Andrew Downs

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Associated Press broke the news this week that Governor Mike Pence’s administration was planning to launch a state-run news service that would pitch stories to the press and the public.

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

Election Day was November 4th and the members of the Indiana General Assembly got together on November 18th for Organization Day.  Organization Day is the third Tuesday following the first Monday in November.  This is the day that legislators take their oaths of office and in the days after that, the leaders announce committee assignments and who would be chairing those committees. 

Voters Say No to Allen County Restructuring

Nov 5, 2014
Courtesy / No to One

A ballot measure that would have consolidated executive power in Allen County into a single office failed by a convincing margin Tuesday night.

Voters overwhelmingly defeated the referendum – which proposed restructuring county government away from the current three commissioner system to a single county executive – with about 70 percent checking the “No” box.

That result leaves the current Allen County government structure unchanged.

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

In the past month, you may have heard or read the StateImpact story about the Indiana House Republican Caucus’ legislative priorities for the upcoming session.  One of the items that caught people’s attention was that the Republican Caucus wants to “fix” the K-12 school funding formula by reducing the gap between the highest and lowest funded districts.   According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the highest funded district receives more than $9,500 per student and the lowest receives approximately $5,500.

Courtesy / Andrew Downs

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many states added elements of direct democracy that enabled voters to have a direct say in what might become law, how public money would be spent, and recalling elected officials from office. 

Indiana did not add many of these elements which is why many voters may not be able to remember ever actually voting on anything like these. 

How Regulation Can Build Community

Jul 30, 2014
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

Bloomington, Ind., recently adopted an ordinance that requires all chain businesses to meet a visual standard.  The visual standard means that chain businesses such as restaurants and retail outlets most likely will not be able to build their usual buildings or modify buildings to look like their usual buildings.  Instead, the businesses will have to complement the architecture, façade, scale, and signage of their neighbors.  The ordinance applies only to downtown and an area west of the Indiana University campus. 

They Gathered in Indy to Talk About What?

Jun 26, 2014
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

A recent episode of WBOI Presents featured IPFW historian Jeffrey Malanson and political scientist Mike Wolf discussing the two ways the United States Constitution can be amended according to Article V.  One of the methods has been used 27 times.  The other has never been used. 

Andrew Downs / for WBOI News

A group of state legislators from around the United States met June 12th and 13th at the Indiana Statehouse to discuss an idea that's never been tested: a convention of the states aimed at amending the U.S. Constitution.

Summer Committees Offer Legislative Insight

May 28, 2014
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Indiana General Assembly meets in session until the end of April in odd-numbered years.  This is known as the long-session and is when the two-year budget is drafted and approved. 

In even-numbered years, the General Assembly meets in session until the middle of March.  This is known as the short-session.  You can see the archive of legislative activity and deadline information here

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Mar 26, 2014
Courtesy / Andrew Downs

Minnesota has one of those problems many states would like to have. It is trying to figure out what do to with a growing budget surplus.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the January seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Minnesota was the ninth best rate in the United States at 4.7% and the economy is growing.  Short-term projections for the state are that there will be 42,000 more jobs by the fourth quarter of 2014 than there were in the fourth quarter of 2013.