Politics & Government

Politics & Government
2:59 pm
Fri July 10, 2015

Nation's Lieutenant Governors Gather in Indianapolis

Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the National LG Conference is a chance to share ideas with colleagues of different political stripes.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

Lieutenant governors from around the country descended on Indiana this week for a national conference.  Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the event can be a valuable tool to share best practices and even prepare for higher office.

Ellspermann says the National Lieutenant Governors Association was the first conference she attended after taking office. 

She says its annual meetings are an important opportunity to meet with a strong group of bipartisan colleagues, sharing ideas and promoting causes.

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Politics & Government
5:01 pm
Wed July 8, 2015

Indy's Church of Cannabis Will Use RFRA in Lawsuit

Indiana’s highly-publicized First Church of Cannabis is going to court, hoping to stop the state from enforcing marijuana laws when it comes to the use of cannabis in its church services.  The church’s attorney will use the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA to help his case.

RFRA creates a legal standard that says government must have a compelling reason to restrict someone’s religious practice and do so in the least burdensome way possible. 

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Politics & Government
5:41 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Indiana Joins Lawsuit Challenging EPA Water Rule

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the EPA's new water rules intrude on state sovereignty.
Credit Courtesy / Office of the Attorney General

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Hoosier State will join a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water rule.  Zoeller says he’s concerned about the potential cost to the state’s agricultural industry.

The EPA recently finalized a rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States” – that is, which bodies of water fall under federal regulation.  The term would now include small bodies of water, including streams, ponds, and drainage ditches.  Regulating those types of small waterways has always been left up to the states. 

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5:24 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

First Lawsuit Filed Using New Religious Freedom Law

Credit Courtesy / ACLU

Indiana’s religious freedom law known as RFRA will be used for the first time in a suit challenging a new state law that bars sex offenders from churches.

A new law that went into effect Wednesday says people convicted of sex offenses against children cannot enter school property.  And ACLU-Indiana legal director Ken Falk says because that phrase “school property” is broadly written, it could mean that offenders can’t attend religious services if the church is next to a school. 

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1:50 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Synthetic Drug Law Challenged in State Supreme Court

The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on the state's synthetic drug law, which the state says helps it keep up with manufacturers making drugs like bath salts.
Credit Courtesy / Drug Enforcement Administration

The state Supreme Court Thursday heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s law banning synthetic drugs.  The suit involves powers given to the Board of Pharmacy to create emergency rules.

Lawmakers in 2012 gave the Board of Pharmacy rulemaking authority to add more synthetic drugs to the list of banned substances, in the hopes of keeping up with synthetic drug manufacturers.  Two men charged with dealing synthetic drugs challenged the law. 

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Opinion - Politics
4:08 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Is Pence’s Reelection Bid in Trouble?

Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

In June, Bellwether Research and Consulting released a poll examining Hoosiers' views of Gov. Mike Pence and some of his possible opponents in 2016.  The immediate reaction was that the reelection bid by Indiana Governor Mike Pence was in trouble. 

There were reasons to think this:

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2:09 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

SCOTUS Decision Leaves Door Open for Hoosier Redistricting Reform

Indiana's current congressional districts, drawn after the 2010 census.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that an independent redistricting commission in Arizona is, in fact, legal.

The decision opens the door for other states to explore such commissions in an effort to fight gerrymandering. (For a great explanation of gerrymandering, check out this Washington Post article from March.)

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly decided to create a study committee on the issue of redistricting reform.

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5:10 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Defends Independent Redistricting Commissions

Monday's Supreme Court ruling keeps the door open for non-partisan state redistricting commissions.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Election Division

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld the constitutionality of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona, a system that keeps the redrawing of legislative maps out of the legislature’s hands.  That decision could have a major impact on Indiana as lawmakers prepare to examine ways to take some of the politics out of electoral redistricting.

Indiana legislative leaders – both Republican and Democrat – who’ve long supported redistricting reform overcame a major hurdle this year by gaining support for a redistricting study committee. 

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4:54 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Tax Amnesty Program Will Start in September

During the state's first tax amnesty period in 2005, Indiana collected about $244 million.
Credit Flickr User / Tracy O

Hoosier businesses and individuals who owe back taxes to the state will have an opportunity to pay what they owe, without a penalty, this fall.  The governor Monday announced a start date for the state’s tax amnesty program.

Indiana conducted its first tax amnesty program in 2005, collecting about $244 million in back taxes.  Those who participated in that program will be ineligible to take advantage of a new tax amnesty window, open from September 15 to November 16. 

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5:07 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

Fort Wayne's Same-Sex Couples Celebrate Marriage Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Same-sex couples in Fort Wayne are celebrating Friday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states.

The 5-4 decision by the Court requires that all states license and recognize same-sex unions. Before the decision, only about two-thirds of states allowed those couples to marry.

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