Statewide News

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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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.”


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.

Executive Order Creates New State Drug Director

Jan 10, 2017
Trey Pennington /

Eric Holcomb has signed an executive order creating a position within his office to oversee all state agencies involved with drug prevention and treatment efforts.

Holcomb's Budget Proposes Modest Education Increase

Jan 10, 2017


The Holcomb administration’s proposed budget, as presented to lawmakers, contains only a modest increase in education spending.

Gov. Eric Holcomb proposes $280 million in new money for K-12 education over the next two years – a 1 percent increase in the budget’s first year, and a 2 percent increase in the second year.

Office of Management and Budget Director Micah Vincent says that the governor’s proposed budget is just the starting point in the budget process. And he notes it also keeps reserve levels of at least $1.8 billion.

Proposal Would Mandate Ultrasound Before Abortion

Jan 10, 2017

A new abortion bill proposed in the Indiana legislature would require women look and listen to an ultrasound before having an abortion. Current law allows women to opt out.

The bill, authored by Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse, would mean a woman seeking an abortion could no longer waive the requirement she view an ultrasound and listen to the fetus’ heartbeat. Kruse declined requests for an interview but said in a statement that he authored the bill to prevent abortions of unborn Hoosier children.


Senate Republican leadership says their caucus’ top priorities include a long-term road funding plan, replacing the ISTEP test and addressing vaping liquid regulations.

On road funding, Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says debate will center on the type and level of tax and fee increases necessary to cover current costs.

In education, the Senate GOP wants to replace the state’s ISTEP test, as does every other caucus. But Senate Education Chair Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) cautions against moving too fast.

Banks Named to House Armed Services Committee

Jan 10, 2017

Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) has been named to the House Armed Services Committee for the 115th Congress.

“I am excited to be named to the Armed Services Committee,” Banks said. “This committee was my number one choice because I want to actively ensure our men and women in uniform receive the resources they need to protect our nation. Northeast Indiana has a strong history of military service and contributing to our national defense. I look forward to continuing that tradition as a member of the committee.”

Jake Harper / Side Effects

If she’s confirmed, Indiana policy consultant Seema Verma will start work as Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She’ll bring her experience designing Indiana’s unique Medicaid expansion to the national policy conversation.

Report: Indiana’s Teacher Evaluation Law Needs Update

Jan 10, 2017

Researchers studying Indiana methods for evaluating teacher performance say districts should develop clearer and more consistent reviews.

As part of an ongoing project to help schools meet a state law that changed teacher evaluations in Indiana, a research group spent the last four years studying how districts measure and deliver feedback to their teachers. The group is based at the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University and led by researches Hardy Murphy and Sandi Cole,


Abortion remained a contentious issue in 2016 – the state saw a new law, demonstrations and three lawsuits. The Indiana’s abortion debate could continue to be a focus as the the 2017 legislative session gets underway.

In recent years, lawmakers in a handful of states have passed more restrictive abortion laws. Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Ken Falk says Indiana is part of that trend.

Appeals Court Rules For Pence In Open Records Suit

Jan 9, 2017


The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that former Gov. Mike Pence did not have to disclose certain documents related to challenging President Obama’s immigration orders.

Pence, using outside counsel, joined in a 2014 Texas lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Indianapolis attorney William Groth filed a request under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act, or APRA, to view communications and documents related to that decision.


New Gov. Eric Holcomb took the oath of office at the State Fairgrounds in front of a crowd of thousands to become Indiana’s 51st governor. That crowd included former governors Evan Bayh, Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence. And Holcomb remarked on the legacies of Daniels and Pence, both of whom he worked for.

Purdue University is seeing more research funding from its corporate partners, a trend that has officials hoping they can be less reliant on public funding.

Purdue gets about a quarter of its research funding from the private sector. An average of 500 companies chip in every year.

But the school’s corporate and global partnerships officer, Dan Hirleman, says the funds those companies contribute have increased from $37 million in 2013 to as much as $55 million the past few years.

The toboggan run at Pokagon State Park is attracting more Hoosiers this season than ever before.

Visitors wait hours for their turn on the track on the 30-second thrill ride. A 90-foot vertical drop shoots each toboggan down a quarter mile ice track. The fastest recorded speed is 42 miles per hour.

The track first opened to the public in 1938, when boys from the Civilian Conservation Corps chopped ice from nearby Lake James and packed it into the wooden track.

Following Along In The Legislative Session

Jan 6, 2017

The legislative session is underway, and that means the next few months will be filled with reporting on votes, language and debates over bills moving through the General Assembly.

Which we know can be … dense.

Of course, following journalists and reading their work is a great way to stay informed about the session, but if you don’t check in every day it can be hard to jump right in.

So how can you stay informed if a story about a bill comes across your Facebook feed or a friend brings up a piece of legislation they heard about?

Tax Revenues Better After Forecast Changes Targets

Jan 6, 2017

Indiana’s tax collections are just above the most recent forecast through half of the fiscal year.

Indiana’s most recent revenue forecast – which came out mid-December – is already having a positive impact on the state’s overall tax collection picture.

New Army regulations will allow men who practice the Indian religion of Sikhism to keep their beards and turbans while serving. The Indiana-based Sikhs Political Action Committee says the decision is a milestone for the 10,000 practitioners living in Indiana.

The army’s decision comes after several Sikh soldiers filed an official complaint in February, asking for religious accommodations.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday his candidacy for the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The election is set for the end of February.

Listen to this story:

Announcing his candidacy in a tweet Thursday, the South Bend mayor said, “It’s time for new leadership to deliver a fresh start for our party.”

The opening for the Democratic National Committee comes after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned last July and interim chair, Donna Brazile, said she would not seek election for a full-term.

Former Sen. Coats Said To Be Trump's Pick For Nat'l Intel. Chief

Jan 5, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly tapped former Indiana U.S. Sen. Dan Coats to be his national intelligence director.

Elected officials, including Coats’ former colleague U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), are praising the choice. It had not been officially confirmed as of late Thursday afternoon.

If appointed, Coats would lead the nation’s intelligence community. The national intelligence post is separate from that of CIA director.

More Babies Born Drug Dependent In Rural Areas

Dec 19, 2016

A new study finds an alarming increase in the number of newborns dependent on drugs. The new research shows the number of newborns drug dependent increased nearly fivefold since 2000. Rural areas were especially hard hit – nationally, up to 21% of infants are born suffering from withdrawal.