Statewide News

Justice Rucker To Leave Supreme Court

Jan 19, 2017

 

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker says he looks forward to spending more time with family as he prepares to step down from the court.

Rucker says he almost retired in 2012, when he turned 65 and was up for a retention vote.

The Gary native and 26-year veteran of the bench is the only current justice appointed by a Democratic governor. But he says he doesn’t expect the court to become more conservative because, in Indiana, a partially independent panel chooses the three nominees for the gubernatorial appointment.

Indiana’s new governor, Eric Holcomb, vowed to tackle the state’s drug addiction epidemic in his first State of the State address on Tuesday. But he has also said he supports Congress’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Anthem-Cigna Merger Deadline Extended Three Months

Jan 19, 2017
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Matthew Hurst / https://www.flickr.com/photos/skewgee/2463077387

In light of the ongoing antitrust trial playing out in Washington, Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem has extended the deadline to complete a merger with Connecticut-based Cigna until April 30th, according to a form filed this week to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Senate Local Government Committee will wait to vote on a bill that would require law enforcement to clear protesters from roadways by “any means necessary.”

The proposal raised alarm with lawmakers and members of the public Wednesday at its first hearing.

The bill, from state Sen. James Tomes (R-Wadesville), would require a mayor or other public official to dispatch all available law enforcement within 15 minutes of a report of a mass traffic obstruction.

Chief Justice Focuses On Justice Partners In Address

Jan 18, 2017


Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush wants more attention paid to so-called “partners in justice” – people who work in, and with, the state’s court system. The message came during her annual State of the Judiciary address.

State Approves Three New Nature Preserves

Jan 18, 2017

Indiana’s Natural Resources Commission, an autonomous board under the Department of Natural Resources, approved nature preserve status for three new Indiana sites Wednesday.

With the addition of the three properties, the Hoosier state now has 277 state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act of 1967, which established permanent protection for significant natural areas throughout Indiana.

A federal judge says a farm labor recruiter must pay $56,631 in back wages to a group of visa workers who came from Mexico to Indiana in 2014.

The 26 Mexican workers got H-2A visas through Tejas Workforce Connection of Texas, which recruits temporary agricultural workers for companies including Beck’s Hybrids in Hamilton County.

Balanced Budget Amendment Clears Senate Committee

Jan 17, 2017

 

A Senate committee approved language that would amend Indiana’s constitution to require the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget.

Former Gov. Mike Pence first pushed the balanced budget amendment in 2015.

It easily passed the General Assembly that year. If it passes again, this session or next, it will go to voters for their approval in the 2018 general election.

WFYI

Here is the full audio of Governor Eric Holcomb's 2017 State of the State.

Gene Cernan Dies, Leaving Marks On Purdue And The Moon

Jan 17, 2017
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courtesy NASA

The last man to walk on the moon – NASA astronaut and Purdue University graduate Gene Cernan -- has died.

Cernan became the answer to a trivia question when he was the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface as part of the Apollo 17 crew in 1972.

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Denis Defreyne/Flickr

The state legislature will consider a law to curb Indiana’s smoking rate, which is one of the highest in the nation. The proposed bill would raise the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack, among other measures.

Lawmakers Don't Want Specific Projects in Roads Bill

Jan 16, 2017

 

Legislative leaders say naming too many specific infrastructure projects in this session’s road funding bill could be damaging.

Throughout the last year or so of the road funding debate, there are specific road projects that most agree the state should prioritize going forward – for instance, finishing Interstate 69 and making Interstate 70 and Interstate 65 three lines wide from border to border.

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he’s comfortable make those priorities clear.

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Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/6168273244

Approximately 1,000 Hoosiers showed up in Indianapolis Sunday to protest congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The rally was organized by a coalition of local and state-wide organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the Indiana Democratic Party and the state chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) will introduce a bill in Congress later this month to punish companies for outsourcing American jobs, using federal contracts and tax breaks as leverage.

At a press conference in Indianapolis Friday, Donnelly spoke alongside workers from companies moving production from Indiana to Mexico, including Rexnord and Carrier.

Lita Freeman is one of 700 employees who will be laid off at Carrier’s factory in Huntington.

Darron Cummings / AP

Full audio of the State of the Judiciary, delivered by Loretta Rush, on January 13, 2017.


Photo: Barbara Brosher

Jeff Staker asks the Veterans' Affairs committee to support his push for legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

The American Legion of Indiana could consider a resolution this weekend that would encourage state lawmakers to develop a medical marijuana program.

 

Gov. Eric Holcomb took the oath of office and delivered his budget to lawmakers this week, and Senate Republicans unveiled their priorities for the session.

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Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons

Updated January 13, 4:12pm

Congress took steps this week toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, by passing a budget resolution that allows Republicans to get rid of the law without the threat of filibuster. This could affect millions of Americans who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, including about 250,000 Hoosiers.

Manufacturers' Association Session Preview

Jan 12, 2017

At the Indiana Manufacturers Association's annual legislative briefing, Holcomb said he knows factories are struggling to find enough qualified workers.

"So there will be a lot of, not just attention or lip service, but a lot of energy spent making sure we come out of this session best equipping our Hoosier workforce for this 21st century economy."

Factory owners also heard from House Speaker Brian Bosma, who acknowledged Indiana's billion-dollar investment in workforce development hasn't had the impact of other pro-business reforms.

 

Gov. Eric Holcomb told Indiana factory owners Wednesday that he and the state legislature will do more this year to help find and train new workers.

At the Indiana Manufacturers Association’s annual legislative briefing, Holcomb said he knows factories are struggling to find enough qualified employees.

Legislation Filed To Repeal ISTEP With Yet-To-Be Decided Replacement Test

Jan 12, 2017

Proposed legislation from the Indiana House’s top education lawmaker would end the state’s controversial ISTEP+ exam in 2018 and pave the way for a yet-to-be determined replacement.

This may sound familiar.

Last year, lawmakers voted to eliminate the assessment following outcry from teachers, parents and lawmakers over the length, makeup and roll out of the test.

The hope was a new exam could be in place soon. But lawmakers said this month it could take two years to create it.

State of the State Preview

Jan 12, 2017

Governor Eric Holcomb has said fuel tax increases are a possible road funding solution, and Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says it’s important Holcomb use his “bully pulpit” to advocate for them.

Kenley says “We need to convince the taxpayer and convince the people that are going to vote here in the building that we’ve been through every other avenue of how you deal with this.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma agrees and says it’s important that Holcomb is on board.

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Youtube video

Indiana residents will now officially be known as “Hoosiers” in all printed federal government documents. 

Hogsett Picks 26-Year IMPD Veteran As New Chief

Jan 11, 2017

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has named Bryan Roach to lead the police department where he's worked for 26 years.

Roach began his career with IMPD in 1991 as a patrol officer in North District. He's worked as a narcotics detective, served on the department's SWAT team, and supervised the North District Neighborhood Resource Unit. He has held every rank, merit and appointed, within the police department over the past 26 years. In 2014, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Administration. 

On Wednesday, Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) announced that the first piece of legislation he originally co-sponsored is H.R. 184, a bill to permanently repeal the federal tax on medical devices.

“The medical device industry is extremely important to northeast Indiana, and I strongly support a permanent repeal of the medical device tax. This tax hurts consumers, restricts innovation and jeopardizes Hoosier jobs. I am committed to permanently repealing this damaging tax.”

BSU EMAIL

Jan 11, 2017

“I was honestly shocked”

Adam is a Ball State University sophomore.  We aren’t using his last name because of the email he received this week.  What was supposed to be a notice that he was on academic probation for the spring semester included much more information.

Attached to the e-mail was a spreadsheet listing all other Ball State students on probation.  It also included their first and last names, student ID number, email, phone number, GPA, cohort and class.

New Coalition Focuses On Reproductive Rights

Jan 11, 2017

A new group formed to lobby Indiana lawmakers on laws governing women’s health rights had its first rally at the Statehouse Wednesday.

The new Indiana Reproductive Justice Coalition, IRJC, delivered 3,000 signatures in opposition to a new bill that would ban all abortions. The group also spoke against a bill that would mandate women seeking an abortion view and listen to an ultrasound and a bill that includes informed consent for abortion pills.

Harmony Glenn is with Indy Feminists and says last year’s court ruling against parts of the 2016 abortion law gave her hope.

The state board of education released district A-F grades Wednesday for the 2015-2016 school year. More than 150 schools saw their rating dip, with 90 percent of Indiana schools receiving a B or C rating.

Only 23 school corporations received an A rating. Gary Community Schools in northwest Indiana received the state’s single F rating.

Indianapolis is one of 19 communities nationally to win a redevelopment award from the Environmental Protection Agency to revitalize former industrial sites.

Near East Area Renewal Director John Hay says the $200,000 grant is a significant first step towards redeveloping the Indy East Promise Zone.

Part of the area, Sherman Park, used to be the headquarters of RCA. At its peak in the 1950s, the factory’s 8,000 employees manufactured records.

But now, Hay says, “Sherman Park looks like a bit of a war zone.”

Lawmakers Aim To Reduce Cervical Cancer Deaths

Jan 11, 2017

 

About 250 Hoosier women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 85 die from the disease.

Those numbers have remained stagnant in Indiana, despite advances in prevention and screening. Republican Reps. Sharon Negele and Holli Sullivan filed a bill to address this.

Negele says the proposal would require the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a plan identifying barriers and crafting recommendations to reduce the number of deaths.

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