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Indiana Lawmaker Carrying Pence for President Legislation Is Tea Party To The Core

Indiana Governor Mike Pence wants to treat his current office as a concession prize and run for both re-election and president simultaneously.  Unfortunately for the governor, it’s against Indiana law…and the lawmaker attempting to change that for him provides a window into the worst of Pence’s Tea Party politics.

Meet State Senator Mike Delph, a famously combative Tea Partier who’s had a hand in some of Indiana’s most controversial legislation, including pushing a gay marriage ban, birther legislation, and Arizona-style immigration laws.

Introduced “Birther” Bill In Indiana

Delph Introduced “Birther” Bill In Indiana. According to The Hill, “Indiana Republican state Sen. Mike Delph, who’s still weighing a potential primary challenge to Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) next year, is pushing state lawmakers to take another look at his bill that would require presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate. Delph introduced a bill earlier this year to mandate presidential hopefuls produce the document in order to get on the ballot, but the measure is stuck in committee. Now, he wants a legislative study committee to take up the issue, hoping it will gain some additional traction, telling a local radio station that he thinks a ‘trust but verify approach’ is reasonable.” [The Hill, 4/19/11]

Delph Invited “Nation’s Most Famous ‘Birther’ Donald Trump” To Testify On “Birther” Bill. According to The Indianapolis Star, “When state Sen. Mike Delph was thinking about who best to testify before a Senate committee in favor of his proposal that could lead to presidential candidates having to show their birth certificates before being on the ballot, he reached out to the nation’s most famous ‘birther’: Donald Trump.” [Indianapolis Star, 4/24/11]

Believed The Federal Government Had No Role In Managing Education

Delph Indicated That He Believed The Federal Government Had No Role In The Management Of Education. According to the Terre Heaute Tribune-Star, “Delph, an attorney and major in the U.S. Army Reserves, drummed the importance of constitutionalism throughout his speech. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is management of ‘education’ given to the federal government, yet initiatives such as ‘No Child Left Behind’ and others continue to invade communities, he said. ‘And yet we allow the federal government to intrude on state sovereignty,’ he said. ‘Where’s the power supposed to be?’ he asked the crowd.” [Terre Haute Tribune-Star, 4/17/11]

Said There Was A “Rush Toward Socialism By Many Republican Leaders”

Delph: “Democrats Usually Want To Deliver More Services Than Republicans – Although Lately, That Point Could Be Debated With The Rush Toward Socialism By Many Republican Leaders.” According to an op-ed by Delph in the Evansville Courier & Press, “Freshman business students learn that in order to have a positive net income, revenues must exceed expenses. The service or product sold must bring in more money than the cost to deliver or produce. In government, we don’t try to make a product, but rather break even on the delivery of publicly demanded services. Democrats usually want to deliver more services than Republicans – although lately, that point could be debated with the rush toward socialism by many Republican leaders.” [Evansville Courier & Press Op-Ed – Mike Delph, 1/6/08]

Was The Only Member Of A Senate Committee To Vote Against Increasing The Minimum Wage

Delph Was The Only Member Of A Senate Committee To Vote Against Increasing The Minimum Wage. According to the Evansville Courier & Press, “A plan to raise Indiana’s minimum wage by tying it to an expected increase in the federal minimum wage is on its way to the full state Senate, possibly as early as Monday.  If the proposal passes in the Legislature — and if a separate bill also passes in the U.S. Congress — then Indiana’s minimum wage would increase from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over two years…Day’s legislation, House Bill 1027, was approved Wednesday by the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee by a 10-1 vote. It had passed previously in the Indiana House. Although the federal minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour since 1997, individual states have the legal right to set their own minimums above that level, and 30 other states and the District of Columbia already have.  Day’s original proposal would have increased the minimum wage for 30,000 Indiana workers from $5.15 to $7.50 an hour in three stages over 18 months…In the Senate committee Wednesday, two Southwestern Indiana senators, Lindel Hume, D-Princeton, and Bob Deig, D-Mount Vernon, both voted ‘yes’ on House Bill 1027. Sen. Mike Delph , R-Carmel, was the only ‘no’ vote.” [Evansville Courier & Press, 4/5/07]

Introduced Anti-Choice Legislation

Delph Introduced Legislation That Required Doctors “To Tell Women Seeking An Abortion That Life Begins At Conception And That A Fetus Could Feel Pain.”  According to the Indianapolis Star, “Legislation that would make Indiana abortion law among the strictest in the nation is back again this year. Under a pair of Senate bills filed Thursday, Indiana doctors would be required to tell women seeking an abortion that life begins at conception and that a fetus could feel pain. […] Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, authored the other abortion bill before the Senate. Delph’s Senate Bill 172 and Miller’s SB 135 are similar; both have been referred to the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee. Miller chairs that committee and said the panel will hear her bill, not Delph’s.” [Indianapolis Star, 1/13/07]

  • Delph On His Opposition To Abortion: “This Is The Human Rights Issue Of Our Day.” According to the Associated Press, Delph stated, “To me this is the human rights issue of our day. […] We have a duty to protect the least among us.” [Associated Press, 3/8/06]

Pushed Arizona-Style Immigration Reform

Delph’s Said His Immigration Law Was Meant To Target Illegal Immigrants Only Amid Concern From Foreign Students. According to the Associated Press, “Indiana’s new immigration law is raising concerns among international students who worry they won’t be eligible for tuition waivers or fellowships that help pay for their U.S. educations. […] The law’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Mike Delph, said the law was designed only to target illegal immigrants. ‘Students on a student visa are not illegal immigrants,’ he told The Star Press. Ball State and Indiana universities say they don’t expect the law to impact their international students. […] Delph has said lawmakers would revisit the law if there are unintended consequences.” [Associated Press, 8/14/11]

Indiana Businesses: Delph’s Arizona-Style Immigration Law Placed “Unfair Burden” On Legal Immigrants. According to Indiana radio station WIBC, “Modeled on an Arizona law, the bill requiring police to check the citizenship status of people they arrest or ticket if they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ hasn’t been heard from since passing the Senate nearly seven weeks ago. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says legislators shouldn’t wait any longer to plug the hole left by spotty federal immigration enforcement. But he says Senator Mike Delph’s (R-Carmel) bill casts too wide a net. Bosma says he’s met with executives of Indiana companies, including Lilly, Cummins, and Guidant, who hire significant numbers of legal immigrants. He says he shares their concerns that their workers could face an unfair burden.” [WIBC, 4/7/11]

Indianapolis Star Editorial: Delph’s Immigration Bill Was “Hodge-Podge” And Criticized By Many Groups Spanning The Political Spectrum. According to an editorial in the Indianapolis Star, “The most favorable thing that can be said about state Sen. Mike Delph’s hodge-podge immigration bill is that the legislature may run out of time before it can vote it up or down. […] From Attorney General Gregory Zoeller and other legal experts to the business community, religious leaders and Latino advocacy groups, warnings have been sounded that the proposal is unenforceable, ripe for litigation, racially insensitive and bad economics. Top corporations have joined universities in expressing worry about attracting foreign talent, and some organizations have threatened to withdraw their conventions from Indianapolis if SB 590 becomes law.” [Indianapolis Star Editorial, 4/28/11]

Delph’s Immigration Bill Passed The Indiana House And Senate. According to a press release from the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus, obtained via Inside Indiana Business, “Senate Enrolled Act 590 is now awaiting Gov. Mitch Daniels’ signature in law after Senate lawmakers today voted 35-15 and members of the House voted 68-30 to approve the compromise language. ‘Lawmakers today sent a clear message that Indiana will no longer be a sanctuary for people who are in our state and country illegally, because of our federal government’s failure to act on illegal immigration,’ Delph said. ‘Through the legislative process, we have made compromises on both sides of this issue to come up with a final product that expands the use of the federal E-Verify system and adds tough sanctuary language to our state code.’ Delph said his legislation requires all state agencies and local units of government to use the free federal E-Verify system to confirm the citizenship or legal employability of all new hires after June 30, 2011.” [Inside Indiana Business, 4/29/11]

Delph’s Immigration Bill Put New Requirements On Businesses. According to Inside Indiana Business, “Business owners who knowingly hire illegal immigrants would face new penalties under legislation awaiting Governor Mitch Daniels’ signature. The Indiana General Assembly passed a modified immigration reform bill that would also ban state agencies and local governments from awarding a grant of more than $1,000 to a business unless they show appropriate documentation.” [Inside Indiana Business, 4/29/11]