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Smoking ban, government reform on Daniels' 2012 agenda

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says he will push for a statewide smoking ban and mild local government reforms in the 2012 legislative session.

Those are among the priorities Daniels, a Republican who will begin his last year in office in January, plans to outline in a noon speech Friday at the downtown Skyline Club for the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis.

In an interview Thursday, he also hinted that he would support a proposal seeking legislative approval to let voters decide whether to increase local income taxes to expand mass transit in Marion County and surrounding counties.

“My attitude is the same one we’ve had generally—there ought to be local flexibility,” Daniels said.

When asked whether he would endorse Indianapolis-area leaders’ mass-transit plan, which includes raising taxes in Marion and Hamilton counties, the governor replied, “See me tomorrow.”

Daniels was more definitive Thursday in his support for the smoking ban, saying he hopes one “with minimal exceptions” can pass this year. Even if Indianapolis leaders pass a local ban in coming months, Daniels said, a statewide ban also is needed.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma has said lawmakers may seek passage of such a ban before the Super Bowl in February. Last year, a statewide smoking ban that included several exemptions such as casinos and bars failed after clean-air advocates assailed it as too weak.  

Passing sweeping changes to local government—particularly eliminating township government—also has been tough in the past. But, this time, Daniels said he’s optimistic that a few reforms, including clamping down on government nepotism and conflicts of interest, and eliminating township boards—but not the whole system of government—will get traction.

“This is going to have to be continual progress,” he said. “I just hope we can make some this time.”

On Thursday, Daniels also endorsed right-to-work legislation that Republican lawmakers have made the centerpiece of their 2012 priority list.

He said after a year of considering the issue, he’s concluded that becoming a state where unions cannot negotiate contracts requiring non-members to pay dues will make Indiana more economically competitive. He cited feedback from site selectors that at least a quarter of companies won’t eye Indiana for relocation opportunities because of its non-right-to-work status.

Right-to-work opponents say there’s been no proven correlation between a state’s economic success and its right-to-work status. They point out some studies that find lower average wages in right-to-work states.

“Nobody says this is a cure-all. If it was, we’d have tried it at the front end,” Daniels said. “Every year, we try to take steps to make it more affordable [for companies] to hire Hoosiers.”

Last year, Daniels’ top priority was passing sweeping education reforms that included expanding charter-school authorizers; providing vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools and restricting teachers unions' collective bargaining agreements to wages and benefits.

His goal next year is to ensure those reforms get put to use by publicizing options such as charter schools and a program that allows students who complete high school a year early to receive college scholarships.

Daniels’ other past initiatives include putting the state on daylight-saving time, leasing the Indiana Toll Road and privatizing welfare services delivery.

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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

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