Oh, Indiana…

The #metoo movement has certainly caused a lot of discomfort for men who previously behaved badly, secure in the conviction that predatory behavior was their right as males.

Here in Indiana, we are seeing the shock of men who have suddenly realized that other people don’t view their activities with the benign “men will be boys and it’s always the girl’s fault anyway” attitudes they formerly depended upon.

Most widely publicized, of course, are the recent allegations against our Attorney General, Curtis Hill. Hill has continued to indignantly deny what everyone knows is true: he fondled/groped female legislators and staff at a bar during a sine die party.

Actually, that’s the least of Hill’s transgressions, in my opinion. I’m even more offended by the fact that he’s taken Indiana into a number of national “culture war” cases–on the wrong side–in which Hoosiers have no discernible interest. Such interventions expend state resources–human and fiscal–on causes where the only “benefit” is a higher profile for the Attorney General.

Hill’s grandstanding shouldn’t surprise us: Hill is something of a national joke as “the Elvis impersonating AG.” (I kid you not. Watch the You-Tube..) And of course, an African-American conservative Republican is something of an anomaly….

Less “snicker-worthy” is the effort led by Brian Bosma to down-play his sex-play.

Bosma’s relationship with a young woman who was a General Assembly intern at the time (she was a 20-year-old student at Ball State University; Bosma was a married 34-year-old representative) has been a staple of statehouse gossip for several years. Evidently triggered by concerns that the young woman was going to “go public,” Bosma hired a local attorney to “investigate” her–i.e., dig up dirt he could use against her if she did decide to talk.

That story and the ongoing Hill saga prompted calls for legal measures that would apply to members of the General Assembly. This being Indiana, those “calls” were essentially answered by none other than Brian Bosma (we don’t recognize conflicts of interest in Indiana), who as Speaker of the House appointed the personnel subcommittee of the Legislative Council, coincidentally, the subcommittee charged with recommending sexual harassment prevention policies.

The subcommittee met in a closed-door executive session Nov. 7 to finalize the proposed policy changes. I know it will shock Hoosier readers of this blog to learn that the policies they proposed were something less than ideal.

An Indiana employment law professor calls the proposed guidelines to combat sexual harassment at the Indiana Statehouse “shockingly dated” and designed to insulate lawmakers from liability.

“The proposal is grossly under-inclusive and arguably a waste of time and resources since the legislature could easily just affirm that all of its state employees, contractors, members, unpaid workers, interns, etc., are subject to federal and state law,” said Jennifer Drobac, a law professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Drobac identified a few of the inadequacies of the proposals and the process that produced them.

Drobac questioned the wisdom of House Majority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, being involved in the process of revising the sexual harassment policies. An ethics complaint has been filed against him for using campaign funds to investigate a woman who said she had a sexual relationship with him in the early 1990s.

The proposed policy says that the speaker or other member of the ethics committee shall not participate in the review of a harassment claim if they are the subject of the complaint.

“However, what if they are the not the subject of the particular complaint but have conflicts of interest or a history of inappropriate (or ineffectual, i.e. failure to properly investigate) behavior,” she questioned.

The terms of these proposed guidelines aren’t the only “shockingly dated” attitudes being displayed by Bosma and the “boys” at the Statehouse. Someone needs to explain to them that a hate crimes law that omits protections for transgender Hoosiers (which is the version Bosma says he’ll allow) is tantamount to a message that crimes against some marginalized categories is okay with them….

What were those lyrics?

Back home again in Indiana…
And it seems that I can see
Our 18th Century legislature
Still staying pure
Through the sycamores for me

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Oh, Indiana…

  1. Nothing new here. Entitled Republican men and their subservient females. It is just the way it is and has been since I moved to Indianpolis in 1979. As Indianapolis grows as a metropolitan center with a government dominated by Democrats how will the Republican bros at the State House treat the City. It will be interesting to watch from afar.

  2. “Oh, Indiana…” reminded me of our state slogan (apparently forgotten due to level of ridiculousness), “Honest To Goodness, Indiana”. What does that mean, anyway? A more apt slogan at this time would be “WTF, Indiana?” The on-going but going nowhere AG Curtis Hill situation continues to be covered up by state authorities like a cat covering its dirt in a litter box. The years of insider knowledge of the Brian Bosma situation (currently sitting in his 33rd year in the House) was “outed” to the voting public only days before the election with no backup for his victim so he was easily reelected and will remain in his position of authority.

    Those “less than ideal policy changes” are a continuation of cover-ups for, not only our elected officials, but those heading departments and divisions, managers and supervisors, of local government and support staff remain sitting targets for sexual harassment and abuses. During my 20 years working in City government; I only saw ONE situation of a woman being the aggressor but countless situations of male harassment. Bosma’s General Assembly intern was in much higher position than clerk typists, file clerks and secretaries who have NO authority and NO policy protection. If there are some weak (less than ideal) policies; where do they go to have their position as victim protected? Been there, done that! Being a charter member of the #metoo movement (first time 76 years ago at age 5), it appears to be “our lot in life”.

    These situations with Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and State Representative Brian Bosma are proof that it continues with no end in sight. Especially when the sitting President of the United States is the “leader of the pack” of sexual abusers. These issues are always addressed in “closed door meetings” which explains why the situation remains, unabated.

  3. Sometimes I wonder why I have stayed so long in this state. I guess the main reason is my ‘ties’. I am anchored here because of the comfort I take in family and friends. There are little pockets of sanity and bits of escape from the continual Pence-like Republican control but just little pockets. The mess surrounding the so-called ‘innocent’ molester AG Hill, like so many others around the country, and the world will continue in the typical direction of those in power. The “Me Too” movement may have highlighted some high profile instigators but the age old lech is still out there and doing well. It will take time to alter both the long-held male superiority mentality and the day to day realityin which victimized women live and breathe. There are also female predators and they too are just as guilty as men and should be held to the same standards.

  4. We have the government that we have paid for. There are so many Hoosiers who blindly support Republicans that nothing will move them. Hoosiers have decided that they don’t want or need a healthy two-party system that provides checks and balances on the kind of abuses you describe. Republicans are immune from consequences at the polls.

  5. We all suffer because too many of us don’t vote, while too many of us who do, vote consistently against our own self interest.

  6. If the state were truly interested in attracting new businesses in the age of technology, not just to our larger cities, but the whole state, they would be in a rush to pass a true hate crimes bill that protected all, even transgender. (Who made Bosma the arbiter of who is excluded? Oh…yeah, the voters?) Instead, the powers that be cozy up to the same old power brokers, fossil fuel, big Agra and big Pharma, with all their eggs in one basket. They are all too willing to give away potential revenue to keep them here. Meanwhile, the people who are forced to stay here for any number of reasons, get poorer, less educated, sicker and more addicted every passing day.
    Someone described Indiana as North Alabamastan. How apt in light of the current Carter/Bosma coverup of sexual aggression and gross denial of their actions. Roy Moore, anyone?

  7. In my near east side neighborhood the people I know who do not vote are all convicted felons. Everyone else votes. Maybe that “people don’t vote” thing should be revisited with some serious research.

  8. This may be off today’s subject, but I have learned a little more about Indiana’s election process in the past month since I ran for office.

    There was an article in last week’s local newspaper about local candidates who failed to file campaign finance reports in a timely manner. Someone filed a complaint and the local election board had to look into all candidates’ filings. Several were found to be late – they were all Republicans. What really angered me was the fact that several of them have been in office for years and should know more than anyone else what the rules are.

    The election board held a meeting and decided to waive the fees. WOW! The message was loud and clear – don’t worry about following the rules. You are in office only to make others follow the rules or just to collect a paycheck. There is no need for you to follow the rules.

    The fines listed were anywhere from $250 up to $1,000. Those people were all elected and should be paying those fines. If they don’t have the money right now, the fines could be deducted from their future paychecks.

    I have contacted the State Election Commission. Indiana elections are run by each County. That’s right – each county is free to basically do whatever they want to do. Yes, there are rules and regs, but the county boards are still free to basically do whatever they want.

    HOME RULE stands for elections in Indiana.

    We need to demand that our State and then our country has the same election standards everywhere. This is crazy!

  9. One can blame our dear leader for continuation of male dominance and unaccountability in man-woman relationships, but such a system was in practice long before caveman Trump made the scene. (See Bosma’s Ugg Glugg power play when he was 34.) I have prosecuted and defended rape cases (but no sexual harassment cases) in my day and I would much rather have prosecuted or defended an embezzler or bank robber due to the factual nature of such cases. I here note that I had no sexual harassment cases, perhaps because there was no definitive criminal statute prohibiting such conduct. Sheila’s report today suggests that there will be no policy with teeth prohibiting such conduct as well, and that Republicans consider the case closed.
    I am now an ex-Hoosier residing in Florida, and I’m sure we have the same if unreported problems here where the male uses his position of power and prestige to have his way with females.
    While there may be an ALEC-sort of statute circulating among the states for adoption in this connection by me too advocates with which I am unaware, if not, there should be, and while I think such conduct will never end, I think criminalizing it would likely reduce such Bosma and Hill adventures. Perhaps me too demonstrations on the statehouse lawn demanding a criminal statute prohibiting such conduct are in order.

  10. AG Hill received “kid gloves” treatment by our so called “justice” system. As an example: Curtis Hill received special treatment during groping investigation.

    During a news conference, special prosecutor Daniel Sigler said that although he found the victims (his word; he used it repeatedly) credible, he would not file charges against Hill because he did not believe he could prove Hill’s intent, which is required for a conviction on a charge of simple battery. >> Side Bar – What happened to res ipsa loquitur or “the thing speaks for itself,” a doctrine of law that one is presumed to be negligent if he/she/it had exclusive control.<

    During the probe, Hill was not required to meet with investigators to answer questions. Instead, Hill submitted a video statement, and then his attorneys responded to Sigler's follow-up questions about the statement.

    Sigler said he chose not to have Hill questioned in person. Sigler said. "I just decided I wanted to be respectful of him and his position. There were accusations against him."
    https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2018/10/23/no-charges-against-attorney-general-curtis-hill-but-investigation-reveals-searing-new-details/1743652002/
    ================================
    The victims of the groping were not afforded the same degree of "kid gloves" treatment AG Hill was afforded.

    The High Command of Indiana Republicans called for AG Hill to resign, but "system" came to the rescue for him.

  11. Sexual misconduct wrecked Gary Hart’s bid for the presidency in 1988. From WIKI: A Gallup Poll at the time, A little over half (53 percent) responded that marital infidelity had little to do with a president’s ability to govern. Time magazine had similar results: of those polled, 67% disapproved of the media writing about a candidate’s sex life, and 60% stated that Hart’s relationship with Rice was irrelevant to the presidency.

    These polls set the stage for what followed.

    Just 4 years later in 1992 Bill Clinton was able to brush off charges of philandering. He survived the Monica scandal.

    President Agent Orange has taken sexism to a new low. The political or moral impact among his followers including the Preachers for Profit Evangelicals has been nil. The sexual philandering that wrecked Gary Hart in 1988, would hardly be a ripple today.

  12. “…a hate crimes law that omits protections for transgender Hoosiers (which is the version Bosma says he’ll allow)…” What an ugly affront to the alleged legislative process. What an inbreeding if Indiana “modern” politics. What a despicable twist in “Hoosier hospitality”. We want to welcome hi-tech nerds and cutting-edge STEM workers; but only if they look like us (white & male), worship like us (fundamentalist christians with a small “c”), think like us conservatives, have sex like us (straight, adulterous, behind-closed-doors-anything-goes). Wow.

    Of course, this is the same bunch of 20th C. gumbas who passed legislation in 2014 MAKING IT ILLEGAL TO INTRODUCE ANY LEGISLATION PERTAINING TO LIGHT RAIL.

    Not to mention that the country’s 13th largest metro region that comprises two-thirds of this state’s total population must kowtow to the interests of the one-third.

    Does anyone else notice that the inmates have taken over the asylum previously known as the Indiana General Assembly?

  13. Every day our state government proves Indiana is just North Mississippi. And they wonder why Amazon passed up Indiana as a location where the top 1% might want to live, despite offering the State treasury as an incentive.

  14. I’ll give 2:1 odds that every red state government has similar corruption and hypocrisy among its “elected” (READ: bought and paid for) officials. Republicanism continues to flirt with it’s primitive (I mean 200,000 year old) behavior imperatives.

  15. I thought the Hoosier “I don’t vote” mantra was an assertion of personal choice, of laudable though ignorant individual pride. It didn’t occur to me that it might be interpreted “I don’t vote because if I showed up at the polls I would be embarrassed by being denied the ballot due to some checkering of my past, some serious reason for having lost the franchise”.
    Too bad I don’t feel free to ask “What was your felony?”

  16. I would like to see WTF Indiana become the official motto for the state. It is now my unofficial motto regardless

  17. Dear Hoosiers,
    Don’t forget about Congressman Dan Burton. The Tea Party hypocrite. I seem to remember that at one time he had the nickname “two a day Dan” around the statehouse.

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