Statewide News

 

House Speaker Brian Bosma says legislative leaders have agreed to a road funding plan in principle. Leadership will now take the plan to their caucuses for approval.

Though stingy on details, Bosma calls the agreed-upon plan the “strongest road investment” in state history.

“I can tell that you we believe – after a lot of discussion with the Senate – that we’ve met our mutual goals of long-term, comprehensive road funding,” Bosma says.

Maternal depression is considered a risk factor for developmental disorders, like autism and ADHD. The choice to take antidepressant medication during pregnancy can be difficult. A new study led by an Indiana University professor finds that taking these medications during early pregnancy may be safer than previously thought.

An Indianapolis Public Schools task force says over the next ten years so few students are expected to be enrolled, that only four out of seven district high schools will be needed.

Egg producers are scrambling to keep up with rising corporate demand for cage-free eggs. For Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms, the nation’s second-biggest egg producer, that means building three huge, new, high-efficiency cage-free houses in Pulaski County – capable of churning out a million eggs a day. Going cage-free is not as simple as setting chickens loose, or taking cages out of a conventional chicken house. It can cost up to $50 a bird, and construction can take months.

b67d16c6-69d2-46e2-9348-f3cbe56428c7
Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Purdue University students trying to validate a plan from entrepreneur Elon Musk say Musk’s idea to send a million people to Mars over the next century likely won’t work out.

The astronomical and aeronautical engineering students announced their findings Tuesday to former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his son Andrew, who’d served as “customers” for the project.

Appointed Superintendent Bill Heads To Governor

23 hours ago

 

The House advanced a bill to the governor Tuesday to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed, rather than elected position.

The bill as it originally left the House made the state schools superintendent an appointed position beginning in 2021.

Monique French speaks at a rally to raise the tobacco tax in Indiana.
(Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

In the last few days of the legislative session, as lawmakers work out the final details of the budget, the proposed cigarette tax increase faces its last chance to pass.

The tax has been discussed since the beginning of the legislative session when the newly formed Alliance for a Healthier Indiana announced it as a top priority.

22dd5d5b-0d1d-4b22-897d-6b8e2e4d469f
Eli Lilly / https://www.lilly.com/newsroom

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly has been dealt another blow by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which failed to approve a newly-developed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

In what is referred to as a “complete response letter,” The FDA stated it wants Lilly to supply more data to clarify safes dosage levels and put certain safety concerns to rest.

Few Issues Remain Undecided In Vaping Regulations Bill

Apr 17, 2017

 

House and Senate authors of new vaping regulations say they’re in 99 percent agreement on the bill as the session’s end draws near.

There’s general agreement in the e-liquid bill about rules that include reporting ingredients to state regulators and certain labeling and bar code requirements.

One of the biggest education bills this session seeks to expand the current pre-K pilot program, but the current version of the bill includes funding a new, home school preschool option.

One part of the bill allocates $1 million per year for digital preschool services for families to use at home.

 

A bill advanced by the House this week would allow governments to charge people up to $20 an hour for public records searches that take longer than two hours. Critics argue that the public shouldn’t have to pay to access public records. Former Gov. Mike Pence vetoed a similar measure two years ago.

3484475d-5b03-4fa2-8900-3e09eb059325
katie kryceski Follow / https://www.flickr.com/photos/katiekryceski/

Indiana lawmakers are proposing a pilot program that looks to expand mental health treatment for opioid-addicted Hoosiers. But it’s unclear whether local providers are up for the challenge.

Prayer In School Bill Heads To Indiana Gov. Holcomb

Apr 13, 2017

Bipartisan legislation that seeks to protect religious freedom for students has been sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The bill by Indianapolis Democratic Rep. John Bartlett says traditional public and charter schools can not discriminate against students or parents because of their religious beliefs. It also asserts students’ right to wear religious clothing and express their beliefs in class writings.

Bartlett has said a lack of faith by teens and young adults has resulted in social ills such as drug use and killings.

FAFSA Filing Deadline is April 15 In Indiana

Apr 13, 2017

This Saturday is the deadline for Indiana students to fill out their application for college financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant.

To receive financial aid for college, students must complete the FAFSA — that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Every prospective college student—whether they’re a high school senior or a returning adult—should complete the FAFSA,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said.

School Explores Benefits Of Teaching With Music

Apr 13, 2017

 

From the parking lot at Tindley Genesis Academy in Indianapolis – you can hear music.

Outside of the school, it’s a dull thumping, but once you enter the front door, drumming, shrieking and synchronized chanting greets you – before the secretary has a chance to say hello.

It’s coming from the gym.

Second through fourth grade classes stand on the sidelines of the basketball court, drumming, dancing and taking turns singing their class chants.

Legislation allowing police to take DNA from anyone arrested for a felony is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The Senate advanced the bill after a lengthy debate about its constitutionality.

Proponents of the measure argue that taking a DNA sample from an arrestee is the same as taking their mugshot or fingerprints. And Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) says that’s supported by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A new report from the Animal Welfare Institute says Indiana lags in enforcing humane slaughter rules at small, state-inspected meat plants – that it issues citations, but never stops production.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health took issue with that logic, saying its inspectors are doing their jobs.

Indiana’s new revenue forecast is slightly more optimistic about the state’s fiscal picture for the next two years. But House and Senate fiscal leaders say it doesn’t change their budget plans.

A bill headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk would allow governments to charge the public up to $20 an hour for public records searches.

If a public records request takes more than two hours to complete, Rep. Kathy Richardson’s (R-Noblesville) bill says the government agency can charge up to $20 an hour for the work.

Former governor Mike Pence vetoed such a bill two years ago.

The Senate made a change to the measure, exempting title records search companies from having to pay the fee.

House Sends Telemedicine Expansion Bill To Governor

Apr 11, 2017

House lawmakers voted to send a bill to the governor that expands Indiana’s telemedicine services, though some legislators are still uncomfortable with that expansion.

The telemedicine bill expands those remote care services to Indiana’s Medicaid patients. And it lifts a ban on prescribing certain controlled substances via telemedicine, such as Ritalin and Adderall.

 

A preference for one chamber’s version of the road funding bill has emerged as the public got what’s likely its last chance this session to testify on the measure.

During testimony from local officials, logistics and trucking industry representatives, union leaders, and others, a common theme materialized: they like the House version of the road funding bill better than the Senate’s.

Building and Construction Trades Council leader Pete Rimsans says the House bill creates a bigger return on investment.

Black Students With One Black Teacher More Likely To Graduate

Apr 10, 2017

There’s a new study out and it finds black students who have just one black teacher in elementary school are less likely to drop out and are significantly more likely to graduate high school.

The study’s major takeaways:

The Indiana Senate gave its final approval to a bill revamping the state’s net metering policy on Monday. The bill now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk, where solar advocates are hoping he’ll veto it.

The bill’s author, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), says he’s comfortable with the changes made in the House, which the Senate approved 37-11.

“As I’ve said all along, I’m not opposed to solar, it’s just that the current subsidy is too lucrative considering the current state of affairs,” says Hershman.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act mandates how states’ hold their schools accountable.

This fall the Indiana Department of Education will submit its plan as required by the law for how to will improve graduation rates, increase English-language proficiency and offer help to the lowest-performing schools – among many other issues.

This Week At The Statehouse: Education Spending, ISTEP+

Apr 7, 2017

Amid uncertainty over the future of many education issues in Indiana, lawmakers were busy at the Statehouse this week.

Lawmakers in the House chambers dove into a controversy around “sanctuary campuses.” The Senate finished the week by placing its stamp on the House budget and two of the session’s most controversial proposals: an appointed superintendent and ISTEP replacement.

Senate Budget Increases Education Spending By 3 Percent

Local officials say their piece of the road funding pie needs to be a lot bigger after a significant decrease in the Senate plan. The Senate proposal cut local funding by more than two-thirds from the House version.

And while local officials obviously aren’t happy with the funding decrease in the Senate roads bill, there are other provisions they’d also like to see changed.

 

It’s just after 7:30 a.m in Andy Slater’s ninth grade science class. Students sit on their chairs in a circle – they play a few quick word games where they ask each other basic questions.

But there’s one catch.

“Come on in English, in Inglés,” Slater says.

Slowly the chatter in Spanish, Swahili and other languages dies down.  Then one student standing in the middle of the circle slowly says: “Big wind blows if you like school.”

Students jump up to move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs.

 

The controversy over Ricker’s convenience stores’ ability to sell cold beer and hard alcohol grew more contentious as the House killed a bill that would’ve let Ricker’s keep its permits.

At issue are restaurant permits Ricker’s was able to secure at two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – previously, the sole right of liquor stores and restaurants.

The vast majority of House lawmakers approved a bill to legalize baby boxes in hospitals – over the objections of the Department of Child Services.

The measure now also sanctions the state’s two existing boxes.

Baby boxes are intended to provide mothers with more anonymity when dropping off newborns. Current law gives people immunity from child abandonment charges only if the baby is delivered to another person.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) says the reality is that some mothers aren’t willing to face another person when dropping off their newborn.

Pages