Statewide News

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.

McCormick Asks For 2019 Start Date For New Test, Not 2018

Mar 16, 2017

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick asked a Senate education committee Wednesday to extend the timeline for creating a test to replace ISTEP+.

The Senate is considering a House bill that would, once again, revamps the state assessment, the ISTEP+. The current version of the bill has students taking the new test next year. This concerns McCormick and others at the Department of Education.

The General Assembly is debating an $800 million road funding package, but Indiana’s water infrastructure needs more than $2 billion in urgent repairs.

School districts and towns all over the state are having problems with water infrastructure. Some have lead pipes, 100-year-old pipes or pipes with big holes that leak water.

One such town is Greentown, in Howard County, near Kokomo.

In October 2015, Eastern Howard Elementary School found elevated lead levels in its drinking water.

Groups Press For Revival Of Bias Crimes Legislation

Mar 15, 2017

A coalition of groups is pressuring Indiana lawmakers to revive legislation that would allow judges to impose tougher sentences for crimes motivated by factors such as a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. 

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Cristian C / Flickr

The GOP's proposed health law, the American Health Care Act, has some mental health and addiction treatment advocates worried.

A Senate Committee slashed funding Wednesday from a House bill that sought to double the state’s preschool pilot program.

Senate lawmakers wasted little time amending House Bill 1004 to mirror their own version of legislation to expand state-funded preschool and offer additional funding to other early learning initiatives.

 

A Senate committee advanced legislation that stops local governments from banning short-term rentals, such as Airbnb.

A coalition of Indiana businesses opposes a federal proposal to place a 20 percent tax on imported goods.

The border adjustment tax would make exporting American goods cheaper and importing products more expensive. Some small businesses and their supporters oppose it, and Hoosier members of a national coalition, Americans for Affordable Products, held a press conference at the Statehouse Wednesday.

Indiana Retail Council President Grant Monahan says Indiana’s congressional delegation should vote against the tax.

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