Politics & Government

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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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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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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Politics & Government
4:23 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Study Redistricting Reform

A bipartisan bill introduced this week would create a study committee to investigate how Indiana redraws legislative districts.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Business Research Services

Changes to Indiana’s redistricting system likely won’t take place until at least 2017 under a new proposal from House legislative leaders that would create a redistricting study committee.

The committee would be charged with studying redistricting for the next two years, with a report due in December 2016.  Under the bill, the committee would consider several issues, including state and federal redistricting laws, the cost of a reform effort, and redistricting systems in other states. 

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2015 Session
5:15 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Pence Budget Would Boost K-12 Funding by $200 Million

OMB Director Chris Atkins (center) and Budget Director Brian Bailey presented Gov. Mike Pence's budget to the state budget committee Thursday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants the 2015 meeting of the General Assembly to be an “education session,” and the budget Pence proposed Thursday shares that focus.

The proposal contains a $200 million increase in K-12 school funding over the next two years. That includes about $41 million more specifically set aside for charter schools. 

Office of Management and Budget Director Chris Atkins says that money would be used to increase per-pupil funding by $1,500 and would reduce inequity between funding of charters and traditional public schools.

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Politics & Government
5:21 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Agreement Nullifies Law Restricting Indiana Abortion Clinic

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Betty Cockrum.
Credit Courtesy / PPINK

A federal judge has signed off on an agreement reached between lawyers representing the state and Planned Parenthood of Indiana that nullifies a 2013 state law.

Ultimately, the law requiring a Lafayette abortion clinic to have the same facilities as those that perform surgical abortions never went into effect at all.

Almost as soon as the law was passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013, a challenge to it was filed in court and a judge barred the law from taking effect, pending an appeal.

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2015 Session
3:25 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Senate Democrats Push for Minimum Wage Hike in 2015

Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane spoke to the press Wednesday about the Democrats' agenda in 2015.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Senate Democrats say a budget session is all about prioritizing – and their priority is to help working class Hoosiers.

The top item on the Senate Democrats’ agenda is what they call “giving Hoosier families a raise.”  Portage Senator Karen Tallian says that begins with increasing the state’s minimum wage. 

She notes 29 states have a higher minimum wage than Indiana.

“If you work 40 hours a week, you should not be below the federal poverty level,” Tallian said. “Indiana has a household income problem.”

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Transportation
5:25 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Pence Urges Lawmakers to Release Road Money

Gov. Mike Pence has asked the State Budget Committee to release the rest of the Major Moves 2020 money.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he wants the State Budget Committee to release the second half of the Major Moves 2020 fund.  That would amount to $200 million dollars for road projects.

Two years ago, lawmakers put aside $400 million into what they called the Major Moves 2020 fund.  It was meant for long-term, future projects.  Pence last year secured the release of half of the fund to add lanes to major interstates.  The governor Tuesday announced he will ask the State Budget Committee to approve the transfer of the remaining 200 million.  He says it will be used for capacity building.

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Election 2015
4:00 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Henry Will Seek a Third Term as Mayor

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is expected to announce his candidacy for a third term on Tuesday.
Credit Courtesy / City of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is expected to announce a run for a third term this week.

Allen County Democrats sent out a news release via Twitter Sunday saying Henry would announce his candidacy Tuesday morning at the Bergstaff Place.

Henry took over the office from former Democratic Mayor Graham Richard in 2008.

Before his time in the executive branch, Henry served two decades on Fort Wayne’s City Council.

He isn’t the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring for 2015, however.

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Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

First Lady Weighs in on the Family Impact of a Possible Mike Pence Presidential Run

Indiana First Lady Karen Pence.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

A recent book detailing Mitch Daniels’ near-presidential campaign makes it clear that Cheri Daniels and their kids were the biggest factor in the former governor opting against a run for the White House.  As speculation swirls about a potential Mike Pence presidential run, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith talked to Indiana First Lady Karen Pence about what she thinks about the issue.

Hoosier First Lady Karen Pence says the struggles of being a family in politics are something she thinks about. 

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