Politics & Government

Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Bill Barring Abortion for Fetal Gender, Disability Draws Fire

Indiana Sen. Liz Brown authored a bill barring women from having abortions due to issues with gender or genetic disabilities in the fetus.
Credit Courtesy / Liz Brown

Opponents of a bill barring women from having abortions because of the child’s gender or disability say it will restrict a woman’s right to choose.

The proposed legislation, authored by Fort Wayne Republican Senator Liz Brown, prohibits abortions done because of the child’s gender or if they have a genetic disability such as Down syndrome. 

Supporters say the measure helps women know they have options beyond abortion and that a child being diagnosed with a disability is not a death sentence. 

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Gaming Amendments Lower Casino Taxes, Change Local Agreements

Possible changes to gaming legislation in the General Assembly could mean financial losses for communities hosting Indiana casinos.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Local communities with casinos could face significant financial losses under changes made Thursday in the House Ways and Means Committee to gaming industry legislation.

Communities where casinos are located currently get four pots of money because of those facilities: dollars from the admittance tax and the wagering tax, money from the state to supplement previous losses in the admittance tax, and money from what are called local development agreements, or LDAs -- essentially, side contracts with the casinos themselves. 

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Politics & Government
4:44 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

House Bill Would Eliminate Common Construction Wage

Leaders from Indiana’s construction industry spent more than four hours Tuesday debating a bill that would eliminate the state’s common construction wage.

The common construction wage is a sort of minimum wage for public construction projects.  It’s set for each individual project by a local wage board. 

Carmel Republican Representative Jerry Torr’s bill would end the 80-year-old system.  He says the common construction wage inhibits competition and artificially inflates wages. 

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Senate Passes Bill Changing Ed Board Appointment Process

Ind. Sen. Travis Holdman authored Senate Bill 1, which reorganizes how the State Board of Education is appointed.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate passed their version of a bill Tuesday to change how the State Board of Education is constructed.

Senate Bill 1 allows the members of the State Board of Education to select a board chair from within their ranks.

Right now, the state superintendent automatically assumes that position. But the General Assembly has taken it upon itself to change this, following months of strained relations among the board, current superintendent Glenda Ritz and Governor Mike Pence.

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Politics & Government
10:33 am
Tue February 17, 2015

GOP Leaders Highlight Education in New State Budget

Indiana House Ways & Means Chair Tim Brown says education spending is a top priority in the GOP's new budget, released Monday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Republican budget architect Tim Brown says his caucus’ proposed budget will include more money spent on education than ever before in state history.  The House GOP’s budget proposal was unveiled Monday.

House Republican leaders have said for months that education was their top priority this session and that they planned a significant increase in funding for K through 12 schools. 

To that end, House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown says, under the House GOP budget, schools would get $469 million more over the next two years than they did in the last state budget.

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Politics & Government
9:52 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Simplified Tax Code Bill Headed for a House Vote

Indiana Rep. Todd Huston sponsored a bill and several amendments aimed at simplifying the state's tax code.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A measure aimed at simplifying the state’s tax code is on its way to the House floor.  But the version committee members passed doesn’t include as many changes as Governor Mike Pence was pushing for.

Pence’s proposed tax bill, sponsored by Fishers Republican Representative Todd Huston, aims to simplify the tax code by, in part, eliminating more than two dozen tax credits. It also included a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses. 

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Gaming Bill Could Pull Hoosier Casinos Onto Dry Land

New legislation in the Indiana House would allow live dealers at Hoosier racinos and allow riverboat casinos to move onto land.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A bill designed to help Indiana casinos struggling from declining revenues is moving forward despite the objections of some in the gaming community.  A House committee approved the measure Thursday, the first step towards passage.

Indiana’s gaming revenues have been in steady decline for some time, worsened in recent years by increased competition in neighboring states. 

Proposed legislation would allow racetrack casinos to add a limited number of table games with live dealers, while the state’s riverboats would be permitted to move inland on their existing footprint. 

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Politics & Government
3:37 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Listen: Henry Delivers 2015 State of the City Address

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry delivered his 2015 State of the City address Wednesday at the Grand Wayne Center.
Credit Sean Bueter / WBOI News

On Wednesdsay, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry gave his 2015 State of the City address to a room full of city officials, residents, and media.

The second-term mayor took the opportunity to applaud the momentum he says the city has gained in recent years, touching on everything from riverfront and downtown development to infrastructure and crime.

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Politics & Government
4:27 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

House Committee Approves Stricter Ethics Rules for Lawmakers

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma discussed his ethics bill Tuesday. The bill passed out of committee unanimously.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A House committee Tuesday unanimously approved a bill creating what Speaker Brian Bosma calls the first major ethics code revision in at least 20 years.  The bill comes in the wake of several ethics scandals over the last year.

Bosma says the Statehouse culture has not been one of corruption, but there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the potential appearance of conflicts of interest.  He says the ethics reform bill’s goal is to increase transparency in an effort to reaffirm the public’s trust. 

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Politics & Government
1:54 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

High-Fenced Hunting Measure Gets Changed, Passes Committee

Shelbyville Rep. Sean Eberhart says Monday's change to his bill could be the key to its passage.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A House committee Monday made a major change to legislation allowing high-fenced deer hunting preserves to continue operating in Indiana. The committee also passed the bill.

Debate over the existence of high-fenced deer hunting preserves goes back a decade, including an ongoing legal battle over the issue.  Previous attempts to pass legislation allowing and regulating the preserves ended with those measures dying each year in the Senate. 

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