EDITORIAL: Legislators should take time to know what they are voting for

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A recent Associated Press article about Indiana’s new law requiring everyone, regardless of age, to show a photo identification when buying carryout alcohol included good news and bad news.

The good news is AP quoted several Indiana legislators who say they are ready to revamp the law, which took effect July 1.

Legislators and liquor store workers told the AP they’ve heard many complaints.

“Everybody thought it was the stupidest thing they ever heard,” said Connie Evans-Jenkins, an employee of Pete’s Liquor Bucket in Merrillville. “They were mean. They called us names.”

We have heard of out-of-state visitors to Perry County this summer who also thought a law requiring people with white hair and wrinkles to be carded was stupid.

It is often hard to get legislators to admit they were wrong about any bill, especially so soon after they passed it. So they deserve credit for saying they are willing to alter the law in the next session of the General Assembly.

Sen. Jim Merritt of Indianapolis told the AP he would propose changing the law to have clerks check the ages of customers who appear younger than 40. Rep. Chet Dobis said that could be pushed to an even younger age.

The troubling news is about how the universal ID requirement, which was part of a larger bill covering Indiana’s liquor laws, was passed.

Rep. Charles Brown, one of those who said he is in favor of changing the requirement, told the (Gary) Post-Tribune that he “had no idea” the measure was included when he voted in favor of the bill.

We realize many bills are complex and some contain hundreds of pages. But any legislator who does not have time to read a complete bill before voting on it should have one of his aides do so and brief him on every measure included in it — especially those that might be controversial.

We hope Brown’s admission that he did not know what he was voting for will be a wake-up call for legislators to do that. We also hope it might encourage legislators to submit shorter bills that can be easily understood by all their fellow lawmakers.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.