News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Editorials

February 27, 2014

Editorial: Toward a better Lifeline Law

Lawmakers poised to improve measure

TERRE HAUTE — In a perfect world, no college or high school student under 21 would drink alcohol, especially to excess. No student would be sexually assaulted. And no student would experience a drug overdose.

There is no perfect world.

Each night on college campuses, students — who generally, see themselves as invincible — drink or do drugs and put themselves in situations that are perfect breeding grounds for trouble.

Sometimes that trouble is as simple as an argument or a shoving match. The loud words fade, cooler heads prevail.

But other times, someone, surrounded by those under 21, is in medical distress. That distress may be alcohol poisoning from life-threatening high blood-alcohol levels, perhaps an alcohol-and-prescription drug interaction, perhaps a booze-and-street-drug combination or perhaps a condition not directly related to alcohol. (The Indiana Department of Health says more than two dozen Hoosiers under 21 have died from alcohol poisoning since 2004.)

In those medical distress situations, there is no time to waste. If nothing is done, the result could be far worse than a hangover. It could be death.

As has happened too many times in Indiana and around the country, these under-21ers can go into a panic when someone falls ill. Panic about getting into trouble — because what they have done is against the law and they could face fines, jail time and school discipline.

James Merritt, an Indiana state senator, sees it this way: “What is happening is kids panic and don’t really know which way is up. We don’t want them to panic. Just because someone made a mistake, they should not pay with their life.”

Merritt, a Republican from Indianapolis, said that in October 2012, when he visited Terre Haute — along with Attorney General Greg Zoeller — to talk up a partial remedy for the situation that had passed that previous spring’s legislature: The Indiana Lifeline Law.

That law, which became effective July 1, 2012, allows immunity to those who call for help and stay around to help a friend in peril and cooperate with police and medics.

Now Merritt and others in the legislature are back at it, admirably so. They want to expand that immunity to those — under the influence, under age — who are victims of sexual offenses and those who would report a crime or seek medical attention for any reason.

That bill has passed the state Senate 49-0, and just Wednesday, an expanded version of the Senate bill passed the Indiana House 96-0. Because the two versions of the bill differ, the matter goes back to the house of origin — the Senate — for its consideration of changes made in the House.

The House changes would require that a legislative commission study the reporting and underreporting of domestic or sexual violence. The House version of the bill also would authorize qualified medical technicians and some emergency responders to administer an overdose intervention drug in the field.

Those additions are improvements to the original Senate bill. The unanimous approval to date in both houses of the legislature suggests that those differences will be quickly dealt with, and that a new law — as does the original law — will work even better to protect lives that, literally, are on the line.

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Editorials
  • EDITORIAL: Greater course loads can mean quicker degrees

    The impact of Indiana’s low education attainment level shows up in Hoosiers’ paychecks.
    The state ranks 40th in the U.S. in the percentage of residents with college diplomas.

    July 30, 2014

  • Editorial: Community support crucial for workers facing layoffs

    The loss of 150 jobs impacts people — the employees themselves, their families and the community. They need the support of loved ones, friends, neighbors, churches, schools, clubs and local service groups in the search for new work and clarity amid the uncertainty.

    July 26, 2014

  • Ronn Mott: Gaza 2014 — hatred lives on

    The rockets’ red glares have turned Gaza, part of the Palestinian authority, into a battleground with Hamas, a legislative terrorist organization that has been stockpiling armaments to use against Israel for years.

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  • EDITORIAL: Work program needs industry buy-in

    Good help is hard to find. That’s essentially what Indiana companies have insisted for several years. The state struggles with a “skills gap,” the firms explain. They need employees, but can’t find enough — or in some cases, any — qualified Hoosiers. Businesses say too few applicants possess the “soft skills,” such as showing up for work on time or being able to effectively communicate with co-workers.

    July 22, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Vigo Jail study essential to determine strategy

    It comes as encouraging news that the Vigo County Council might include in its 2015 budget significant funding for an expert and neutral study of what can be done to replace or enhance the existing county jail.

    July 20, 2014

  • tstribunestar Editorial: Continuing the standard

    U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett has raised the profile of his federally appointed position more than any individual to hold the job in decades. From the start, he was a man on a mission, and often that mission was focused on rooting out corruption, maintaining integrity in government and pursuing those who violated the public trust.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Legal marriages should be honored

    An eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.

    July 13, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Dysfunctional relationship with schools chief doesn’t bode well for potential Pence presidency

    A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.

    July 12, 2014

  • Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
    In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.

    July 10, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing

    It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.

    July 9, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible

    The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • tstribunestar Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion

    Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.

    July 3, 2014

  • Editorial: Texting law serves safety

    July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.

    July 1, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: For kids, an immediate need

    If you agree that not much is sadder — and potentially more unsettling to our society — than a child torn from his or her home, here is a way you can make a difference, one kid at a time.

    June 28, 2014

  • Editorial: A center for the future

    The Monday morning “groundbreaking” at the site of the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center in Voorhees Park was largely ceremonial. It will still be a few weeks before work on the $9.8 million facility actually begins. But that didn’t stop the highly anticipated event from taking place, and it was clear from remarks made by a host of VIPs who took turns at the podium that this project is destined to produce great things.

    June 26, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A proud moment for Vigo County

    Most people, regardless of their personal opinions or beliefs on the matter, will admit that they knew the day was coming when Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages would be overturned by a federal judge. It has happened in other states that have encountered the issue.

    June 25, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Getting smart about fighting crime

    When those “CSI” TV shows began to burst on the scene in 2000, viewers were mesmerized by the flashy scientific and technological methods police labs were using to build cases against criminals.

    June 21, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Forging ahead

    Life in the digital world has changed drastically for many community institutions. But the Vigo County Public Library, which has navigated various minefields of change in recent years, has shown it can adapt, even improve.

    June 19, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: More needed from Speaker

    Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma did what most people expected he would do in the wake of Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner’s ethics probe.

    June 18, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: A woman in the House

    The twists and turns of politics can produce unpredictable results. Just ask Bionca Gambill.

    June 17, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Enticing more students back to campus a worthwhile initiative

    Of all of the educational initiatives paraded before Indiana residents in recent years — some ideas worthy, others flops — none seems more timely or more on point than one approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education last week.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Celebrating local success

    It’s always an uplifting occasion when good things happen to good people. And so we join in the celebration of three people who this week achieved a new level of success and recognition for their professional and personal contributions to life in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.

    June 12, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Shoring up the VA

    How America cares for its veterans is indicative of its values as a nation. We’re confident the vast majority of citizens agree that health care for military vets through the country’s network of VA hospitals should meet or exceed common-sense expectations.

    June 11, 2014

  • Editorial: Playing the Nazi card

    There was good news to report from the Indiana Republican Party Convention conducted last weekend in Fort Wayne. The GOP nominated three women to top its general election ballot in November. There isn’t much gender equity in Hoosier politics, so seeing these three rise to the top of the Republican ballot this year is refreshing. But perhaps the best news is that Richard Mourdock, two-term state treasurer and unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, will no longer hold public office at the end of this year.

    June 10, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Cleaner environment will help boost city’s image

    In Terre Haute, the difference is becoming apparent between responsible stewardship of the environment and a look-the-other-way attitude about dumping harmful materials.

    June 7, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle’s words told a personal story

    Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day when Allied Forces led by the United States military invaded France on the beaches at Normandy. It was the crucial turning point of World War II against Nazi Germany. To observe this somber anniversary, we have given this page’s editorial space the past three days to the columns written by Ernie Pyle in the invasion’s aftermath. Pyle filed three columns about D-Day that were circulated widely in American newspapers beginning June 12, 1944. The first appeared Wednesday. The second appeared Thursday. This is the final column.

    June 5, 2014 2 Stories

  • EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle walked the beaches of Normandy

    NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 16, 1944 — I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France.
    It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn’t know they were in the water, for they were dead.

    June 4, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Remembering D-Day — in the words of Ernie Pyle

    NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 — Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore. By the time we got here the beaches had been taken and the fighting had moved a couple of miles inland. All that remained on the beach was some sniping and artillery fire, and the occasional startling blast of a mine geysering brown sand into the air. That plus a gigantic and pitiful litter of wreckage along miles of shoreline.

    June 3, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Rape, sexual assault demand greater attention

    When the facts, figures, commentary and analysis about the devastating impact of rape in our society have been consumed, the daunting, even haunting, question is: What can we do to stop it?

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

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