Before much more time passes, I wanted to note for the record my appreciation for the manner in which House Rules and Legislative Policy Committee Chairman Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) conducted the hearing on SJR-7 last Wednesday. There had been some earlier skepticism on this blog and others related to his being named as a House co-sponsor of the measure by Senator Hershman, and that fact that he had voted for SJR-7 in 2005. I don't know the full details of the sponsorship angle, but have been told that such "bipartisan designation" is not uncommon, and I continue to suspect that he was not consulted in advance.
Whatever the circumstances, his conduct of the hearing was a model of fairness to both sides. When I led off the opponent's testimony, I carefully stayed within his "five-minute" request, and because my counterpart for the proponents had significantly exceeded that limit, he virtually invited me to continue to even things up. (I chose not too knowing there were many others waiting to speak).
His questioning was insightful, and I was well satisfied that he and other committee members grasped well the basic issues. He indicated in his closing remarks that he concurred with some things that he had heard, and didn't quite buy some other things, and said that this applied to both proponents and opponents. I don't think that was just rhetoric. While I would of course hope that his vote would favor our stance (and I'm optimistic that it will), the important thing at this point is that the listening process was fair and evenhanded, and for that I thank him.