Even as the Governor works on other legislation, he’s still impacted by the fallout over the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Governor Mike Pence was out Thursday promoting Indiana first tax-funded pre-school program for low income children, and not wanting to discuss a dismal voter approval poll taken in the wake of the RFRA debacle. Only slightly more than one in three voters polled have a favorable opinion of Pence. Less than half approve of the job he is doing as Governor.
The poll, commissioned by Howey Politics Indiana, found 54 percent of voters support adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to Indiana’s civil rights law, but that’s not on the agenda for this legislative session. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) is focused on the state budget, education, public safety and other issues, hoping they – and not RFRA – stick in voter’s minds.
“We are quite a ways from any election in the near future, so the next crisis will occur, the next solution will be presented. Probably the last one of those that occur will be what’s on the people’s minds before the election,” Speaker Bosma said.
But if the November 16 elections were held right now, the voters polled put Republican Mike Penceand Democrat Glenda Ritz, the embattled superintendent of public instruction, in a virtual dead heat for the Governor’s seat. However, Pence insists jobs and education – not RFRA – will be the biggest issues among voters.
“With one more balanced budget being passed and a growing Indiana economy, I am very enthusiastic about the future of our state,” Pence said. “We will let politics take care of itself in the future.”
The almost certain repeal of the state’s common wage law, more tax money for charter schools and school vouchers, and the fight to remove Superintendent Glenda Ritz from chairing the state Board of Education will give voters plenty to talk about, however supporters of gay rights are already talking about coming back next year and demanding lawmakers guarantee them equal rights.