2015 Session

Politics & Government
3:47 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Live Dealers Still a Controversial Issue at the Statehouse

Sen. Luke Kenley (foreground) listens to testimony from Centaur Gaming VP John Keeler at the Statehouse Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

As lawmakers negotiate the final details of gaming legislation, the future of live dealers at racetrack casinos remains one of the most controversial provisions.  Racino advocates made a final public plea Wednesday.

When the gaming bill left the House, it allowed racinos to replace some electronic games with tables that have live dealers.  The Senate altered that arrangement, instead allowing racinos to add live dealers beginning in 2021. 

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Politics & Government
5:44 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Advocates Push for Spending for State Retiree Benefits

Indiana Retired Teachers Association executive director Nancy Tolson says many retired state employees need the additional benefit lawmakers cut from the new budget.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Retired Teachers Association

Members of the public Friday got their last chance to weigh in on the budget bill this session.  Retiree advocates made a plea for more spending even as a gloomy new revenue forecast has lawmakers looking to cut money out of their budget proposals.

The so-called “13th check” is an additional yearly benefit for retired public employees and teachers.  The amount can range from $150-$450. 

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Politics & Government
4:49 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Senate Votes to Repeal Common Construction Wage

Indiana Sen. Carlin Yoder authored the bill repealing the common construction wage, which passed in the Senate Wednesday.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

The Senate Wednesday narrowly approved a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage.  Legislators spent more than three hours over the past two days debating the issue of repealing Indiana’s minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.

Opponents of the bill like Portage Democrat Karen Tallian note that the common wage helps support job training programs and ensures public projects are properly built by well-trained, highly paid workers.

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2015 Session
1:00 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

High-Fenced Hunting Preserve Bill Dies in Senate

Avon Republican Senator Pete Miller opposed the hunting bill.
Credit Indiana Senate Republicans

For the second year in a row, the Senate shot down a bill regulating Indiana’s high-fenced deer hunting preserves. 

The legality of the state’s high-fenced hunting facilities has been the subject of legislative debate and  court proceedings for a decade. This year’s legislation would have limited the industry to the four  existing preserves and imposed significant regulation. 

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2015 Session
12:39 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Bill Removing Ritz Moves Forward

A rally was held at the Statehouse in support of Ritz in February.
Credit Rachel Morello / State Impact Indiana

After passing through the Senate, the House Tuesday approve a bill that would remove state superintendent Glenda Ritz as chair of the State Board of Education.

In addition to removing the state superintendent as the board’s chair, Senate Bill 1 would add two more board members and change how members are appointed. 

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Politics & Government
3:42 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Thousands Protest Construction Wage Repeal

Thousands of protesters rallied at the Indiana Statehouse Monday against the repeal of the Common Construction Wage law.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Thousands of construction workers gathered at the Statehouse Monday to loudly protest a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage. It’s the latest in a battle over the future of the minimum wage in public projects.

More than 2,000 predominantly union workers and contractors filled the south lawn of the Statehouse, listening to industry leaders and lawmakers oppose a bill repealing the common wage law.

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Politics & Government
4:13 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Senate Leaders Want to Spend Less 'Major Moves' Money

The Senate Republican budget proposal mirrors its House counterpart in setting aside $400 million for future road projects.  The chamber's budget leader says he’d like to keep that money in state coffers the next two years.

In the 2013 budget, lawmakers created the Major Moves 2020 fund that put aside $400 million for future projects.  But the Pence administration, with State Budget Committee approval, took that money and spent it on road projects over the last two years. 

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Education
2:28 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

House, Senate Disagree on Education Funding

Sen. Luke Kenley says, among other things, universities should not have to raise tuition because of additional higher ed money allocated in the new state budget.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate released its version of the state budget Thursday, outlining a method to fund schools different from that proposed by the House.

There are two pots of money when it comes to school funding: foundation and complexity. Foundation is the amount of money the state gives every student. Complexity is the money allocated toward low-income students.

The biggest difference between the House and Senate budgets is how a student qualifies for complexity money.

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2015 Session
2:09 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Bill Repealing Common Construction Wage Goes Forward

Buck Creek Republican Senator Brandt Hershman authored an amendment to the bill, saying it ensures workers are well trained and public projects well done.
Credit Indiana Senate Republicans

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill repealing the state’s common construction wage while also adding new requirements for contractors on public projects. The legislation eliminating the minimum wage for public construction projects heads to  the Senate floor.

An amendment added in committee would require contractors to have training programs and liability  insurance, and bars them from paying employees in cash. It also prohibits local governments from  passing their own version of the common wage. 

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2015 Session
6:40 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Pence Signs RFRA "Fix"

Credit State of Indiana

Exactly one week after signing Indiana’s religious freedom bill into law, Governor Mike Pence Thursday signed a follow up bill meant to quell the firestorm of controversy that erupted over the  measure.

The follow up bill explicitly states that the recently-passed law known as RFRA can’t be used to deny  service to anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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