Statewide News

A Senate committee approved legislation to ensure Indiana’s presidential electors don’t go rogue.

When Indiana’s presidential electors cast their ballots, there’s nothing in state law that requires them to vote for the candidate Indiana voters chose in the election. Rep. Kathy Richardson’s (R-Noblesville) legislation would change that.

A Senate committee approved a controversial bill Monday that would change the Superintendent of Public Instruction from an elected position to an appointed one.

During this General Assembly, both the House and Senate sponsored bills to make the state’s education chief an appointed position. The House passed its version of the bill, but the Senate, in a surprise move the first half of session, voted theirs down.

 

Republican congressional leaders pulled the scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act after it appeared the bill was headed for defeat.

Almost all of the GOP members of Indiana’s delegation expressed disappointment. Some praised U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan for his efforts to pass the bill – Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Carmel) says he worked hard to incorporate feedback from constituents.

A newly published report maps the ability of electro-acupuncture to release healing stem cells. The study was led by two researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine.

 

Rural homeowners in Bartholomew County say a big, nearby hog farm – a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO – is hurting their property values.

The county denied their bid to lower the CAFO neighbors’ property taxes, and argued the issue is too complex to codify, while residents say officials are just worried about politics and money.

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Bundesinnung Hörgeräteakustiker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/134783624@N07/

An Indiana University study indicates hearing aids fitted by a patient are just as effective as those fitted by a professional audiologist.

Currently, hearing aids aren’t able to be purchased over-the-counter. Instead, people must have a professional evaluate their hearing loss, set the hearing aid’s sensitivity and teach proper use.

Great Lakes Programs Slashed Under Trump Budget

Mar 24, 2017

 

The health of the Great Lakes is in danger, according to statewide lawmakers and environmental leaders, due to budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump.

The Great Lakes are the world’s largest system of freshwater lakes and the federal government currently spends around $300 million protecting them. Under President Trump’s proposed budget, that spending would be reduced to $5 million.

U.S Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) says that money wasn’t being wasted.

The Hoosier unemployment rate ticked up by one-tenth of a percent to 4.1 percent last month. That’s the first increase since January of last year. The rate is still lower than the national average and all neighboring states.

After two consecutive months of declines, the private sector added jobs in February – 4,400 for the month. The surge was led by the manufacturing industry.

Indiana schools stand to lose about $56 million for teacher training and after school programs for low-income students, under proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, says the proposed budget would be “a big hit” to the state. She says cuts would hamper efforts to attract teachers, stifle new programs under a new federal education law and reduce programs for low-income students.

The Senate Appropriations Committee made several changes Thursday to a bill dealing with Indiana gaming taxes and revenue.

Rep. Todd Huston’s (R-Fishers) legislation makes several gaming industry changes, including creating a new wagering tax on casinos and eliminating the admissions tax casinos pay.

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Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Dignitaries cutting the ribbon Thursday at a new Rolls-Royce research facility at Purdue University say increased defense spending proposed in President Trump’s budget could enable growth of the school’s fledgling aerospace park.

“You know, if the defense budget goes up, I certainly hope and expect that Rolls-Royce technology will be right there with it – going up," says Rolls-Royce North America CEO Marion Blakey. "Because we do expect that we could do work right here, in West Lafayette. We could do it right here at this facility.”

Holcomb Now Backing Federal Health Care Bill

Mar 23, 2017

Governor Eric Holcomb says he’s backing the federal health care reform bill after expressing concerns about the measure only last week.

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Nathan Forget / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanf/

A bill that would give counties the ability to set up needle exchanges without first getting state approval is one step closer to becoming law.

A Senate committee has approved the bill despite concerns from Attorney General Curtis Hill.

Legislation that would offer high school journalists the same legal protections as professional journalists moved closer to law today.

House Bill 1130 would prevent public K-12 schools from disciplining students for expressing their First Amendment rights in a school-funded publication.

Committee Chairman Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) proposed an amendment to let the State Board of Education decide disputes.

Committee OKs New Public Records Search Fee

Mar 22, 2017

 

A Senate committee approved a bill that would allow state and local government agencies to charge the public a substantial fee for lengthy public record searches.

Those searches are currently free.

A House committee Wednesday added the entire contents of a controversial bill on gun regulations to a different bill dealing with firearms.

House Bill 1071 allows people protected by restraining orders to carry handguns without a license for up to 60 days. The controversial measure passed the House last month and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

 

Legal experts and lawmakers can’t agree on the constitutionality of a proposal that would require parents be notified if their underage daughter goes to court to get consent for an abortion.

Net Metering Bill Continues To Draw Debate

Mar 22, 2017

 

A bill that would change net metering for solar energy production got its first hearing before a House committee Wednesday, continuing to draw debate from a wide range of stakeholders.

The House Utilities committee worked through lunch to hear 6 hours of testimony from 60 individuals on Senate Bill 309.

Proposed legislation that would require guidelines for religious expression in public schools passed the Senate Education Committee, with an amendment altering the original intent.

House Bill 1024 would protect open prayer and religious dress, writings or other religious expression in schools.

Manufacturing companies all over the state have open positions and can’t find qualified workers to fill them. These jobs require specialized training because the new world of manufacturing requires more technology-based skills. So companies are finding new opportunities to teach them.

THE PROBLEM IN ONE MANUFACTURING TOWN

Financing Sought For Healthy Food Legislation

Mar 21, 2017

Supporters of a bill that would expand access to healthy food rallied at the Statehouse this week. They are pushing for lawmakers to establish a healthy food financing initiative.

Currently, legislation that would create a program to help businesses and non-profits increase fresh food access in underserved areas doesn’t have any state money attached.

Federal Budget Puts Low-Income College Grants On Chopping Block

Mar 21, 2017

The newest federal budget presented by President Donald Trump dramatically reduces money for grants designed to help low-income students go to college.

The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, money for students with exceptional financial need, and proposes a $3.9 billion reduction in Pell Grants, the primary federal college grant program.

Bill Aims To Close Loophole In Child Pornography Law

Mar 21, 2017


A Senate committee advanced legislation that closes a loophole in Indiana’s child pornography statute. The bill’s author, Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Inglefield) says it helps state law keep up with modern times.

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Nic McPhee / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee

Purdue University plans to extend its tuition freeze into the 2018-2019 school year.

President Mitch Daniels made the announcement of a sixth year of tuition flatlining Monday, touting the amount of money the school says students and their families have saved as a result.

New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the wind industry is stronger than ever. The amount of installed wind energy overtook hydroelectric for the first time at the end of 2016, to lead U.S. renewable energy capacity.

That news follows a December report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which projects wind turbine technician is the fastest growing occupation for 2014-2024.

The Senate sponsor of a bill ensuring freedom of the press for students says he anticipates a relatively easy path through his chamber.

The proposed legislation would affect student-produced media in grades 5 and up and says schools cannot suppress it unless it’s libelous or profane. House sponsor Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) says journalism education is more important than ever.

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Purdue University / http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html3month/2005/051012.Celebrate.cancer.html

Last year Indiana schools and businesses received more than $225 million for scientific and medical studies from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, released Thursday, cuts close to one-fifth of NIH funding, and this could significantly reduce the amount of research done at the state’s universities.

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