Hoosier Survey helps explain legislative action

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Did the Indiana General Assembly follow the wishes of the public?

Before the 2013 Session of the General Assembly began in January, 24-Hour News 8 brought you the results of the WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey. It measured public opinion on a variety of issues and we now know how well lawmakers listened.

The Hoosier Survey found fewer than a third of Indiana residents (31 percent) looking for a tax cut and that may have something to do with the fact that the governor didn't get the 10 percent income tax cut he wanted. 

Instead Mike Pence is putting a good face on a 5 percent tax cut phased in over four years. 

"I believe the General Assembly has passed the right tax relief," he said on Monday, "at the right time."

The governor has already signed a bill to restrict chemical abortions even though our poll found a large majority of Hoosiers in support of abortion rights in certain circumstances (83 percent when the mother's life is in danger.)

It also found that more people support access to abortion in all or most circumstances.

A bill to decriminalize marijuana didn't get a vote despite support from 53 percent of Hoosiers and state Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) who, in February, said, "Ohio has had a decriminalization bill for years and, you know, the whole state of Ohio hasn't turned into pot heads." 

Lawmakers did pass a bill that reduces criminal penalties for marijuana possession.

On another matter the poll found growing opposition to the amendment to ban same sex marriage up to 54 percent and that measure didn't get a hearing.

It's a mixed bag even if the governor didn't see it that way. 

"Legislation that was moved in this session took the priorities of the people of Indiana," he said, "and they made them the priorities of this General Assembly."

Of course lawmakers and the governor are always free to decide whether they should follow public opinion or their own conscience. That's why there are elections.

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