Andrew Downs

Opinion - Politics
4:57 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Allen County Executive Vote is Direct Democracy in Action

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many states added elements of direct democracy that enabled voters to have a direct say in what might become law, how public money would be spent, and recalling elected officials from office. 

Indiana did not add many of these elements which is why many voters may not be able to remember ever actually voting on anything like these. 

Read more
Opinion - Politics
5:30 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

How Regulation Can Build Community

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

Bloomington, Ind., recently adopted an ordinance that requires all chain businesses to meet a visual standard.  The visual standard means that chain businesses such as restaurants and retail outlets most likely will not be able to build their usual buildings or modify buildings to look like their usual buildings.  Instead, the businesses will have to complement the architecture, façade, scale, and signage of their neighbors.  The ordinance applies only to downtown and an area west of the Indiana University campus. 

Read more
Opinion - Politics
6:16 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

They Gathered in Indy to Talk About What?

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

A recent episode of WBOI Presents featured IPFW historian Jeffrey Malanson and political scientist Mike Wolf discussing the two ways the United States Constitution can be amended according to Article V.  One of the methods has been used 27 times.  The other has never been used. 

Read more
Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

WBOI Presents: The Mount Vernon Assembly and Constitutional Amendments

Ind. Sen. David Long addresses a meeting of The Mount Vernon Assembly, which met in Indianapolis this month.
Credit Andrew Downs / for WBOI News

A group of state legislators from around the United States met June 12th and 13th at the Indiana Statehouse to discuss an idea that's never been tested: a convention of the states aimed at amending the U.S. Constitution.

Read more
Opinion - Politics
5:09 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Summer Committees Offer Legislative Insight

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Indiana General Assembly meets in session until the end of April in odd-numbered years.  This is known as the long-session and is when the two-year budget is drafted and approved. 

In even-numbered years, the General Assembly meets in session until the middle of March.  This is known as the short-session.  You can see the archive of legislative activity and deadline information here

Read more
Opinion - Politics
4:32 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

Minnesota has one of those problems many states would like to have. It is trying to figure out what do to with a growing budget surplus.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the January seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Minnesota was the ninth best rate in the United States at 4.7% and the economy is growing.  Short-term projections for the state are that there will be 42,000 more jobs by the fourth quarter of 2014 than there were in the fourth quarter of 2013. 

Read more
Opinion - Politics
3:36 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Both Parties Can Agree on This

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

What is the role of government? 

Conservatives and liberals spend quite a bit of time arguing about this question.  Even when they agree on a role the government is supposed to play, they often will argue about how the government is supposed to play that role. 

While the ideological differences between the two parties can explain their varying perspectives on the role of government, the reality is that even those with the same ideology disagree on what they want government to do.  

Read more
Opinion - Politics
3:51 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Constitutional Debate Creates Teachable Moments

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

(Ed. note: This month, we're launching a series of weekly columns from contributors across the community on topics like health, politics, food and more. This is the second column in our series.)

Indiana’s education standards include requirements regarding civics and government.  But I am a realist.  I know that just because a standard exists, there is no guarantee that a student will retain information any longer than it takes to through a test, if that long.  Life has an interesting way of providing moments when those things we were required to learn, and forgot, suddenly have relevance.  The legislative process is one of those things. 

Read more