Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young say they’re working to continue Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as they try to spread his message of love and unity.

Attendance at the annual event to celebrate Dr. King’s life was perhaps a bit dampened by adverse weather outside. But speakers inside the Statehouse said that didn’t diminish the importance of their message. Sen. Young (R-Ind.) borrowed what he calls one of his favorite King phrases, saying we should all be “custodians of hope.”

Indiana’s tax collections slightly exceeded expectations in December – the first time that’s happened this fiscal year.

AG Hill Appeals ICE Detainer Decision

Jan 11, 2018

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed an appeal in a case involving a man who was detained at the request of immigration officials.

Immigration detainers are placed on people arrested on local criminal charges. A policy established in Marion County last year prohibits detainer requests from immigration customs or ICE for suspected undocumented immigrants with minor offenses.

School Principals Share Concerns On New Grad Pathways

Jan 11, 2018

School principals are concerned about the state’s plan to change high school graduation pathway requirements. Some say it lacks important details on how schools can bring that plan to life.

The Senate Committee on Family and Children Services approved a bill to lift a lifetime ban on federally-funded food assistance for certain drug offenders. Indiana is one of four states still blocking that federal assistance.

Senate Bill 11 would open SNAP benefits to drug offenders, as long as they complete their parole and probation requirements as specified by the court.

The Senate education committee heard testimony on a bill to mandate schools teach computer science. It mandates computer science curriculum in elementary and middle school. It also requires it as an elective in high school, and it earmarks money for teacher training.

Technology companies, interest groups and computer science teachers supported Senate Bill 172 – including Brown County teacher Jacob Koressel.

State Board Approves School Grading System Proposal

Jan 10, 2018

Significant changes are in store for the state’s school grading system, but the State Board of Education had trouble finding a starting point at its first meeting of 2018.

The State Department of Education worked on a new education plan last year due to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. That included possible changes to the way Indiana grades schools, but at their monthly meeting Wednesday, the Board of Education approved a plan with some key differences.

 

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush told lawmakers Wednesday in her State of the Judiciary address the state’s court system is prepared to meet the challenges it faces – chief among them the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Rush says she asked legislative leaders for input when preparing her speech. And she says the common theme was the court’s response to the drug crisis.

The House Public Policy Committee took its first steps Wednesday in this session’s debate over Sunday alcohol carryout sales.

The committee heard close to an hour of testimony on a bill to legalize Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m.

None of the 10 people who testified opposed the measure on its face. The Coalition To Reduce Underage Drinking, represented by director Lisa Hutcheson, does want a study on the impact of Sunday sales on underage drinking.

Gov. Eric Holcomb sought in his State of the State to reassure Hoosiers his administration will do “whatever it takes” to fix problems at the Department of Child Services.

But Democratic legislative leaders say Holcomb’s address lacked boldness and leadership, particularly when it comes to the ongoing DCS crisis.

Veterans Legislative Day Highlights Priorities

Jan 9, 2018

Hoosier veterans gathered at the Statehouse to meet lawmakers and talk about their priority issues. This was the fourth annual veterans legislative day.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, also a veteran, addressed more than 100 gathered in at the statehouse.

“No state has answered the call the way that Indiana has,” says Holcomb.

Hoosier veterans, including VFW State Senior Vice Commander Eric Billman, asked lawmakers to restore more veteran benefits, including tax breaks.

Military veterans won’t have certain financial resources considered when applying for tuition aid under legislation advanced Tuesday.

Ivy Tech Community College’s new strategic plan calls for more than doubling the number of degrees earned by students in the next five years.

Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann wants to boost certifications, certificates and degrees awarded statewide from about 21,000 to 50,000 annually by 2023.

She also wants to grow enrollment by more than 25 percent in the next five years from about 94,000 students to nearly 120,000 students.

To help reach that goal, the college is improving academic advising and offering eight-week classes to help recruit and retain students.

Lawmakers will consider legislation this session, that would create a type of early warning system to to help identify schools facing significant financial problems.

The state took over Gary and Muncie Community Schools last year after their finances reached crisis levels. Now, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) has filed legislation to prevent more major state takeovers by catching financial problems early. He says it’s a way the state could step in to help before it’s too late.

Republican Senate Leaders Outline 2018 Priorities

Jan 8, 2018

Senate Republican leaders outlined their 2018 priorities Monday. Those priorities include Sunday alcohol sales, the roll-out of mandated prescription monitoring to prevent opioid abuse, workforce development, and the regulation of property seizure.

Also included in those priorities is a bill to cover a school funding gap, by allowing the State Budget Agency to transfer reserve money.

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