Indiana General Assembly

Courtesy / Pinnacle Entertainment

The future of land-based casinos in Indiana could come down to the definition of “footprint,” according to the debate at a legislative study committee meeting Wednesday.

Some of Indiana’s riverboats say permitting land-based casinos allows them to build better facilities and strengthens their ability to compete with the growing number of casinos in other states. 

Pete Liguori is the CEO of Majestic Star Casinos in northwest Indiana.  He says allowing riverboats to move on land has positive benefits for the community.

Environmental and consumer advocates say they’re skeptical about whether lawmakers will take seriously a report providing a positive evaluation of the state’s now-eliminated energy efficiency program.

Last session, the legislature passed a bill eliminating the state’s energy efficiency program known as Energizing Indiana.  It also mandated the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission create a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The next showdown between the state and local governments over the business personal property tax will be at a blue ribbon commission studying the issue this summer. 

The tax on is a levy on business equipment that generates a billion dollars a year for local governments.

Legislation passed this year allows local governments to either exempt new equipment from the business personal property tax, eliminate it on small businesses or abate the tax on specific projects for up to 20 years. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

State Senator Jim Banks, a Naval Reserve officer, is being deployed to Afghanistan this fall and will miss the entire 2015 legislative session.

Banks will use a provision in state law to take a temporary leave from his seat rather than resign, the first time a state lawmaker has used that provision.

Groups pushing Indiana to allow cold beer sales in convenience stores likely face a tough road in the state legislature.

A federal judge this week ruled against convenience store owners in their lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on cold beer sales by non-liquor stores. 

In a statement, Attorney General Greg Zoeller noted that the proper place for debating the issue is the legislature

The proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage known as HJR-3 survived the 2014 session but not unscathed, losing its controversial second sentence.  And it won’t be on the ballot this fall.

HJR-3’s second sentence, which banned civil unions, was removed by the House because of concerns it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits.  The Senate opted against reinserting it.  And the Senate ended debate on the issue this year Monday, passing HJR-3 32 to 17. 

A new chairman in the Indiana House Public Policy committee is giving gaming industry officials hope for more success in the legislature.

Indiana’s gaming industry has been hit hard in the last few years, both by the recession and increased competition from neighboring states. 

Courtesy / Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

State lawmakers say the legislature could give Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne more autonomy and flexibility in funding and degree offerings.

A legislative study committee was tasked this year with investigating the governance structure of the state’s regional university campuses.  And though its initial focus was broad, the committee has narrowed in on one location – IPFW, the state’s fifth largest college campus. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A bipartisan coalition of community, faith and business leaders opposing Indiana’s proposed amendment banning same sex marriage is promising a well-funded campaign against lawmakers who support the measure.

The General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment in 2011 banning same-sex marriage.  The legislature must pass it again next year.  Then it would go to the voters in the 2014 November general election. 

The newly-formed Freedom Indiana is vowing to fight its passage. 

Indiana's School Grading System In the Spotlight

Aug 5, 2013

The controversy surrounding Indiana’s former superintendent, Tony Bennett, is bringing new attention to the formula state officials use to issue letter grade performance ratings to schools.