2014 Session

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence signed legislation Thursday to create a preschool pilot program he says is the beginning of a new chapter of hope and opportunity for Indiana’s disadvantaged children.

The program will provide anywhere between two thousand and six thousand dollars per child so low-income Hoosier kids in five counties can attend a high quality preschool program.  Governor Pence signed the bill at DayStar Childcare Ministries in Indianapolis. 

Legislation that made its way to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s desk would halt a state-run energy conservation plan. But a coalition opposing the bill is petitioning Pence for a veto.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels created the Energizing Indiana plan in 2009 to increase the number of energy conservation programs available to rate payers throughout the state. The program also put in place mandatory energy savings benchmarks for private utility companies.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the judicial system is the right place for the fate of Indiana’s gay  marriage ban statute to be decided. 

During the legislative debate over HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex  marriage, lawmakers often said the purpose of the amendment was to provide added protection for  Indiana’s marriage statute, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The common  refrain from people like Speaker Brian Bosma was that the question of marriage in Indiana shouldn’t be  decided by one person.

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The House Thursday approved a preschool pilot program after it was seemingly left for dead just two weeks ago.

Speaker Brian Bosma says creation of the pre-k pilot wouldn’t have been possible without a funding mechanism crafted by the Senate.  The program can use up to $10 million in existing funds from the Family and Social Services Administration, while at least ten percent and up to 50 percent of that in matching funds must come from private sources. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislation that would allow guns to be locked in cars on school property is attracting national attention.  The head of an anti-gun violence group testified Monday in a committee hearing on the bill.

Proposed legislation would allow licensed gun owners to keep their guns locked in their cars on school property, which is currently a felony. 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says it’s unlikely the General Assembly will include any local  funding in legislation freeing up transportation dollars. 

In last year’s budget, the General Assembly put aside 400 million dollars into a transportation fund to be  used for major projects in the future. In response to a request by the governor, proposed legislation this  session would release at least some of the money to the executive branch for construction now. 

Indiana hospitals will have to report to the state cases of babies born addicted to drugs under legislation  unanimously approved by the House Monday. 

The condition is known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – newborns exposed to addictive illegal or  prescription drugs before they’re born. But just trying to understand the scope of the problem has  been difficult, in part because hospitals aren’t required to report the condition.

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The Senate sponsor of a bill requiring some welfare recipients to be drug tested says he thinks he’s found the right balance for the measure to pass.

The original welfare drug testing bill would have required all welfare recipients to submit to a pre-screening test that determines a likelihood of addiction. Those showing that likelihood would then be subject to a drug test. 

Follow-up legislation to last year’s criminal code overhaul bill is headed to the Senate floor after a committee Thursday added potential funding help for local communities.

The purpose behind the state’s criminal code overhaul was in part to divert low-level offenders away from prison and into local community corrections programs.  But so far, the General Assembly hasn’t done much to provide those local programs more money. 

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says, for now, the legislature can begin to address local needs by creating a grant program.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Surrounded by children at a pre-kindergarten program on the east side of Indianapolis Wednesday, Governor Pence emphasized the need for Indiana to begin providing preschool opportunities for low-income Hoosiers.  He says “the time is now” for the legislature to reinstate a pre-k pilot program.

The Senate Education Committee gutted a bill last week that would have provided vouchers for one thousand low-income children in five counties to attend preschool. They replaced it with a study committee on the issue. 

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