Politics & Government

Fort Wayne
4:26 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

GOP Leader Proposes City Worker Protections

Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine.
Credit Courtesy / Allen County GOP

Allen County’s Republican Party leader has a new proposal to protect workers he says will “smooth the edges” of Fort Wayne’s recent ban on collective bargaining for most city employees.

Chairman Steve Shine sent a letter to Republican members of the Fort Wayne City Council Friday urging them to create an appeals process for city workers that would ensure fairness in firing and disciplinary decisions.

Shine says he was initially approached on the matter by Jeremy Bush with the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighers union, who asked him to intercede with a proposal.

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Politics & Government
2:26 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Pence Says Recent ACA Rulings Point to Repeal

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

Governor Mike Pence says recent court rulings on the Affordable Care Act should send a message to Congress to repeal the controversial healthcare law.

Two federal appeals courts this week issued conflicting rulings on subsidies offered to consumers who purchase health insurance through federally-run exchanges – one court invalidated them, the other upheld them. 

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Healthy Indiana Plan Enrollment Ends for 2014

Indiana is cutting off enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan because the program has reached this year’s funding limit.

When the federal government reauthorized HIP, the health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers, last year, it required Indiana to lower the income eligibility ceiling from 200 percent of the poverty level – about $47,000  a year for a family of four – to 100 percent – roughly $23,000  a year. 

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Politics & Government
4:32 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

State, Local Governments at Odds Over Tax

The State Capitol in Indianapolis.
Credit 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. 

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Politics & Government
5:57 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Convenience Stores Redouble Efforts to Sell Cold Beer

Indiana convenience stores won’t stop their push to make the sale of cold beer in their shops legal. Instead, they’re filing a new lawsuit and appealing their existing case.

Under Indiana law, only liquor stores are allowed to sell cold beer.  The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed a lawsuit against the state last year in federal court, seeking to strike down the law. 

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Bayh Not Ruling Out a 2016 Gubernatorial Run

Former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh said Monday he's not ruling out another run for the office.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Evan Bayh isn’t ruling out a run for governor in 2016.

The son of legendary Senator Birch Bayh, Evan Bayh was elected Secretary of State before serving two terms as governor, followed by 12 years in the U.S. Senate.  He abruptly opted not to seek a third Senate term in 2010.  Since then, he’s worked as a policy analyst and political commentator for Fox News.

He’s also donated some of his remaining campaign funds -- which total nearly $10 million -- to various Hoosier Democrats. 

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Politics & Government
1:56 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Indiana Lands Big Budget Surplus, But Democrats Cry Foul

Indiana State Auditor Suzanne Crouch announced the state closed out the 2014 fiscal year with a more than $100 million surplus.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Despite tax revenues that struggled for much of the fiscal year, Indiana closes its book with a surplus of more than $100 million and reserves topping $2 billion.  But Democrats say the state is hoarding money to make its bottom line look good.

Going into the final month of the fiscal year, Indiana was about $50 million short of expectations.  But a strong June helped the state end the year about $13 million above projected levels.  Still, Indiana brought in nearly $60 million less this year than last year. 

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Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

State Faces Funding Challenges for New Roads

A blue ribbon panel studying Indiana’s future transportation needs laid out this week the state’s top road project priorities.  The task now is to figure out how to pay for them.

The panel recommended four priorities for road construction projects – widening I-65 and I-70, building an I-69 Ohio River bridge and creating a commerce connector around Indianapolis.  The panel did not include specific funding recommendations, though co-chair Cathy Langham says it does suggest developing some sort of user fee system.

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Politics & Government
3:44 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Ethics Commission Concerned About INDOT Official's Departure to Private Company

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff.
Credit Courtesy / INDOT

Members of the Indiana Ethics Commission say they have serious concerns about a senior INDOT official leaving his position to work for a company he’s helped steer state contracts toward.

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff is in negotiations to work for RQAW, an engineering firm that does business with INDOT.  While he’s working out an employment deal, Woodruff has put in place a screening procedure that ensures he isn’t involved with any state business that deals with RQAW. 

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Politics & Government
2:45 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Columbia City Senator Set for Fall Deployment

Ind. Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will be deployed to Afghanistan this fall.
Credit 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.

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