Politics & Government

Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Leaders Find Optimism in Latest Revenue Forecast

Thursday's revenue forecast is the last before legislators convene for the 2015 budget session.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

State leaders say they’re cautiously optimistic about Indiana’s fiscal future after a new revenue forecast unveiled Thursday predicts two to three percent growth in the next budget cycle.

That growth would mean more than $800 million in new money over the next two years. 

But Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says even that kind of increase shouldn’t start a spending frenzy.  He notes that even before the forecast he’s been receiving budget requests that total almost double that amount.

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Politics & Government
2:15 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

For Possible Candidates, Deciding Whether to Run for Office Can Be Tricky

Gov. Mike Pence has been rumored to be considering a presidential run for years.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s announcement this week that he is actively exploring a presidential bid is causing ripple effects as the 2016 electoral picture begins taking shape.  And an Indiana political strategist has a message for potential presidential candidates: if you’re going to run, run.

Pete Seat is a former spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party, Senator Dan Coats and the Bush administration. 

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Transportation
5:26 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

General Assembly Unlikely to Raise Road Funding Next Year

Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The Indiana Department of Transportation says the cost of maintaining Indiana’s roads is substantial and growing, while the revenue streams used to pay for those repairs are decreasing.  Yet, the legislature will likely be unable address that issue in its next budget.

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Courts
4:53 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Court Hears Arguments in Former Secretary of State's Appeal

Former Secretary of State Charlie White is appealing his 2012 voter fraud conviction. The Indiana Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday.
Credit File

An attorney for former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White says state law was misapplied when White was convicted in 2012 of six criminal counts stemming from voter fraud.  Arguments in the case took place Tuesday before the state Court of Appeals.

White’s appeal included several arguments – the jury wasn’t properly instructed, selective prosecution, his attorney at the time – Carl Brizzi – was ineffective. 

But when pressed by the Appeals Court judges for the strongest argument, White’s current attorney Andrea Ciobanu says it’s misapplication of the law. 

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Congress
2:55 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Senate Bill Aims to Reduce Suicide in the Military

Sen. Joe Donnelly authored a bill aimed at preventing military suicides that he expects to pass the Senate soon.
Credit File

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says legislation nearing passage will be an enormous help in preventing suicide among military service members.  More than 3,000 active-duty soldiers have taken their lives since 2001.

The rate of suicide among National Guard members has grown more than any other military branch in the last five years.  That’s why legislation Donnelly authored requires annual mental health assessments for all servicemembers – including members of the National Guard and reservists. 

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Politics & Government
12:49 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Groups Fight to Reduce Hoosier Smoking in 2015

Indiana Chamber of Commerce CEO Kevin Brinegar wants legislators to repeal the state's Smoker's Bill of Rights in 2015.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Chamber of Commerce

American Cancer Society officials say Indiana lawmakers should explore ways to help incentivize Hoosiers to quit smoking, a position reflected in the group’s 2015 legislative priorities.

Apart from health advocacy organizations like the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, groups such as the Indiana Chamber of Commerce are part of the fight to reduce smoking.  For two years, one of the group’s legislative priorities has been eliminating the Smoker’s Bill of Rights.

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Politics & Government
12:30 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Environmental Group Concerned New Energy Plan Isn't Enough

Environmental groups say they’re concerned the legislature will create a watered-down statewide energy efficiency program to replace the program eliminated earlier this year.

Lawmakers voted last session to eliminate the program known as Energizing Indiana amid concerns about its rising costs.  Governor Mike Pence pledged to bring legislators a new energy efficiency proposal in the upcoming session, one crafted by the Utility Regulatory Commission. 

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Opinion - Politics
3:54 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

What to Expect from the Indiana General Assembly in 2015

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

Election Day was November 4th and the members of the Indiana General Assembly got together on November 18th for Organization Day.  Organization Day is the third Tuesday following the first Monday in November.  This is the day that legislators take their oaths of office and in the days after that, the leaders announce committee assignments and who would be chairing those committees. 

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Politics & Government
4:45 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

After Kassig's Death, U.S. Reviewing Hostage Policy

Former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton says current U.S. hostage policy makes sense, but could use some updating.
Credit File

As Hoosiers mourn the loss of Indianapolis-native Abdul-Rahman Kassig, the United States is considering changes to its hostage policy, and a former Indiana congressman says that could include strengthened military action to rescue Americans being held captive.

The White House revealed this week President Obama called for a full review of the country’s current hostage policy earlier this year.

The administration says that review will not include changes to the longstanding U.S. policy of not paying ransom.

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Politics & Government
1:57 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Big Tax Cuts Won't Be on the 2015 Agenda

Indiana Senate president pro-tem, David Long.
Credit File

Legislative leaders say Hoosiers shouldn’t expect more big tax cuts or changes in the upcoming session. 

In the last 15 years, the General Assembly has enacted major cuts to property taxes, individual and corporate income taxes, financial institutions taxes, business personal property taxes, and eliminated the inheritance tax. 

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, echoing the comments of all four legislative caucus leaders, says it’s time to take a breath.

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