Dispatches from the Conservative Legislation Lab

As you may recall, Glenda Ritz is the Democratic (and democratically elected) Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Indiana, who the Republican state leadership are trying to get rid of, because she is trying to stop them from destroying the state's public education system.

Ritz is the first Democrat to serve as Superintendent in 40 years.

Republican Governor Mike Pence was elected during the same election. One of his first acts as governor was to remove Ritz from the union-centered Educational Employment Relations Board. And then the Republican-controlled House Education Committee proposed a bill to "strip the superintendent's position as chair of the State Board of Education. ...The bill would allow Republican Gov. Mike Pence's 10 appointees to the 11-member board to elect their own chair."

In other words, as soon as a Democrat was elected to an influential state position, the Republican governor and legislature set to rendering her office utterly without power.

And so they have:
Measures that shift authority over Indiana's standardized testing and other education policy matters from Democratic state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz have been signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

GOP lawmakers pushed through the changes during this year's legislative session but delayed until 2017 a change in state law allowing the board dominated by Pence appointees to replace Ritz as its leader.

The actions were included in the state budget plan and a separate bill that Pence signed Thursday.

The changes also take away two of Pence's 10 appointments to the board, giving one appointment each to the Indiana House and Senate leaders.

Republicans say the charges clarify control of education policy, while Democrats maintain it undermines the will of voters who elected Ritz in 2012.
Two sides to every story! No way of telling who is right! Republicans say it's just to "clarify control of education policy," a "clarification" that somehow wasn't necessary until a Democrat was elected to the position. Democrats says that it's antidemocratic despotism in direct contravention of the will of the voters. WONDER WHO IS RIGHT OH WELL WE'LL NEVER KNOW IT'S A MYSTERY LOST TO THE SANDS OF TIME.

Just to be clear: There are a lot of Republican Hoosiers who are deeply unhappy with this shit, too. A lot of them voted for Ritz.

Again, this is what we're up against in Indiana. It's an absolutely incredible and horrifying abuse of power, and a prime example of how Republicans rule the state government with zero regard for the will of the people they're meant to represent.

It's also a prime example of why Indiana progressives desperately need outside influence, resources, pressure, attention.

If only progressives across the country cared even 10% as much about the quality of democracy in Indiana as they did about the quality of our pizza.

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