Members of the Fort Wayne City Council chuckled Tuesday as a resolution asking the city's Public Art Commission for an installation commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 visit to Fort Wayne was amended four times after Councilman Glynn Hines, D-at large, recommended tweaks to the wording.
The amendments were all approved unanimously by the seven council members present.
One amendment changed the date by which the Public Art Commission should come back to the council with an update.
Two amendments made clear the council's intention to ask the entire Public Art Commission to consider the project. The original language mentioned only the City Council's two appointees.
The fourth amendment added language to the resolution stating that the City Council would be willing to consider additional funding for whatever project is developed.
“They're going to need funding,” Hines said. “And the last thing we need to do is to say, 'Hey, you need to do that,' ... and not put some teeth into it and say we would encourage or support funding.”
As the first half of the legislative session wound down, at least one committee chairman was fresh as a daisy. That's because Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, didn't even have a meeting of the House Public Policy Committee – hearing no bills.
The committee generally handles alcohol and gambling legislation, with abortion and guns thrown in as well.
More than a dozen bills were assigned to the committee, but none was heard.
House Speaker Brian Bosma said hearing bills is entirely up to the committee chairman.
“It was not at my encouragement, but he did say early on that a lot has happened in his arena of public policy over the last several years so he didn't see any bills that he thought needed action this year,” Bosma said.
Smaltz was unavailable Friday for comment.
Banks builds war chest
U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, began the year with a large financial advantage over his challenger in the Republican Party's primary election.
Banks' campaign raised nearly $620,000 and had $220,000 in cash on hand by the end of 2019, according to his quarterly campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Christopher Magiera had raised $100,300 at the same point, with all but $300 coming from personal loans he made to his campaign. Magiera, a physician who lives in Warsaw, listed slightly more than $6,400 in cash on hand in his FEC report.
Banks' contributions included nearly $338,000 from political action committees. Magiera received no money from PACs.
As of Friday night, the FEC website showed that only one of the four candidates for the Democratic nomination in Indiana's 3rd Congressional District had filed a campaign finance report. Chip Coldiron, a schoolteacher from Ossian, reported raising $861 and having $601 in cash to start this year.
Candidates are required to file a campaign finance report if they raise or spend at least $5,000.
Two high-profile Hoosiers made presidential endorsements last week.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced his support for former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the race for the Democratic nomination for president.
“Pete's ability to identify innovative solutions, work across party lines, and give hope to those disaffected with the status quo is exactly what our country needs right now,” Hogsett said in a statement released by Buttigieg's campaign.
The campaign for Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg announced he has been endorsed by singer-songwriter John Mellencamp. Mellencamp, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who lives near Bloomington, has provided his 1985 hit song “Small Town” for a campaign ad touting Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City.
“From small towns to big cities, Mike Bloomberg has the experience to represent all Americans. He's a job creator, philanthropist, and true public servant, and I am confident that as president, he will restore America to a place we can be proud of once again,” Mellencamp said in a statement released by Bloomberg's campaign.
Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.
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