger cars, but not for pickups or SUVs. Since District 44 is largely rural, Baird has an interest in seeing this change.

"That's concerning to some of us in rural areas," Baird said.

The other side of the arguments, though, is that city roads are wider and more heavily traveled than some country roads. In discussions with other representatives, Baird now understands the urban counties have a different set of arguments.

"They said, if you want to start counting pickups, we want to start counting lane miles instead of road miles," Baird said.

With the nature of state allocations being as complicated as it is, the issues aren't always cut and dried.

More broadly, Baird has found the process of a bill becoming a law -- from drafting, to committee, to one chamber, to the other chamber and to the governor's desk -- is an arduous process.

"What you see being discussed at the very beginning is not always what you see going to the governor," Baird said. "All that discussion in between is important."

The unprecedented delay to the session has made this an especially busy April at the Statehouse. Although there are only three weeks left to the session, the process is only at the "halfway point," when bills flip from the House to the Senate and from the Senate to the House.

"We have less than four weeks now to complete two months worth of work," House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday. "But we are very committed to making it happen."

As such, Baird has been dividing his nights between Indianapolis and his rural Greencastle home, making the hour-long commute about half the time and staying in the capital city the rest of the time.


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He isn't robbing anyone of their right to organize. He is trying to protect the right of people to NOT join a union. No one should be forced to pay tribute to a union in order to get or keep a job.

He's fighting for a healthier Indiana economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, right-to-work states added 1.5 million private-sector jobs from 1999 to 2009 for a 3.7% increase; states that are not right-to-work lost 1.8 million jobs over the same decade, a decline of 2.3%.

Keep up the good work Jim!

-- Posted by rollaengineer on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 8:38 AM

Benedick's retoric shows how ignorant people are about what really is going on in our state government. Thanks to Governor Daniels and people like Jim Baird for the way they are leading our state and keeping us in the black financially.

-- Posted by not gullible on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 8:57 AM

Unlike Obama, Jim and Daniels are trying to be fiscally responsible. Maybe the president should take some lessions from them. 14 TRILLION in debt is just ridiculous, keep spending Obama (hint of sarcasim).

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 9:33 AM

With any luck, unions will begin to wither and die. No one is being denied anything, but it makes for another good parroting rhetoric point for the kool-aid chuggers.

A big THANK YOU to Gov. Daniels for not bowing to the liberal fruits who would have us near bankruptcy, (with nothing to show for it either), as all those other states are now!!!

-- Posted by stranded67 on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 9:41 AM

Taking millions of dollars from our public schools? Didn't you read Monday, April 2 Greencastle Banner-Graphic where Superintendant Dr. Green got the fiscally foolish school board to further increase the cost of getting rid of him? He and his wife are moving to Illinois to work in the school system there, and now he has suggested (and they approved) a bonus to the "Retiring" (at age 55, not like you and me) teachers and administers that will drain our limited funds for education. Get the buffoons out of the School board; tell Washington to keep their money that they only give if they get to demand that our teachers work though rediculously fast daily teaching schedules; and repeal the "No child left behind" laws and programs that make it impossible to NOT advance untrained, untrainable, or failing students. School is a priviledge, not a day care center. As for unions, they have done lots of good in their day for the working women and men, but when they intimidate though threats or exclusion they cross the line of right or wrong and should be removed from power and influence. Anyone may disagree, but doesn't anyone see these truths?

-- Posted by alfr1 on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 11:51 AM

Half of the State of Indiana's budget is spent on k-12 schools EVERY YEAR! What goes down the endless money pit of the likes of IPS, Gary and Ft Wayne urban Schools CANNOT come to Putnam or Clay County Schools, it is a rigged game to the keep it the same.

Stop letting the Pat Bauers of the world deceive us into thinking they are for the little guy, if ONLY they had more tax money. Enough already.

-- Posted by davgreencastle on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 12:10 PM

We can all agree to disagree on unions. However, since history does have a tendency to repeat its self. One thing should be done first, read articles about John L. Lewis and the coal miners. There were other labor situations early in the 20th century to explore. By reading our past we can understand why things are the way they are today.

-- Posted by BHAMILTON on Thu, Apr 7, 2011, at 8:13 PM

First, let me say I did not vote for Mr. Baird.

All that being said, I had the opportunity to speak with him personally about educators' concerns for public school education. The Indiana Council for Administrators of Special Education hosted an event for all our legislators. Mr. Baird was the only one to attend from our district between the House and the Senate (they were all invited). I think that speaks volumes about his willingness to hear our concerns. Not expecting any additional response and expecting he would not even remember me, he wrote me a personal note expressing his deepest respect for educators and the job they are doing. I don't know if that will translate into a different vote, but at least he knows of our concerns thanks to ICASE and myself. Give him a chance and then get out and VOTE next time.

-- Posted by kiwi123 on Fri, Apr 8, 2011, at 11:30 AM

WHY NOT STOP GIVING ALL THE FREE MONEY TO LAZY PEOPLE? WHY NOT MAKE NON-PROPERTY OWNERS PAY SCHOOL TAX? MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE ARE LOSING IN THIS WORLD....WE ARE THE ONES THAT GET HURT IN THE END FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS DECIDED..WE ARE THE WORKING CLASS...WHY NOT GET RID OF COUNTY STREET WORKERS BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE MONEY TO FIX OUR ROADS...WE ARE GOING BACK IN TIME FOR EVERYTHING...EVERYONE NEEDS TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING AROUND IN THE WORLD AND THANK THE LORD THAT WE ARE STILL ALIVE AND HEALTHY!

-- Posted by cato on Fri, Apr 8, 2011, at 3:34 PM

I HAVE TO AGREE WITH CATO. AND HERE IS ANOTHER ONE TO ADD TO THAT.

WHY NOT DRUG TEST ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT NEED OR ARE ON FOOD STAMPS,MEDICAID,HOUSING,GOVERMENT APARTMENTS THEY WOULD BE AMAZED OF HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD FAIL THE TEST AND THEY SHOULD ALWAY HAVE RAMDOM TEST TO AND IF THE FAIL OR DONT PASS THEIR TEST THEY SHOULD NO LONGER GET ANY KIND OF HELP AT ALL!!!!!!

-- Posted by sassyas27 on Fri, Apr 8, 2011, at 5:02 PM

No, we're against the thug tactics and behavior of unions. I laugh every time I hear a union construction commercial on the radio, "union by choice." Yeah, right. I've seen how the UAW operates first hand. They're shady, unhelpful, and protect lazy a--es and demand higher wages than reasonable for the work done in several instances. Its more about protecting that almighty seniority rather than being a good worker, making a quality product. At least in Greencastle it is. And THATS why people don't like unions!!!

And you are flat out ridiculous with your claims. Might want to take a deep breath their chicken little, the sky is staying put.

-- Posted by stranded67 on Fri, Apr 8, 2011, at 11:58 PM

Cato...

In 2008, the Indiana General Assembly passed Public Law 146 to eliminate property tax levies as a General Fund revenue source of school corporations. The lost revenues were replaced with an increase in the state sales tax.

-- Posted by LitNup on Mon, Apr 11, 2011, at 7:28 PM

davgreencastle

Under the governor's plan released last week, the state would spend about $27.8 billion over two years and have about $725 million in reserves at the end of fiscal year 2013. Spending on public schools would remain at current levels, but school funding cuts of about $450 million made over the current budget cycle would not be restored.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has made his agency's funding request to the State Budget Agency. The total calls for about $6.5 billion annually from the state's general fund.

This is actually less than half by $1.8 billion dollars over two years.

-- Posted by LitNup on Mon, Apr 11, 2011, at 10:13 PM

The amount we spend on education in this country has drastically increased over the last 20 years, and we spend the 3rd most per child in the world for education, yet we rank in the 12 - 20th range in all major educational disciplines. Everyone, not just the democrats seem to think that the answer to better education is to throw more money at it, but there has been no indication that this has any effect on quality in the school system. Busting the teacher's union, and that is exactly what the state's are trying to do, is the first step in actually trying to take a different approach to educating our children. All that being said, the biggest problem I see is that most people believe that it is the state's responsibility to teach our children. I would completely disagree with that philosophy. It is the state's responsibility, because it was decided politically, to provide learning centers, learning materials, and teachers to the public for the purpose of education. Ultimately, the children, and more importantly, the parents should have the bulk of the responsibility to see to it that the learning takes place. If little Timmy can't read in the 3rd grade, but is fully capable of reading, has the teacher failed, or is it the product of the support system at home? I would take blame away from the teachers, and look to ourselves to re-claim responsibility for our children. If someone doesn't want to learn, they are wasting the time and resources which could be devoted to others who are eager to be taught.

-- Posted by almostfootballfree on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 6:38 AM

I am totally in favor of helping local communities restructure their "community schools."

The problem is more complex than many people will acknowledge. Schools in Indiana are educating more ESL students (English Second Language), generational poverty (which is positively linked to poor reading skills and school performance). I have heard In Greencastle we are, as a whole corporation, over 50% free and reduced lunch.

There are some estimates that 12-20% of adolescents have clinically significant mental health problems, are substance impacted youth, victims or witnesses of domestic violence, sexually abused, or literally homeless having been dismissed by their parents to live with friends. I can say definitively, there are few affordable resources to meet the needs of these children in our communities. Even though our state legislature has continually mandated legislation that seem to make schools as much about being agents of social intervention as responsible for education (all unfunded). These environmental and psychological dynamics tremendously impact a students ability to attend to or engage in the educational process. Everyone seems to be holding schools and teachers responsible for treating or overcoming mental health issues or dysfunctional dynamics outside the reach of educators.

As far as our position in the world or Indiana as a state in the spectrum of educational success the statistics often hide important points. Almost all reports of TIMSS results focus on average scores, but this masks important differences. For example U.S. rankings improve when considering the percentage of advanced scorers. In 2007 15% of U.S. fourth graders and 10% of eighth graders scored at or above the "advanced" benchmark. Only Singapore and Taiwan had a higher percentage.

It almost seems like the agenda is, "We don't know how to fix this so lets privatize education as much as we can and eliminate the expense/controversy of correctly addressing the core issues.

I did not vote for the republicans to "Expand Educational Opportunity" I voted for them to restore community control of schools and give local communities the tools and support to help communities adjust those educational institutions to be more successful, not strip the community of control and privatize our educational system. I thought local control and home town values were what the Republican Party was all about. Give us control of our schools.

-- Posted by LitNup on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 4:15 PM

Older and retired people are going to loose medicare, medicade is going away eventually, schools lost 357 teachers alone in IPS Schools, what do you think is going to happen. Tea partiers and repubs are DESTROYING the systems that were put in place generations ago. They want medicare to go away and give a one time payment to seniors of $6000. to go and pay for their own insurance, if any insurance company will cover them. Give the RICHEST 1% of this country another tax cut of $200000. per million, money that they don't need, give it to millionaires and take it away from the poor and elderly. And guess what that means all americans democrats, tea party, repubs! Vote more of these idiots in office maybe you will loose your freedom next!

-- Posted by BTruth1958 on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 9:22 PM

More moronic statements made by the envious who hate those that have succeeded...

-- Posted by stranded67 on Mon, Apr 18, 2011, at 10:24 AM


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