Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

March 19, 2014

Curbing the ‘tough on crime’ mentality

INDIANAPOLIS – Republican Sen. Brent Steele is the rock-ribbed, law-and-order chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but he’s no ordinary conservative. Two years ago, the small-town lawyer startled Statehouse colleagues when he suggested decriminalizing marijuana. He likened Indiana’s tough pot penalties to “smashing an ant with a sledgehammer.” He failed to convince fellow lawmakers. But, as a key player in the massive rewrite of Indiana’s criminal code, he has managed to soften the crime. As of July 1, most marijuana possession charges will morph from felonies into misdemeanors. Now Steele has another idea that may upset the tough-on-crime caucus: He wants to significantly slow the process of creating new crimes and penalties that send more people to prison. The idea, strongly backed by his counterpart, House Judiciary Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, would force lawmakers to justify any measure to crack down on crime that would alter the new criminal code. Their proposal would give a little known body, the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee, new power to vet proposed legislation. See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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  • Mental illness prevalent challenge for Indiana youth Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide. Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a major league baseball pitcher. But one opponent was too strong to overcome: his son's mental illness.

    August 20, 2014

  • PE is essential in child development Of course, I loved physical education in school. Not only was PE a welcome break to a day of sitting at a desk absorbing our teachers’ wisdom — and fun time with friends — but it was also a setting where we could learn about our fast-changing bodies through movement.

    August 20, 2014

  • The tires, they are a changing A few weeks ago I was part of a small group that was tasked with designing an hourlong class teaching people how to do something. We chose to teach new drivers how to change a car tire. One of my teammates got his 16-year-old daughter and two of her friends to take our training, and their comments after the fact got me to thinking about changing flat tires and changing times.

    August 20, 2014

  • Craft brewers, vintners return sprits to Indiana State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.

    August 20, 2014

  • Household waste, hazardous, toxic and dangerous Once a year the Household Hazardous Waste Collection or Tox-Away Day rolls around for Zionsville residents, and it’s coming up from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak.

    August 13, 2014

  • Kill grubs, plant fall garden in August If you had a problem with grub damage in your lawn last year, now is the time to start applying treatments.

    August 13, 2014

  • A day without recess is a day without joy Youngest started school last week, which isn’t really newsworthy, but what we learned the first day of class kind of is. Our elementary school has embraced an initiative called TEAM30 or something like that. The idea is to make kids exercise every day. In order to work an extra 30 minutes of exercise into an already full school day, something had to go. It was recess.

    August 13, 2014

  • Public safety workers close ranks around gay, lesbian colleagues Jason Miller has spent 15 years in a job he loves. He’s an emergency medical technician working two jobs as a first-responder, and he’s training to become a firefighter in Kokomo. Miller loves the reward of helping others, he said, and the camaraderie among people whose inclination is to run toward danger. For police, firefighters and EMTs, he said, backing each other up is “second nature.”

    August 13, 2014

  • Colleagues of indicted sheriff feel the glare of distrust Last Tuesday didn’t go the way Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit thought it would. He was in Indianapolis in the morning in his role as president of the Indiana Sheriffs' Association, to listen to a speech by U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett about his high-profile crackdown on public corruption.

    August 6, 2014

  • Simple tips for packing healthy school lunches It’s time for the kiddos to go back to school, and you’re committed to packing their lunches this year. For those who haven’t packed lunches before or are getting tired of the same old stuff, it may seem a bit daunting to think about planning yet another meal each day.

    August 6, 2014

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