Politics & Government

Opinion - Politics
3:36 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Both Parties Can Agree on This

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

What is the role of government? 

Conservatives and liberals spend quite a bit of time arguing about this question.  Even when they agree on a role the government is supposed to play, they often will argue about how the government is supposed to play that role. 

While the ideological differences between the two parties can explain their varying perspectives on the role of government, the reality is that even those with the same ideology disagree on what they want government to do.  

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Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Senate Will Not Revive Pre-K Pilot Program

Indiana Democratic Senators Tim Lanane and John Broden failed to revive a preschool pilot program Monday that was previously eliminated in committee.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Senate Republicans Monday rejected an attempt to revive a preschool pilot program that had been eliminated in a Senate committee last week.

The House overwhelmingly approved legislation creating a pilot program that would provide vouchers for 1,000 low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool.  But the Senate Education Committee gutted the bill, replacing the pilot program with a study committee that will examine specific issues with pre-Kindergarten education. 

South Bend Democratic Senator John Broden wants to add the pilot program back into the bill.

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Politics & Government
12:57 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Scales Back Drug Testing Bill

Indiana Sen. Michael Young and Rep. Jud McMillin testify before a Senate committee Wednesday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A Senate committee Wednesday dramatically scaled back the scope of a bill creating a drug testing program for welfare recipients.

Brookville Republican Representative Jud McMillin’s bill originally required all welfare recipients to take a written pre-screening test meant to determine a likelihood of addiction.  Recipients who showed that likelihood were then eligible to be randomly drug-tested – with their welfare benefits potentially at risk after several failed tests. 

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Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Senate Passes Amended Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis.

The proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage known as HJR-3 survived the 2014 session but not unscathed, losing its controversial second sentence.  And it won’t be on the ballot this fall.

HJR-3’s second sentence, which banned civil unions, was removed by the House because of concerns it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits.  The Senate opted against reinserting it.  And the Senate ended debate on the issue this year Monday, passing HJR-3 32 to 17. 

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Politics & Government
9:15 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Henry Delivers 2014 State of the City Address

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
Credit Courtesy / City of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry delivered his annual State of the City address to a packed room of mostly municipal employees at the Grand Wayne Center Wednesday.

Henry used the forum to highlight some of his administration's victories in 2013 and announce new plans for this year.

His speech touched on everything from business growth to infrastructure improvements to the $71 million Ash Brokerage project coming to Downtown Fort Wayne.

Henry also acknowledged there's work to be done, especially in containing the violent crime Fort Wayne experienced in 2013.

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Politics & Government
2:13 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Senate Committee Approves HJR-3

Supporters of HJR-3 rally at the statehouse Monday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A Senate committee Monday approved HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.  The debate surrounding the measure shifted during Monday’s hearing, focusing more on the restoration of the amendment’s controversial second sentence.

The House removed HJR-3’s second sentence, which bans civil unions, after concerns were raised it could prohibit domestic partnership benefits.  Proponents of the measure, including Governor Mike Pence, are calling on the Senate to reinsert that language. 

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Politics & Government
5:30 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Blight Elimination Program Aims to Reduce Foreclosures

The State of Indiana is diverting federal money to help local communities demolish abandoned homes.  Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says the program will help stabilize neighborhoods and reduce foreclosures.

Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country, with estimates of more than 50,000 abandoned homes statewide.  The state received approval from the federal government to divert $75 million from its Hardest Hit Fund – which helps Hoosiers avoid foreclosure – for a Blight Elimination Program.

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Opinion - Politics
3:51 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Constitutional Debate Creates Teachable Moments

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

(Ed. note: This month, we're launching a series of weekly columns from contributors across the community on topics like health, politics, food and more. This is the second column in our series.)

Indiana’s education standards include requirements regarding civics and government.  But I am a realist.  I know that just because a standard exists, there is no guarantee that a student will retain information any longer than it takes to through a test, if that long.  Life has an interesting way of providing moments when those things we were required to learn, and forgot, suddenly have relevance.  The legislative process is one of those things. 

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Indiana House Passes Amended HJR-3

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The House Tuesday approved the amended version of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.

The House voted Monday to alter HJR-3, taking out the measure’s controversial second sentence banning civil unions.  That version of the amendment passed the House by a comfortable margin Tuesday, 57 to 40. 

The change also restarts the ratification process, potentially putting it on the ballot in 2016, instead of this fall. 

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says simply removing the second sentence isn’t enough:

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Politics & Government
4:06 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

House Votes to Change HJR-3

The empty chambers of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers Monday voted to remove a portion of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.  The change would also restart the ratification process.

Twenty-three Republicans joined 29 Democrats to approve an amendment offered by West Lafayette Republican Representative Randy Truitt removing HJR-3’s second sentence, a portion that banned legal statuses “substantially similar” to marriage. 

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