Joe Donnelly

Courtesy / Dan Coats

U.S. Senator Dan Coats says he wants to take the politics out of appointing federal judges, proposing a bipartisan commission to fill vacancies. Indiana’s federal system has three vacancies, with another on the way.

To fill judicial vacancies at the federal level, U.S. Senators submit recommendations to the president, who then submits a candidate for nomination to the Senate. 

Senator Coats says the system is fraught with politics, particularly when, as in Indiana, the two senators are from different parties. 

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says legislation nearing passage will be an enormous help in preventing suicide among military service members.  More than 3,000 active-duty soldiers have taken their lives since 2001.

The rate of suicide among National Guard members has grown more than any other military branch in the last five years.  That’s why legislation Donnelly authored requires annual mental health assessments for all servicemembers – including members of the National Guard and reservists. 

Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly says the new Farm Bill is good legislation for the times the nation is facing.  Donnelly is traveling around the state this week talking to farmers about the bill.

Donnelly says the most recent version of the farm bill is strong in two important areas: a greater shift toward crop insurance and greater focus on conservation. 

The Indiana Democrat says past farm bills relied heavily on direct payments to farmers; the new bill does away with them almost entirely, which he says is better for taxpayers as well as farmers.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana political, community and faith leaders gathered at the Statehouse Sunday to mourn the death and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela.

Though many of the speakers at the service for the late South African leader expressed sorrow at his passing, the focus was on Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the example he set for people across the world. 

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly Friday publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage, saying he changed his position in light of recent Supreme Court arguments and public discussion. The Democratic U.S. Senator’s support could influence the issue in the Statehouse.

In a statement released on his Facebook page, Senator Joe Donnelly said he opposes amending both the Indiana and U.S. constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, much as a proposed amendment to Indiana’s constitution would do if passed a second time by the General Assembly and then by voters.