Politics & Government

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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Politics & Government
5:44 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Bosma, Long say Pence Tax Proposal Could Be Too Costly

Ind. House Speaker Brian Bosma says a change to a sales tax provision proposed by Gov. Pence could be too expensive at a time when the legislature is trying to invest in education.
Credit File

Republican legislative leaders say the potential price tag of one aspect of Governor Mike Pence’s tax simplification proposal could be too costly to support.

Among the many provisions of Pence’s bill is a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses. 

Initial estimates by the governor’s administration put the cost around $35 million. But LSA, the legislature’s bipartisan research agency, calculates a revenue loss of anywhere between $130 million and $240 million per year. 

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Opinion - Politics
4:51 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

A Primer on the Education Session

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

This is a long session of the Indiana General Assembly, which means legislators are crafting the two-year budget for the state.  As I have written before, this is the issue that will dominate the session and the only thing they must get done, but there will be other issues that get discussed. 

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Education
2:03 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Democratic Chairman Calls for End to "Overreach" on Ritz Legislation

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody says proposed legislation reducing Superintendent Glenda Ritz's powers are politically-motivated.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody says Republicans need to halt their partisan attacks on State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

There are multiple bills this session that shift power away from Glenda Ritz’s office to the GOP-controlled State Board of Education. 

That includes a proposal to allow the State Board to elect its own chair, a position currently filled automatically by the Superintendent. 

State Democratic Party Chair John Zody says the measures are an attempt to silence the 1.3 million Hoosiers who voted Ritz into office in 2012.

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Politics & Government
4:38 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

New Proposal Would Limit State Agency Rulemaking

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A House committee Tuesday approved legislation that opponents say will prevent state agencies from enacting much-needed protections.  But proponents argue it will help ensure agencies don’t overstep their rulemaking authority.

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Pence Scraps State-Run News Service

Gov. Mike Pence sent a memo to state agency heads Thursday announcing his cancellation of plans for the "Just IN" news service.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence says he’s canceling plans for a controversial state-run news service.

The announcement came in a memo Pence sent to state agency heads Thursday that he was killing the program, called “Just IN.”

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Politics & Government
10:34 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Interview: Andy Downs on Pence Administration's Proposed News Service

Andrew Downs is executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.
Credit Courtesy / Andrew Downs

The Associated Press broke the news this week that Governor Mike Pence’s administration was planning to launch a state-run news service that would pitch stories to the press and the public.

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Lawmakers Ready to Settle Debate on High-Fenced Hunting Preserves

Advocates for high-fenced deer hunting preserves want lawmakers to finally end the debate over their existence in a battle that goes back a decade.  A House committee heard testimony on the bill Monday.

Legislation to legalize and regulate high-fenced deer hunting preserves has failed in past sessions.  But Shelbyville Republican Representative Sean Eberhart, the bill’s author, is more hopeful for success after a summer study committee recommended its passage. 

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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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