Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act mandates how states’ hold their schools accountable.

This fall the Indiana Department of Education will submit its plan as required by the law for how to will improve graduation rates, increase English-language proficiency and offer help to the lowest-performing schools – among many other issues.

This Week At The Statehouse: Education Spending, ISTEP+

Apr 7, 2017

Amid uncertainty over the future of many education issues in Indiana, lawmakers were busy at the Statehouse this week.

Lawmakers in the House chambers dove into a controversy around “sanctuary campuses.” The Senate finished the week by placing its stamp on the House budget and two of the session’s most controversial proposals: an appointed superintendent and ISTEP replacement.

Senate Budget Increases Education Spending By 3 Percent

Dozens of families are still living in East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex, a week after the city had wanted everyone moved out.

In late March, the East Chicago Housing Authority assigned remaining West Calumet residents to temporary public housing units elsewhere in the city, as well as in Gary and Chicago.

Local officials say their piece of the road funding pie needs to be a lot bigger after a significant decrease in the Senate plan. The Senate proposal cut local funding by more than two-thirds from the House version.

And while local officials obviously aren’t happy with the funding decrease in the Senate roads bill, there are other provisions they’d also like to see changed.

 

Indiana’s total collected revenue last month was 0.02 percent above projections – putting the state about $170 million ahead of target through nine months of the current fiscal year.

Last month saw the fourth consecutive month of better-than-predicted sales tax collections – that comes after a 10-month streak of poor performances.

 

It’s just after 7:30 a.m in Andy Slater’s ninth grade science class. Students sit on their chairs in a circle – they play a few quick word games where they ask each other basic questions.

But there’s one catch.

“Come on in English, in Inglés,” Slater says.

Slowly the chatter in Spanish, Swahili and other languages dies down.  Then one student standing in the middle of the circle slowly says: “Big wind blows if you like school.”

Students jump up to move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs.

 

Legislation allowing police to collect DNA samples from anyone they arrest for a felony took a step closer to becoming law.

Backers of the legislation say DNA collection will help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

Under the bill, if a person is arrested but not charged within one year, the DNA record can be expunged. The same is true if charges are dismissed or the person is acquitted.

 

The controversy over Ricker’s convenience stores’ ability to sell cold beer and hard alcohol grew more contentious as the House killed a bill that would’ve let Ricker’s keep its permits.

At issue are restaurant permits Ricker’s was able to secure at two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – previously, the sole right of liquor stores and restaurants.

The vast majority of House lawmakers approved a bill to legalize baby boxes in hospitals – over the objections of the Department of Child Services.

The measure now also sanctions the state’s two existing boxes.

Baby boxes are intended to provide mothers with more anonymity when dropping off newborns. Current law gives people immunity from child abandonment charges only if the baby is delivered to another person.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) says the reality is that some mothers aren’t willing to face another person when dropping off their newborn.

Senate Advances Budget To Conference Committee

Apr 6, 2017

The Senate approved its version of a new two-year state budget 39-9 Thursday.

Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), the budget’s author, praised the bill for not increasing taxes, funding the fight against Indiana’s drug epidemic, and focusing on education issues.

But many Democrats took issue with that last point, including Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), who says the Republican plan doesn’t fund education enough.

Airbnb, Short-term Rentals Bill Passes Senate

Apr 6, 2017

The Senate approved a measure 27-20 Thursday that stops local governments from banning short-term rentals, such as Airbnb.

The legislation establishes guidelines for short-term rentals, including a ban on renting more than 30 days in a row and 180 days total in a year. But it prohibits barring short-term rentals outright.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), who opposes the bill, says it undoes 50 years of zoning ordinances and risks the commercialization of residential neighborhoods.

Telemedicine Bill Poised To Expand Services

Apr 6, 2017

A bill expanding coverage of and access to telemedicine passed the Senate this week. The measure will cover Hoosiers on Medicaid who get healthcare through telemedicine practices like videoconferences and electronic communications.

Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer authored the proposal and says the expansion includes addiction and behavioral health treatment that often requires extensive services.

“You have the management of the other wrap-around services to lift you up as you are going through your treatment program,” says Kirchhofer.

Purdue University researchers are releasing new findings about how Indiana counties regulate big livestock farms, in hopes of determining what rules work best to help farmers get along with their neighbors.

Paul Ebner’s team at Purdue has spent years mapping out the wide range of zoning rules counties use to regulate confined animal feeding operations – known as CFOs – and their bigger, more concentrated counterparts, called CAFOs.

House Approves Vaping Regulations Bill

Apr 6, 2017

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill to regulate Indiana’s vaping industry, aiming to undo a monopoly created by existing law.

Indiana’s existing e-liquid law forced dozens of manufacturers to either leave the state or shut down, leaving only seven sanctioned companies.

A federal court ruling earlier this year struck down the bulk of existing regulations.

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