Recent editorials published in Indiana newspapers

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South Bend Tribune. March 16, 2014.

Failure to restore subsidy a sorry state of affairs

This year’s legislative session has offered the usual examples of the inexplicable, but it’s hard to top the General Assembly’s failure — yet again — to restore a state subsidy to help parents adopting special needs children.

For the fifth year in a row, the issue is dead. And the 1,400 families on the state’s “waiting list” for an adoption subsidy that was promised but has never been paid remain on hold.

Hard to fathom this state of affairs: Consider that Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence talks about a pro-adoption agenda, is the only state in the nation that doesn’t offer such support.

State Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, says that this year’s failure is frustrating. It also says something about the state’s priorities that it’s cutting corporate taxes but can’t reinstate assistance for young Hoosiers who need more support than most of us can comprehend.

Indiana’s adoption subsidy was cut in 2009 by then-Department of Children Services Director James Payne, who was fond of saying that “People should adopt for love, not money.” But findings from a survey by Children’s Rights underscore how critical adoption subsidies are: 58 percent of respondents said they could not have adopted without a subsidy. And from a practical, bottom line perspective, the research indicates that subsidies result in substantial governmental savings compared to the costs of foster care.

You can argue whether the more than 35 percent drop in Indiana adoptions between 2011 and 2013 is connected to the suspension of subsidies for special needs children. But there’s no question that the state has failed in its obligation to the 1,400 families on the waiting list for a subsidy it hasn’t delivered. And that’s inexcusable.

Broden is optimistic that next year’s budget session will yield a different outcome. He’s already started planning his strategy and says he has a firm commitment from Sen. Carlin Yoder, a Republican from Elkhart County, to work on the issue.

We hope Broden is right, and that his continued efforts on behalf of adoptive families will result in the restoration of the subsidy — and that it includes honoring promises made to those on the waiting list. But shame on the state for taking so long to do the right thing.

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Indianapolis Business Journal. March 15, 2014.

Swing toward sustainability

Thousands of dedicated scientists worldwide, like those working for Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences, are searching for ways to feed an escalating global population on shrinking amounts of arable land. Since the mid-1990s, much of their research has focused on genetically altered crops that farmers have embraced for their cost-cutting ability to minimize insecticide use and tillage.

As IBJ reporter Dan Human reported last week, Dow AgroSciences is about to roll out a new brand of genetically modified corn, soybean and cotton seed - and an accompanying herbicide the crops can resist.

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