2015 Session

Politics & Government
4:20 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

I.D. Bill Aimed at Amish Hoosiers Passes Senate Committee

An Indiana Senate committee approved a measure Tuesday creating a new state I.D. that doesn't require a photograph. Indiana Rep. Bob Morris authored the bill.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A Senate committee Tuesday easily approved legislation creating a new state I.D. that does not require a photograph. The bill is aimed at Indiana’s Amish community.

Lloyd Lambright represents a large segment of Indiana’s Amish residents.  He says some of the most conservative members will still refuse to get any kind of state identification card.  But he says for many, the barrier to getting an I.D. is the photograph that accompanies it.

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Politics & Government
4:22 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

House Committee Debates RFRA Amid Protests

Both supporters (pictured) and opponents packed the Indiana Statehouse Monday to express their opinion on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Opponents of the proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act say it’s not about religious freedom, but about legalizing discrimination.  A House committee debated the issue in a hearing Monday.

Proponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, say they’re worried about the government encroaching on their practice of religion.  But opponents say RFRA goes much further than simply protecting religious practices; they say it will allow private citizens to discriminate because of their religious beliefs. 

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2015 Session
4:26 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bills Would Increase Mental Health Care for Veterans

Democratic US Senator Joe Donnelly is introducing three bill aiming to improve services for veterans.
Credit United States Senate

US Senator Joe Donnelly is introducing three more bills aimed at increasing the quality of  mental health care given to the country’s armed forces and veterans.  

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly calls his three bills a “care package” for service members.     

The proposed legislation would require the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to  provide the best care for mental health conditions.  It would also help train community health  providers and new physician assistants in mental health care to address what Donnelly says is a national provider shortage. 

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2015 Session
12:44 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Advocates Rally for More Public Transit Funding

Rep. Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) addressing mass transit advocates at the Statehouse Tuesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Public transportation advocates gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to urge lawmakers to dramatically  increase statewide funding for public transit.

The General Assembly hasn’t increased dollars in the state’s Public Mass Transportation Fund for seven  years. 

Indiana Citizens’ Alliance for Transit organizer Kim Irwin says that’s despite a 15 percent increase  in transit ridership in the last decade.

Her group wants lawmakers to increase funding to $60 million a year, up from $42.5 million in the last budget.

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Politics & Government
4:15 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Zoeller's E-Cig Recommendations Ignored By Legislature

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller asked the legislature to tax e-cigarettes and include them in the statewide smoking ban. Neither suggestion was included in the current e-cigarette bill.
Credit Courtesy / Greg Zoeller

Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s recommendations for inclusion of e-cigarettes in the state’s smoking ban almost certainly won’t be included in legislation regulating the vaping industry.

Zoeller made regulating e-cigarettes one of his priorities this session.  And while proposed legislation aims to regulate the makers and sellers of e-liquids, which are used in e-cigs, the bill does nothing regarding e-cigarettes themselves. 

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

On Wage Repeal Bill, Opponents Push for Study Committee

Pete Rimsans leads the Indiana State Building and Construction Trades Council, which is campaigning against repeal of the common construction wage.
Credit Courtesy

The Indiana House easily approved legislation repealing the state’s common construction wage, and the bill’s support in the Senate looks strong.  For the bill’s opponents, pushing it to a summer study committee could be their best hope.

Set by local boards, the common construction wage is a sort of minimum wage for public construction projects. 

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2015 Session
4:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Midwife Certification Bill Heads to the Indiana Senate

Indiana Rep. Don Lehe introduced a bill this session making it easier for midwives to operate in the state. The bill passed the House this week.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

The House this week easily approved legislation aimed at making it easier for midwives to operate legally in Indiana.  But the bill’s future is less certain in the Senate.

Legislation in 2013 established the framework for legalizing midwifery.  But the law requires midwives to have written collaborative agreements with physicians, and unwillingness by doctors to enter into those agreements derailed the state’s attempt to create a licensing process.

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2015 Session
4:28 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Pence Helps Defeat HPV Vaccine Bill

Senate Minority Leader Scott Pelath.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he lobbied against legislation encouraging more young people to get vaccinated against HPV because of concerns about government mandates. 

The proposed House bill, authored by Muncie Democrat Sue Errington, set a goal for the state to have  80 percent of 13 to 15 year olds vaccinated against HPV by 2020. 

HPV is a virus linked to several forms  of cancer, including cervical cancer, and only around 20 percent of Hoosiers are currently vaccinated  against it.

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2015 Session
6:15 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Lawmakers Hope Tighter Restrictions Will Combat Meth

The Indiana Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require Hoosiers with drug related offenses to obtain a prescription before purchasing cold and allergy  medicine. The authors say it’s the next step in the fight to reduce methamphetamine  production. 

The bill calls for the state’s courts and police to update the electronic database  pharmacies use to track sales of over-the-counter of cold and allergy medication –  which are precursors in the production of meth.  

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2015 Session
6:06 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Bill Would Allow Microbreweries to Increase Production

The Indiana Senate Tuesday passed a bill that would allow Indiana microbreweries to manufacture more alcohol per year. 

Republican Senator Ron Alting says the amended legislation is the result of a  compromise between alcohol wholesalers and microbreweries. 

The bill allows small  breweries to increase their annual production limit from 30,000 barrels per year to  90,000.  

The other half of the bill requires breweries distribute that alcohol through a  wholesaler if their production exceeds 30,000 barrels.

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