Politics & Government

Courts
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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Courts
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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SCOTUS
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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SCOTUS
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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Taxes
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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SCOTUS
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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SCOTUS
3:55 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Obamacare Subsidies

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Obamacare's federal subsidies Thursday.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Hoosiers who receive tax subsidies to reduce the cost of their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act say they’re celebrating after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling protecting those subsidies.

Nearly 160,000 Hoosiers have subsidies that reduce the cost of their insurance by an average of $320 per month. 

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SCOTUS
2:28 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Interview: NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent, Nina Totenberg.
Credit NPR / Doby Photography

Nina Totenberg has a lot of superlatives to her name.

As NPR's Legal Affairs Correspondent, she's a built a career as a legendary journalist, with a voice and style all her own. She's won countless awards for her work covering the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. And she’s one of NPR’s "Founding Mothers," the group of female reporters who shaped the network from its earliest days.

One thing she's not: a fortune-teller.

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Transportation
6:49 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

DOJ Finds Hoosier Amtrak Stations Not ADA Compliant

The DOJ found none of Indiana's 11 Amtrak stations are ADA compliant
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A Department of Justice investigation found that many of Amtrak’s facilities across the country don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including all 11 Indiana stations.

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services, the state’s disability advocacy agency, is one of several organizations around the country that filed complaints against Amtrak with the Department of Justice. 

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