Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

Reworked Net Metering Bill Passes Senate Committee

Feb 16, 2017

The Senate Utilities committee passed a bill that would overhaul an alternative energy practice known as “net metering” by a vote of 8-2 on Thursday.

Net metering currently allows people, businesses and schools with solar panels, or other alternate energy generation sources, to sell excess energy back to utilities at the retail rate. Originally, the bill, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), would’ve allowed utilities to reimburse those people at the lower, wholesale rate.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will visit East Chicago on Friday to discuss his disaster declaration for the city’s ongoing lead contamination crisis.

Meanwhile, lawyers for residents being displaced by the contamination say the order doesn’t properly address the biggest concerns.

House Approves Tax-Raising Road Funding Bill

Feb 16, 2017

 

The House approved comprehensive road funding legislation that raises fuel taxes and opens the door to tolling Indiana interstate highways.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the House GOP’s road funding plan follows a simple philosophy: the user pays.

“And those that use the asset more, pay more. Those who use the asset less, pay less,” Bosma says.

Committee Chair Blocks Vote On Redistricting Reform

Feb 15, 2017

The House Elections Committee chairman denied his committee a vote on comprehensive redistricting reform legislation. And he won’t guarantee a vote on the bill this session.

Deep divisions between the House and Senate are emerging over how to make road funding and the state budget work together.

Last week, House Republicans changed their road funding plan, House Bill 1002, to immediately shift all sales tax on gasoline to pay for roads. That opens up a $600 million hole in the General Fund.

House Budget Proposal Eliminates Teacher Bonus Program

Feb 15, 2017

The Indiana House of Representatives revealed its first draft of the state budget for the next two years Wednesday, which eliminates the teacher bonus program and re-invests that money into general K-12 spending.

An Indiana House committee approved a bill Wednesday that tweaks the permitting process for big livestock farms – despite some public confusion and concerns about the impact of the changes.

The bill, from Rep. David Wolkins (R-Wabash), streamlines the permitting process for confined feeding operations (CFOs) and their larger counterparts, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

 

A House committee approved a bill that requires doctors to tell patients their medication-induced abortions could be reversed.

The committee also changed the bill to, as one lawmaker put it, “balance out” that language.

In testimony on the measure last week, doctors were split on the reversal of medication-induced abortions. Some supported it, citing individual cases. Others said no scientifically valid studies support those claims.

Matt Chaney / https://www.flickr.com/photos/vcucns/

Just days after a federal judge shut down a $54 billion merger between health insurers Anthem and Cigna on anti-competitive grounds, a Valentine’s Day move by Connecticut’s Cigna seeks to dump the Indianapolis-based company once and for all.

 

Airbnb Bill Passes House On Second Attempt

Feb 14, 2017

Lawmakers approved the so-called “Airbnb bill,” which bars local governments from banning short-term rentals, on its second attempt at passage in the House.

Some Indiana communities have sought to ban residents from renting out their homes, like through the website Airbnb. Rep. Matt Lehman’s (R-Berne) bill would prevent that, with some guidelines: for instance, people couldn’t rent out their homes for more than 180 days total in a year.

Bonuses Inconsistent With Teacher Performance Statewide

Feb 14, 2017

 

Heather Peacock is part of a family of educators.

“Both my sister and sister-in-law are teachers,” she says.

The three of them teach in different school districts in the Indianapolis area: Zionsville, Perry Township, and Wayne Township, where Peacock works. Right before the holidays, they all received their state-issued bonuses for being good teachers.

 

The Senate voted to override former Gov. Mike Pence’s final two vetoes.

One of the bills deals with private university police department records. The 2016 legislation would make some of these subject to public records requests – similar to any other police department in the state.

Bill sponsor Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) says it also shields some records from the public.

Millions of dollars are on the line for Indiana school districts, as a national credit agency threatens to downgrade Indiana school debt “by as much as several notches.”

 

A House committee approved a bill to allow people protected by restraining orders to carry a handgun without a license for up to 60 days.

Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) says he wants to make sure people are able to protect themselves when they need it most.

But Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) says injecting more guns into domestic violence situations does women a disservice.

“I’m all for supporting women who are in domestic violence situations,” Austin says. “But I just don’t think this is the way to do it.”

 

A House committee approved an amendment to a gun regulations bill that would create a study committee to investigate eliminating all handgun licenses.

Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) authored a bill this session to eliminate Indiana’s license requirement to carry a handgun. He believes the right to bear arms is a constitutional guarantee that cannot be restricted – despite the fact that courts have repeatedly upheld modest gun restrictions.

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