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Lawmaker wants review of specialty plate proceeds

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More oversight of Indiana's specialty license plates is needed to ensure that the groups who benefit spend the money appropriately, the chairman of a legislative panel reviewing the plates said.

The plates imply a state endorsement of those groups, state Rep. Ed. Soliday, R-Valparaiso, told The Times of Munster for a story Sunday.

Soliday, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, is leading a panel of state lawmakers reviewing whether Indiana should keep, reduce or eliminate its group license plate program and looking at who should decide whether a group gets a plate.

Until this year, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles typically issued a specialty license plate once 500 motorists had pledged to buy it. Indiana has issued some 459,000 "group" license plates in more than 85 different designs supporting universities, community organizations and other causes.

However, after the BMV in January issued a plate for Indiana Youth Group, an Indianapolis-based gay rights organization, the Republican-controlled General Assembly enacted a law imposing a moratorium on new plates until July 2013.

Meanwhile, several conservative lawmakers worked behind the scenes to revoke the gay group's plate on a technicality that also canceled the plate supporting Indiana 4-H, The Times reported.

Oversight legislation that Soliday sponsored earlier this year was rewritten for the moratorium. He now plans to sponsor a bill when the General Assembly reconvenes in January that outlines the best process for issuing specialty plates and ensuring appropriate spending.

"My issues have nothing to do with what people want to do in their own bedroom," Soliday said.

Most of the specialty plates cost an extra $40, with $25 going to the cause. Leaders of several of those groups told the study committee this month that any effort to limit or terminate the specialty plate program would hurt their budgets because license plate sales are an essential component of their fundraising programs.

Some lawmakers believe the General Assembly, not the BMV, should decide which causes get specialty.

However, state Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said putting the Legislature in charge will all but ensure partisan politics determines whether a group license plate is issued.

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  • Gay Rights Organization? More like "Teen Life Saving Organization."
    I have to second what has already been said. To characterize IYG as a "gay rights organization" shows a serious lack of understanding. I would expect to read this in a religious conservative organization's press release, but not in your usually balanced reporting. IYG provides a safe place for GLBT youth. In our society where many people are determined to make life as uncomfortable as possible for gay people no matter their age, IYG is perhaps better described as a "Life Saving Organization for Teens."
  • Let the people decide
    As the article states, it takes 500 signatures to even get approval to apply for the license. Once available, if people choose to purchase a plate and show their support, then why should the legislature get involved? I agree with Sen. Rogers that it would become a partisan practice, and that personal beliefs would interfere in the approval process. If Soliday is indeed anti-gay, then will he pursue getting the Boy Scouts plate revoked? According to an article in the Indianapolis Star this morning ( http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012209170316 ), the organization shielded known child molesters for nearly a century. Reprehensible! [Of course I don't want to see Boy Scouts lose any funding because as a whole they are a fine organization, but you see where I'm going here...]
  • the facts
    Indiana Youth Group is not a "Gay Rights" group. Indiana Youth Group is a support group for youths, that can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or even straight youths are welcome. It is a place where youths can be their selves and get the support that they need and might not be able to find else where. It's disgusting that some in the legislator are trying to discriminate against this group.

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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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