2021 Indiana General Assembly session

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, "Times" reporter Dan Carden talks about the stories he's put out in print and online, including news from Washington on U.S. House approval of funding for northwest Indiana road projects and the new laws now in place from last General Assembly session. Celina Weatherwax with the MAAC Foundation talks about their latest acquisition: a state-of-the-art K-9 simulator. And we find out more about a July 22nd veterans' job fair to be held at Soldier Field in Chicago co-sponsored by the DAV and "RecruitMilitary."

Brandon Smith, IPB News

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable Thursday, veteran Statehouse radio reporter Eric Berman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the work that the General Assembly must do this summer in drawing legislative and congressional district maps -- and the impact the new maps will have on Indiana politics.  Lawmakers took a break right now, but will be back to work on the maps, amid calls for public input on what they will look like.   "Post-Tribune" freelance reporter Carole Carlson and "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete will talk about the stories they recently put out in print and online.

Photo provided

Today:  The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission-- made up of Republicans, Democrats and independents -- submitted a report based on a series of statewide public meetings to the General Assembly, which will return to Indianapolis later this year to draw new political district maps.  Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana and representative for the Citizens Redistricting Commission, is on "Regionally Speaking" for an in-depth conversation on the report and what recommendations the commission is making to the map makers.  We revisit our conversation with Valparaiso city parks and recreation director John Seibert on what residents and visitors to the city can expect from their parks this year.  And educator and language pathologist Holly DeLeon talks about some "red flags" in learning loss that parents can spot in preschoolers because of the pandemic. 

WFYI Public Media

Today:  Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the impact that the new statewide wetlands law -- passed by the Legislature this session -- will have on Lake County property owners.  (The wetland shown above is in Marshall County.)  Michael Santos with Northwest Indiana Mutual Aid Initiative, composed of three grassroots, volunteer-based organizations, will talk about last weekend’s “Mutual Aid Pop-up” event in East Chicago and any others planned for the months ahead.  And Rima Shahid, executive director of "Women4Change" talks about the May 22nd virtual training session for women who are interested in seeking public office.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Local health officials across Indiana can no longer impose emergency rules stricter than the state’s after Republicans overrode the governor’s veto. Local legislative bodies – county commissioners or city councils – will have to enact those restrictions instead.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill tying the hands of local health officials during emergencies may have only postponed the inevitable.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued his third veto this year Tuesday, rejecting a bill that would’ve tied the hands of local health officials during public emergencies.

Indiana Democratic Party website

Today:  We have an in-depth conversation with state Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) on the 2021 General Assembly session just ended.  She offers her thoughts about, among other topics -- the new two-year state budget, her bills that passed and signed into law and those that did not.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Mitch Legan has a feature that focuses on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  We also have a conversation with Lauri Keagle with South Shore Clean Cities and Charles Breitenfeld with the northwest Indiana office of the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management, about last Friday's "Northwest Indiana Partners for Clean Air" awards and the 2021 scholarships program recipients, which were issued virtually.  Four awards were presented for voluntary actions taken to improve air quality during 2021.  Three young people will receive scholarships to help them in their future environmental studies at college.  

Indiana Republican Party website

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable Thursday," we speak with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden about his recent stories on the General Assembly, including the Governor's signing into law a bill authored by Representative Hal Slager (R-Schererville) (pictured above)  that will benefit families and children who need to go to Chicago-area hospitals. The measure increases Indiana Medicaid reimbursement rates for care in out-of-state healthcare facilities.  Dan also talks about the lawsuit filed by the Governor against the Legislature over the overridden veto over a bill authorizing emergency legislative sessions with the Governor's consent... and has an update on the developing controversy over an obscene flag flying in the front yard of a Hammond resident. "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson is also on the program to talk about her stories in print and online, including one about the volunteer effort to spruce up Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy's baseball field for the Little League season. 

More Than 100 Groups Ask Holcomb To Veto Wetlands Bill

Apr 27, 2021
Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy


More than 100 groups are asking the governor to veto a bill that would remove protections for many of the state’s wetlands. They delivered a letter to Holcomb on Monday. The signatures include city leaders as well as groups representing environmentalists, wildlife advocates, hunters, and more.

Photo provided

Today:   Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc. president and CEO Debie Coble is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about her career, beginning as a local store manager and going all the way to her becoming the chief executive of the regional Goodwill operation,  She is the next virtual speaker on Wednesday in the "Breaking The Glass Ceiling" series held by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association.  Indiana Public Broadcasting Statehouse reporter Brandon Smith has a wrap-up report on the 2021 General Assembly session.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Photo provided to IU by Kennesaw State Univ.

Today:   The president-elect of Indiana University, Pamela Whitten, is on "Regionally Speaking," as she visits regional campuses like Indiana University Northwest ahead of officially taking over for the retiring Michael McRobbie this summer.  We speak with Kristi Carney, director of behavioral health at CareSource Indiana about the organizations work with Hoosier’s suffering from substance abuse disorders and the impact of COVID-19 on them. Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda is also on the program to talk about the bills the HEC's been closely watching that did -- and didn't -- pass   through the 2021 General Assembly session.  And Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has a conversation with Indiana Dunes National Park spokesman Bruce Rowe about the latest issues about Mount Baldy, the giant dune that swallowed a young boy a few years ago (he made it out all right) but is moving closer to a well-used parking lot.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

On this edition of the podcast you’ll hear the latest on plans of a reroute of the Calumet Trail to showcase the Indiana Dunes National Park, the 2021 legislative session ended with a surprisingly bipartisan approval of the budget , and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Indiana State Senator Eddie Melton as he shares his reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial …All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”… 

Blue Book Building & Construction Network website

Today:  "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his stories in print and online, including stories involving Lake County government and the 2021 General Assembly session.  "Post-Tribune" freelance reporter Amy Lavalley is also on the program to review her stories coming out of Porter County, and "INside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick and his guests talk about a program underway to make the Jasper County Jail a "greener," more comfortable building by using solar energy technology.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A bill that will give health care providers additional protections from COVID-19 liability lawsuits is on its way to the governor’s desk. Some trial lawyers worry the bill will limit Hoosiers from seeking legal action for their loved ones.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Experienced professionals may soon have another pathway to become teachers in Indiana, under a bill lawmakers say is designed to help combat the teacher shortage. 

FILE PHOTO: Steve Burns / WTIU

A controversial bill that aimed to standardize where wind and solar farms could be located in the state was withdrawn in the state Senate on Tuesday. Despite a lot of changes to HB 1381, sponsors didn’t feel they could get the votes needed to pass it.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana lawmakers are fine-tuning a state law that forces school districts to offer vacated buildings to charter school organizations, despite an ongoing court challenge from schools.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana’s new, two-year, $36 billion state budget is headed for its final negotiation phase after the Senate approved its version of the spending plan Tuesday.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

High school courses in areas including cosmetology and culinary arts will keep their state funding in a version of the budget approved by the Senate after language that would’ve cut their funding was removed from the current budget bill.

Alex Paul / WTIU

A bill that originally aimed to remove protections for Indiana’s wetlands has undergone some big and somewhat contradictory changes.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Indiana House lawmakers debated a ban on so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports Monday.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana legislative leaders are planning to postpone the official end date of the 2021 session by several months because, they say, of delays around redistricting.

Brandon Smith/IPB News and courtesy of the governor's office

Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed legislation Friday that would allow lawmakers to call a special session during a public emergency.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A bill prioritizing monument protection heads to the governor. A controversial elections measure dramatically scaled back. And legislation eliminating handgun licenses shot down in the Senate.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

The Senate appropriations committee revived a plan to gradually increase the number of low-income families eligible for financial assistance. It was the subject of a bipartisan vote to amend House Bill 1009 on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Local governments in Indiana must prioritize protecting monuments and statues or risk losing funding if the governor signs a bill approved by the Senate Thursday.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Legislation that would eliminate Indiana’s licenses to carry a handgun in public has been shot down by Senate Republicans.

Stephanie Wiechmann / Indiana Public Radio

House Bill 1191 would now allow universities to put policies in place to make their buildings greener, but cities still wouldn’t be able to do so. 

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana Senate Republicans unveiled their $36 billion two-year state budget proposal Thursday – making a number of changes to the House’s K-12 funding plan and focusing heavily on one-time spending.