2015 Session

2015 Session
6:15 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Bill Could Reduce Incentives for Solar Energy

Some Indiana lawmakers want to change the way solar panel owners are credited for the energy they produce. 

If an individual or business installs solar panels and generates more energy than  they use, the power company buys it to sell to other customers. House Bill 1320 would reduce how much utilities pay for that excess energy, and  charge those who generate it fees for using the power grid. 

Dave Arland with the Indiana Energy Association says it’s just a matter of fairness. 

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Senate Passes Bill Changing Ed Board Appointment Process

Ind. Sen. Travis Holdman authored Senate Bill 1, which reorganizes how the State Board of Education is appointed.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate passed their version of a bill Tuesday to change how the State Board of Education is constructed.

Senate Bill 1 allows the members of the State Board of Education to select a board chair from within their ranks.

Right now, the state superintendent automatically assumes that position. But the General Assembly has taken it upon itself to change this, following months of strained relations among the board, current superintendent Glenda Ritz and Governor Mike Pence.

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Education
3:50 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Legislature Trying to Fast-Track ISTEP+ Changes

The General Assembly is trying to speed up the process for approving changes to this spring’s ISTEP+ test.

Late last week, the State Board of Education and Department of Education approved a handful of recommendations to shrink this year’s version of the test, which students can start taking in less than two weeks. 

By law, those changes must get the okay from the General Assembly. In order to fast-track that process, two things happened in the House of Representatives Tuesday:

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Politics & Government
10:33 am
Tue February 17, 2015

GOP Leaders Highlight Education in New State Budget

Indiana House Ways & Means Chair Tim Brown says education spending is a top priority in the GOP's new budget, released Monday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Republican budget architect Tim Brown says his caucus’ proposed budget will include more money spent on education than ever before in state history.  The House GOP’s budget proposal was unveiled Monday.

House Republican leaders have said for months that education was their top priority this session and that they planned a significant increase in funding for K through 12 schools. 

To that end, House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown says, under the House GOP budget, schools would get $469 million more over the next two years than they did in the last state budget.

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Politics & Government
9:52 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Simplified Tax Code Bill Headed for a House Vote

Indiana Rep. Todd Huston sponsored a bill and several amendments aimed at simplifying the state's tax code.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A measure aimed at simplifying the state’s tax code is on its way to the House floor.  But the version committee members passed doesn’t include as many changes as Governor Mike Pence was pushing for.

Pence’s proposed tax bill, sponsored by Fishers Republican Representative Todd Huston, aims to simplify the tax code by, in part, eliminating more than two dozen tax credits. It also included a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses. 

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Health & Science
9:42 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Advocates Push to Reduce Indiana's Teen Suicide Rate

A new report says Indiana’s rate of teenagers considering suicide in the last year is the worst in the nation.  And the rate of Hoosier teenagers attempting suicide is second highest in the country. 

Now, suicide prevention advocates are working to make inroads at the Statehouse, preparing lawmakers to deal with the issue.

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Gaming Bill Could Pull Hoosier Casinos Onto Dry Land

New legislation in the Indiana House would allow live dealers at Hoosier racinos and allow riverboat casinos to move onto land.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A bill designed to help Indiana casinos struggling from declining revenues is moving forward despite the objections of some in the gaming community.  A House committee approved the measure Thursday, the first step towards passage.

Indiana’s gaming revenues have been in steady decline for some time, worsened in recent years by increased competition in neighboring states. 

Proposed legislation would allow racetrack casinos to add a limited number of table games with live dealers, while the state’s riverboats would be permitted to move inland on their existing footprint. 

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Politics & Government
4:27 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

House Committee Approves Stricter Ethics Rules for Lawmakers

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma discussed his ethics bill Tuesday. The bill passed out of committee unanimously.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A House committee Tuesday unanimously approved a bill creating what Speaker Brian Bosma calls the first major ethics code revision in at least 20 years.  The bill comes in the wake of several ethics scandals over the last year.

Bosma says the Statehouse culture has not been one of corruption, but there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the potential appearance of conflicts of interest.  He says the ethics reform bill’s goal is to increase transparency in an effort to reaffirm the public’s trust. 

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2015 Session
12:59 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

House Backs Bill Removing Ritz

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.
Credit Indiana Department of Education.

The House passed a bill Monday to remove the state superintendent as chair of the State Board of Education, a move some say is politically motivated.

Historically, the state superintendent has automatically assumed the position of state board  chair. This bill changes the law defining that responsibility, allowing board members to elect a  chair from within their ranks.  

The word “dysfunction” has appeared in countless descriptions of board relations since current  State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, took office.

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Politics & Government
1:54 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

High-Fenced Hunting Measure Gets Changed, Passes Committee

Shelbyville Rep. Sean Eberhart says Monday's change to his bill could be the key to its passage.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A House committee Monday made a major change to legislation allowing high-fenced deer hunting preserves to continue operating in Indiana. The committee also passed the bill.

Debate over the existence of high-fenced deer hunting preserves goes back a decade, including an ongoing legal battle over the issue.  Previous attempts to pass legislation allowing and regulating the preserves ended with those measures dying each year in the Senate. 

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