Statewide News

Students Stage Walkout Across Indiana

Mar 14, 2018

Students across Indiana joined a national walkout movement to protest federal inaction on preventing school shootings. They left classes at 10 a.m., for 17 minutes in recognition of the 17 students and faculty members who died in the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

The day of action also marks the final day of the 2018 legislative session.

Bethany Christian Students join nationwide walkout

Mar 14, 2018
about 300 students gather in a circle listening to one talk
Jennifer Weingart


Students across the country staged walkouts Wednesday including most of the students at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen.

The walkout is in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting in Florida a month ago, and to protest for gun law reform and safer schools.

(Screenshot of
Jill Sheridan

Nearly one-third of Hoosier students report feeling sad or hopeless, and school is the de facto mental health system for many of them.

A new partnership increases mental health resources for Indiana schools as one website adds tools to help school systems address the social and emotional needs of students.

School Funding Gap Fix Finalized, Sent To The Governor

Mar 13, 2018
(Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Lauren Chapman

The General Assembly has approved the final version of a school funding measure. It will address a more than $22 million school funding gap this year caused by a spike in public school enrollment.

Group Protests Drug Dealing Resulting In Death Bill

Mar 13, 2018

Dozens of protesters marched to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office Tuesday to request he veto a bill that would dramatically increase penalties for a drug dealer if a person overdoses and dies.

After hearing speeches, protesters marched to Holcomb’s office to demand he veto House Bill 1359.

Many say it repeats past mistakes, including Hoosier Action’s Jennifer Brooks.

Lawmakers Compromise On Sex Ed Bill, Opt-In Requirement

Mar 13, 2018
Sen. Dennis Kruse authored the original SB 65, about sex education in schools. (Zach Herndon/WTIU)
Jeanie Lindsay

Lawmakers are working to finalize a controversial sex education bill before the final deadline of the 2018 legislative session this week. Supporters say the measure gives parents more power over their child’s learning.

The issue popped up late in session - recipients of the federal immigration program known as DACA were denied licenses through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Legislation to ensure DACA recipients can receive job licenses is on a clear path toward passage after a slight speed bump last week.

Schools Preparing For Walkouts on Wednesday

Mar 13, 2018
News Archive Photo / WTIU/WFIU

Several Indiana schools are planning programs Wednesday rather than letting students walk out of school during a nationwide gun violence protest.

The National School Walkout marks the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting. Students across the country are planning to walk out of school in protest at 10 Wednesday morning. But some Indiana school districts say they don’t want kids leaving because of safety concerns.

Lawmakers Finalize School Safety Bill

Mar 13, 2018
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Lawmakers unveiled Tuesday a final version of legislation to help schools improve their safety. The agreed-upon language delivers a $5 million funding request made by Gov. Eric Holcomb for the state’s school safety grants.

That money goes toward equipment and school building safety upgrades.

READ MORE: McCormick Says Improvements Needed In School Safety Policy

SNAP Recommendations Focus On Health

Mar 13, 2018

In response to high rates of diet-related diseases, a task force recommends changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s SNAP Task Force was established last year to determine how federal dollars could be better spent to promote health and reduced related health care costs of programs like Medicaid.

A new report makes a series of recommendations on SNAP benefits. Former Indiana Family and Social Services Agency secretary John Wernert is on the task force and says diet is directly linked to health outcomes.

Lawmakers Remove Unlicensed Teacher Provision From Bill

Mar 12, 2018
Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

Lawmakers from both chambers say they agree on a final version of a teacher licensing bill that stirred controversy in recent weeks.


At first, the bill would have let the state waive some content licensing requirements for new teachers. Then the House changed that measure, to let schools hire a certain percentage of unlicensed teachers. But Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), the bill’s author, says language aimed at getting more teachers fast-tracked into the classroom was too confusing.


StateImpact Indiana

Last year’s Senate Bill 567 set in motion plans for the state to intervene in Muncie and Gary schools.  This year, House Bill 1315 updates many provisions in that bill, including handing the running of Muncie Community Schools from an emergency manager to Ball State University.

Digitallymade / Wikimedia Commons

Legislation on gun regulations appears to be close to its final form as lawmakers heard more than three hours of testimony on the issue Monday.


The final bill combines eliminating the lifetime handgun license fee and allowing gun owners to carry firearms into churches that are on school grounds. It’s the latter that drew much of the debate in the final hearing.


Barbara Maness is a school volunteer and carries at both school and church. She says it’s because she wants to protect against armed people who would do harm.


Hoosier Unemployment Lowest Since 2001

Mar 12, 2018
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The federal government spends the start of each year doing a deeper dive on each state’s employment data. Based on that review, it adjusts past monthly results.

As a result of those adjustments, the state’s January unemployment rate of 3.3 percent is its lowest since the beginning of 2001.

But for the fifth consecutive month, Indiana’s labor force shrunk. The labor force measures people who have a job or are actively looking for one.

Hoosier Protest Art Exhibited In Chicago

Mar 12, 2018
Barb Anguiano / WVPE

An exhibit of protest art from demonstrations across northern Indiana was on display at Chicago art gallery, Uri-Eichen over the weekend.  

The exhibit titled, “Art of Resistance and Resilience in Northwest Indiana” was organized by the advocacy group Northwest Indiana Resist. Uri-Eichen, located minutes from downtown Chicago, had little walking room. It was full of visitors and Hoosier protest art.

The standardized test that will replace Indiana’s ISTEP will take students significantly less time to complete, according to estimates from the Indiana Department of Education.

Schools, Officials Prepare For Student Protests

Mar 9, 2018

School violence in Florida last month has sparked a wildfire of activism around school safety, and school administrators across the state are working to prepare for student protests planned this month and next.

On March 14, students across the country will join a nationwide school walkout, scheduled for a total of 17 minutes. Each of those minutes represents a victim of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month.

In Indiana, 42 percent of women say they have experienced some form of violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. New data captures some of the challenges of prosecuting domestic violence cases.

The report from the Domestic Violence Network focuses on cases filed in Marion County. Executive director Kelly McBride says the data assessment is valuable.

INDIANAPOLIS – Republican U.S. Senate candidates Mike Braun and Luke Messer have agreed to debate April 30 in a televised statewide event organized by the independent Indiana Debate Commission.

Legislative leaders say no decisions have been made on whether lawmakers will advance gun regulation measures before session ends.

Holcomb Requests $5M More For School Safety Funding

Mar 9, 2018

Gov. Eric Holcomb wants lawmakers to deliver an additional $5 million this year for schools to spend on safety upgrades.

Indiana currently spends $10 million a year for school safety grants, which fund security improvements and school resource officers.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says lawmakers are prepared to deliver that money and help fund an audit by the Department of Education of all school safety plans.

“DOE feels there might be a cost to that, a fiscal for them, so we need to talk about how to do that,” Long says.

Indiana tax collections surpassed expectations in February for the third consecutive month – and only the third time this fiscal year.

Total tax collections were about $30 million better than expected last month. The positive month was spurred by individual income tax collections more than 30 percent better than projected. Sales taxes came in essentially right on target.

Attributing it to the tax changes made by congressional Republicans late last year, Walmart handed out bonuses to employees across the country Thursday.

Two bonuses were given out: one being a one-time cash bonus of up to $1,000 and the other a quarterly bonus based on the store’s sales performance where the employee is located.

Walmart spokesperson Anne Hatfield says it’s a day for celebration for all employees.

Legislative leaders say both chambers have reached agreement on legislation to address Indiana’s workforce development issues.

The measures will begin taking steps this year as the legislature prepares to implement the bulk of its workforce efforts in next year’s budget.

Some of the legislation’s provisions will get underway in 2018. That includes expanded eligibility for student workforce grants and money for employers, says House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis).

Indiana Up One Spot In Women And Children Report

Mar 8, 2018

A new look at health rankings for women and children finds Indiana inched up a spot from 36th to 35th out of 50 states.

In one area, Indiana still struggles.  Maternal mortality in Indiana ranks 46th and the state’s infant mortality rate is 42nd.

The annual Health of Women and Children Report from United Health Foundation reflects numbers from 2016. Senior advisor Deenen Vojta says the data shows challenges that women in Indiana face.

Dyslexia Legislation Headed To The Governor

Mar 8, 2018

Advocates for dyslexia awareness say not enough teachers know how to identify and help students with the learning disability early on, but a bill the General Assembly approved this week aims to change that.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law Thursday standardizing perinatal care in the state to lower Indiana’s infant mortality rate.

The new law creates a system to help expecting mothers identify the facility that can best deliver the level of care that they need.

“When you think about the 623 babies that didn’t make it past their first year in the state of Indiana, it’s clear that we have work to do,” Holcomb says.

State lawmakers are arguing over labeling and testing requirements for cannabidiol, or CBD, manufacturers in the final days of the 2018 session.

The Senate this session put certain labeling and testing requirements into CBD legislation. That includes a provision to require all manufacturers to submit their CBD oil to an independent lab for inspection.

Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Inglefield) says his chamber wants to minimize such requirements.

Louis Arevalo holds his Truvada pills at his home in Los Angeles, California on July 17, 2015. The drug Truvada, used to halt HIV infection, has been shown to be over 90 percent effective when used correctly.
Heidi de Marco / Kaiser Health News

An analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further links between syringe services programs and preventing HIV. 

A recently-founded group of conservative students and Republican municipal leaders is working to bring what it calls a conservative voice to energy conversations in Indiana.

Indiana Conservatives Alliance for Energy aims to connect Republicans who care about renewable power.