EDITORIAL: Super Bowl is super chance to change state's image

 IBJ Staff
February 12, 2011
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IBJ Editorial

As the ubiquitous Super Bowl XLVI countdown clocks make abundantly clear, in less than a year the eyes of the nation will be on Indianapolis as it hosts the greatest spectacle in football.

And for the next 356 days or so, a lot of time and energy will be spent making sure the city is ready for the spotlight. Not much gets civic leaders’ attention like having 5,000 members of the media and 150,000 deep-pocketed fans drop by for a long weekend.

The local host committee already is hard at work ironing out the details members hope will make the event a success. But there’s more to it than keeping traffic flowing and sidewalks clear of snow.

The 2012 Super Bowl is an opportunity to change once and for all the unfair perception of Indiana as a backwater, corn-fed state full of squealing tires and good old boys. It’s so much more—a life sciences hub, clean-energy innovator and logistics powerhouse, to name just a few.

But for all those accomplishments, we’re still stuck in the Dark Ages in some regards. And here’s where legislators could do their part to help by bringing Indiana’s laws into the 21st century.

Our General Assembly to-do list reads like a “best of” IBJ editorials: Institute a statewide smoking ban. Get rid of antiquated liquor laws. Drop an effort to write the gay marriage ban into the constitution. Forget about heavy-handed immigration reform.

None of these are easy issues, especially for politicians. But they are crucial ones if Indiana wants to continue to break free of its aw-shucks image.

Nearly 30 states—and several Indiana cities—already prohibit smoking in public places, taking a stand against the dangers of secondhand smoke. Indiana needs to join their ranks with a strong law that demonstrates the state’s commitment to public health.

To their credit, legislators seem poised to pass a smoking ban this year, but in its current form the bill has far too many exemptions. If we aspire to build our reputation as a hotbed of medical research and life-improving treatment, we need to walk the walk.

Then there are the liquor laws. When Super Bowl visitors are in town, we’ll need a special corps of volunteers to explain to them how liquor stores can sell cold beer but not cold mixers, grocery stores are just the opposite, and their coolers had better be stocked before Sunday.

Our liquor laws are complicated and unnecessary—and remind us of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane breaking up the Duke boys’ stills in the hills of Hazzard County. Isn’t that the impression of Indiana we’re trying to erase?

There’s a bill pending that would legalize Sunday carryout sales. Naturally, it has plenty of opposition.

These lifestyle issues are important, but hardly the only thing lawmakers have on their plates as they write a new budget, restore the state’s insolvent unemployment insurance fund and examine Indiana’s education system. So why bog down the session by tackling hot-button issues like gay marriage and immigration? It’s just not necessary.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.


  • Timely....and welcome
    Having spent 30+ years in mostly Western states,and recently relocating by corp.transfer to Indy, we feel like we've returned to a 60-70's childhood spent in Ohio. Smoking bans are years in place, elsewhere,with no economic consequence; well planned public transportation exists even in conservative Utah; and our gays sons are doing just fine, elsewhere, with their life partners, thank you very much. I'm thankful for a career that puts me on a plane most weeks, via the surprising delightfully well-planned Indianapolis airport. In our first year here ,I've met many well-educated, friendly, and ambitious Indiana folks...so am hopeful that our newly adopted state will soon join the 21st century.
  • So True
    All great comments. I could not agree more.
  • Great point
    This week's editorial was right on point. We may be hosting the Super Bowl but any accolades stemming from that event will be overshadowed by our lack of a statewide smoke-free air policy. It says little about the priorities of our city and our state when a sporting event trumps the health of workers, residents and visitors.

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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1