2015 Session

New Laws Expand Statewide Broadband Access

Jul 22, 2015
Payne Horning / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence ceremonially signed two bills into law today that will expand broadband Internet access across the state.  Pence says it’s legislation like this that’s driving down the state’s unemployment rate.

The new Broadband Ready Communities Development Center will team with local governments to encourage and approve communications projects that expand Internet access. Pence says last week, Nashville, Ind., became the first area in the state to be approved as broadband ready.

New Law Aims to Make Family Caregiving Easier

Jun 17, 2015

Home health care advocates are trying to get the word out about a new law aimed at helping family caregivers provide better treatment to their relatives.

The Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable – or CARE Act – was signed by Governor Pence at the end of this year’s session.

Under the law, patients who are admitted to a hospital must be given the option to designate a family caregiver. If they do, hospitals must then keep the caregiver in the loop about patient transfers and explain things like medication management when it’s time for the patient to go home.

Measuring Success in Policy Not as Easy as it Seems

Jun 11, 2015
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Indiana General Assembly completed its work right at the mandated deadline of April 29th and most of the legislation that was passed will go into effect on July 1st.  While people might think of the legislative process as being over at this point, the public policy process is not.  An often forgotten part of the process is determining whether or not a policy has worked.

Courtesy / State of Indiana

“Worse than doing nothing” – that’s how critics describe Indiana’s new energy efficiency effort crafted by Governor Mike Pence and the General Assembly.  But the governor insists the program will keep more money in Hoosiers’ pockets.

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups say the new energy efficiency program is going to drive up costs for residential consumers.  Under the approved legislation, each utility company must develop its own energy efficiency program, and they can raise rates to cover any revenue they lose because of decreased energy usage.

Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

After two years of unsuccessfully putting into practice a law regulating midwives, the General Assembly enacted a follow-up bill aimed at finally making the system work.

Legislators crafted a law in 2013 to regulate midwives, including the requirement that, to legally practice, midwives must have a signed, written collaborative agreement with a doctor.  But the Professional Licensing Board – charged with fully developing midwife regulations – couldn’t find a doctor willing to sign an agreement, and gave up creating the midwifery license. 

Courtesy / Office of the Governor

Governor Mike Pence says excitement is palpable as he talks to local communities about the Regional Cities Initiative.  Pence signed a bill creating the program into law Wednesday.

Pence says the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has spent months traveling around the country, talking to leaders in areas that adopted a regional economic development approach.  And he says the IEDC will be spreading the lessons learned from those talks across Indiana as the Regional Cities Initiative is rolled out. 

Indiana’s common construction wage is about to become extinct after Governor Mike Pence signed a bill repealing the wage Wednesday.

The common construction wage is a kind of minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.  The wage is set for each project by a local board. 

In a statement announcing he signed the bill repealing the common wage, Governor Pence says wages should be set by the marketplace, not government bureaucracy.  He says repealing the system puts taxpayers first. 

Legislature Approves Budget Minutes to Midnight

Apr 30, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Republicans declared “mission accomplished” on the new budget as they brought a close to the 2015  legislative session.

The $31 billion two-year budget creates a record-increase in K-12 education spending, allocates  more money for domestic violence prevention and treatment, the Department of Child Services, and  public retirees.  

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence was able to declare almost total victory Thursday in the wake of the 2015 session despite early skepticism from the General Assembly for much of his agenda.

There were several items on the governor’s agenda that lawmakers were at least hesitant to fully support.  That includes a significant boost to charter school funding, dollars for next year’s state Bicentennial celebration, a major investment in Pence’s Regional Cities Initiative, along with the proposed balanced budget amendment to the state constitution.

Legislative leaders say an aggressive push by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation likely won’t influence final negotiations over how much money to put into the governor’s Regional Cities Initiative.  The initiative is meant to help foster greater collaboration in economic development between communities around the state.

The governor’s proposed budget puts $42 million a year towards the IEDC project.  The House and Senate scaled that back to $10 million a year. 

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