Politics & Government

Politics & Government
4:59 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

House Kills Sunday Sales Bill, Both Sides Blame Each Other

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers has been fighting against lifting the ban on Sunday sales. A bill aimed at doing so died in the House on Tuesday.

Businesses on either side of legislation legalizing Sunday alcohol sales are blaming each other after the bill died in the House Tuesday.  The bill’s author pulled the measure after he said he couldn’t garner enough votes to pass it.

The battle lines in the Sunday sales debate had been unchanged for years: on one side, pushing for Sunday sales, were grocery and convenience stores, led by their lobbying arm, the Indiana Retail Council.  Opposing Sunday sales were the state’s package liquor stores, represented by the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. 

Read more
Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

House Passes 2015 Indiana Budget Bill

Indiana Rep. Tim Brown authored the House Republican budget bill.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

House Democrats say the state budget proposed by House Republicans will devastate many public schools throughout the state.  The budget passed overwhelmingly in a House vote Tuesday.

House Republicans named education their top focus this session, and the bulk of debate over the budget revolves around education funding. 

Specifically, it involves changes to the school funding formula that seek to help growing, wealthier suburban school districts.  But those changes would mean significantly less money for poor, inner city schools that are losing students. 

Read more
Politics & Government
3:38 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Freedom Indiana Comes Out Against Proposed Religious Freedom Amendment

The organization behind last year’s successful fight against Indiana’s proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage is back at the Statehouse this year.  The group’s target is a bill that allows people to use religious reasons to challenge state and local laws.

Some of the group that made up last year’s Freedom Indiana coalition, including manufacturer Cummins, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the ACLU, have already spoken out against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. 

Read more
Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Pence Push for Sales Tax Exemption Falls Flat

Gov. Mike Pence says he's still hoping lawmakers will consider some of his sales tax exemptions, some of which are considered too drastic by legislators of both parties.
Credit File

Governor Mike Pence says he still hopes to alter a major sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses after House lawmakers stripped out a change to the exemption from the governor’s tax legislation.

One of the biggest pieces of Governor Pence’s tax simplification bill was the elimination of what’s called the “double direct” test for determining business sales tax exemptions.  The double direct test is a very specific metric for determining what items are exempt from the sales tax. 

Read more
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. 

Read more
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. 

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more

Pages