2015 Session

Politics & Government
5:44 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Bosma, Long say Pence Tax Proposal Could Be Too Costly

Ind. House Speaker Brian Bosma says a change to a sales tax provision proposed by Gov. Pence could be too expensive at a time when the legislature is trying to invest in education.
Credit File

Republican legislative leaders say the potential price tag of one aspect of Governor Mike Pence’s tax simplification proposal could be too costly to support.

Among the many provisions of Pence’s bill is a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses. 

Initial estimates by the governor’s administration put the cost around $35 million. But LSA, the legislature’s bipartisan research agency, calculates a revenue loss of anywhere between $130 million and $240 million per year. 

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Education
2:03 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Democratic Chairman Calls for End to "Overreach" on Ritz Legislation

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody says proposed legislation reducing Superintendent Glenda Ritz's powers are politically-motivated.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody says Republicans need to halt their partisan attacks on State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

There are multiple bills this session that shift power away from Glenda Ritz’s office to the GOP-controlled State Board of Education. 

That includes a proposal to allow the State Board to elect its own chair, a position currently filled automatically by the Superintendent. 

State Democratic Party Chair John Zody says the measures are an attempt to silence the 1.3 million Hoosiers who voted Ritz into office in 2012.

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Politics & Government
4:38 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

New Proposal Would Limit State Agency Rulemaking

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A House committee Tuesday approved legislation that opponents say will prevent state agencies from enacting much-needed protections.  But proponents argue it will help ensure agencies don’t overstep their rulemaking authority.

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2015 Session
3:39 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Bill Aims to Reduce Concussions for Young Athletes

Lane Middle School vs. Miami Middle School in the 2014 season.
Credit Lane Middle School

High schools in Indiana are required to educate their coaches, student athletes, and parents about concussions and head injuries, and follow specific rules after a head injury occurs. A new law would apply those same rules to grades 5-8. 

 

Senate Bill 403 would require all coaches and assistant coaches to complete some safety education courses, if their athletes are less than 20 years old.

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Lawmakers Ready to Settle Debate on High-Fenced Hunting Preserves

Advocates for high-fenced deer hunting preserves want lawmakers to finally end the debate over their existence in a battle that goes back a decade.  A House committee heard testimony on the bill Monday.

Legislation to legalize and regulate high-fenced deer hunting preserves has failed in past sessions.  But Shelbyville Republican Representative Sean Eberhart, the bill’s author, is more hopeful for success after a summer study committee recommended its passage. 

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Utilities
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Committee Approves Energy Efficiency Program

Citizens Action Coalition executive director Kerwin Olson testifies before an Indiana Senate hearing Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislation a Senate committee approved Thursday creates a new Indiana energy efficiency program to replace the one lawmakers eliminated last year.  But critics say the bill unfairly favors utilities over ratepayers.

Indiana’s previous program set energy efficiency goals utility companies were expected to meet.  Legislation proposed by Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt – and crafted by Governor Mike Pence’s office – allows utility companies to set their own savings goals.  The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission would then approve the utilities’ plans. 

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2015 Session
3:39 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Bill Would Require New Teachers to Learn to Recognize Dyslexia

Representative Woody Burton authored HB1108.
Credit Indiana General Assembly

A new bill would require prospective elementary school teachers in Indiana to be able to identify dyslexia in their students. 

Research suggests dyslexia is among the most common learning disabilities, affecting ten to twenty percent of the population. The precise number is unknown since so many people go undiagnosed.

House Bill 1108 would require new elementary school teachers to be able to recognize learning disabilities that affect reading, including dyslexia.

Republican Representative Woody Burton authored the bill.

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Politics & Government
10:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Senate Bill Would Extend Statute of Limitations on Rape Cases

The Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A Senate committee Tuesday approved legislation expanding the statute of limitations in rape cases.

Under current law, the statute of limitations to prosecute for rape is five years.  Jenny Ewing, a former Indiana resident, says she was raped in 2005 but, in her words, “made the mistake” of not reporting it. 

Her attacker recently confessed to police, but because the five-year statute of limitations had expired, authorities were unable to prosecute him. 

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2015 Session
4:26 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Bill Would Add Ethnic Studies to K-12 Curriculum

Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Many universities in Indiana offer ethnic studies courses, but a newly proposed bill would require all elementary and high schools in the state to add the subject to their curriculum. 

Bills like this have been received in vastly different ways across the country. California is attempting to require the discipline be taught in high schools, while Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies is being challenged in court.

Indiana Senate Bill 495 would mandate that elementary and high school social studies courses integrate ethnic studies into their curriculum.

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Proposal Would Expand In-State Sales Limit for Craft Brewers

Three Floyds is one of two Hoosier breweries nearing the limit for in-state sales.
Credit Courtesy / Three Floyds

Indiana’s craft breweries are urging the legislature to expand the amount of beer they can make each year to sell in the state.

Indiana law regulates how much beer Indiana’s small brewers can make each year and sell in-state.  The current limit is 30,000 barrels.  Most businesses aren’t even close to that. 

But Sun King Brewery out of Indianapolis and Munster’s 3 Floyds Brewing Company are both near that mark. 

Sun King co-founder Dave Colt says if the legislature doesn’t raise the ceiling, Sun King will be forced to make difficult decisions.

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