Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

Advocates for redistricting reform had a message for lawmakers today at the Statehouse: “We’re not going anywhere.”

About 30 people, including representatives from six different advocacy groups, gathered to protest the collapse of redistricting reform efforts this session.

Crafted after a two years of study, House Bill 1014 had overwhelming support from those who attended an Elections Committee hearing, but Committee Chairman Milo Smith didn’t call it for a vote.

Note: This story was updated at 11 p.m. February 22, 2017. 

The federal government is welcoming public comment on an application to renew Indiana’s Medicaid program until March 17. The program needs federal approval to continue because its design is an experiment: Unlike Medicaid expansions in other states, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, requires members to make monthly payments. Now Indiana has to argue that the experiment is working.

Felony Arrestee DNA Bill Clears House

Feb 21, 2017

House lawmakers sent a bill to the Senate that allows law enforcement to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville), the measure’s author, says the bill “identifies the guilty” and “exonerates the innocent.”

The samples would be compared to others in a national database, helping, Steuerwald says, link people to past crimes.

“It can only be used for criminal identification. That is it. It is not online; it is not open to the public,” Steuerwald says.


The House passed legislation to allow people protected by restraining orders to carry a handgun without a license for up to 60 days.

The vote came after an hour of passionate, sometimes emotional debate on the House floor.

Proponents – including Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) – say the measure ensures the government doesn’t stand in the way of victims of domestic violence protecting themselves.

House Approves Changes To Indiana's Gaming Tax System

Feb 21, 2017


The House approved legislation that its author says “modernizes” Indiana’s gaming tax structure.

Rep. Todd Huston’s (R-Fishers) legislation would impose a new tax on casinos – a 3 percent levy on their gaming revenue. It would replace the admissions tax, which Huston’s bill would eliminate.

“As you step on a riverboat casino you are charged $3. This antiquated way of charging that tax has stood in the way of progress for much too long,” Huston says.

Abortion Bill Changed After Returning To Committee

Feb 21, 2017


A House committee altered and then approved an abortion regulation bill after the unusual step of sending the bill from the House floor back to the committee.

The bill mandates doctors tell patients their medication-induced abortions could be reversed. It also mandates doctors tell patients that no scientifically valid studies verify that practice.

Lawmaker Seeks More Prayer In School

Feb 21, 2017

Could more prayer in school be a cure for societal ills?

Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, says it can. His legislation, House Bill 1024, would prevent discrimination of students who pray in school or express their religious beliefs, such as through clothing, jewelry or writing.

ISTEP Replacement Bill Clears House

Feb 20, 2017

The Indiana House passed legislation Monday to replace the ISTEP exam starting in the 2018-19 school year.

House Bill 1003 was approved in a 67-31 vote. It offers the basic framework for a new exam called I-LEARN. That stands for Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network.

House Rejects Study Committee Amendment To Gun Bill

Feb 20, 2017


House lawmakers rejected an attempt to push a gun regulations bill to a summer study committee.

The bill would allow people protected by a restraining order to carry a handgun without a license for up to 60 days. Proponents say it’s about helping women in domestic violence situations.

This week Indiana lawmakers had some frank discussions on education matters. Here are the highlights:

House Budget Proposal Eliminates Teacher Bonus Program

Senate Kills Bill To Appoint State Superintendent

Feb 20, 2017

Republican and Democratic senators voted down a bill Monday that would have changed the Superintendent of Public Instruction from an elected position to an appointed one.

This session, both the House and Senate sponsored bills to make the state’s highest education official an appointed position, and Monday, the Senate voted down its version of the bill, with 17 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in voting against it. The final vote was 23-26.

Baby Box Legalization Effort Advances In Senate

Feb 20, 2017


A Senate panel advanced a bill that sanctions the use of baby boxes in hospitals just one week after the same language couldn’t get enough support for a vote.

Indiana has two existing baby boxes, both in firehouses. The boxes are meant to be a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn. The Department of Child Services, DCS, has questioned their legality.

Gov. Eric Holcomb made his first visit as governor to East Chicago Friday to meet with residents and community leaders in the lead-contaminated community.

Redistricting Reform Likely Dead This Session

Feb 17, 2017


An effort to reform Indiana’s redistricting process is likely dead this session.

Despite overwhelming support from those who attended a House Elections Committee hearing, committee chair Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus) wouldn’t take a vote on the redistricting reform bill.