Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

A bill that would raise the limit on children in a foster family from five to six is headed to the Senate floor. It passed the Senate Family and Children Services committee unanimously last week.

Cathy Graham, executive director of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy, testified in favor of the bill. She says increasing the limit could help the Department of Child Services in emergency placements.

Attorney General Expands Human Trafficking Efforts

15 hours ago

Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill will expand operations to better address human trafficking in the state.

The Human Trafficking Investigations Unit will add investigators and attorneys to better catch and prosecute people who engage in sex and labor trafficking in Indiana.

The Attorney General’s Office says human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries. In a statement, Hill said “victims trapped in this illegal enterprise who are desperate for a better way of life need to know there is help and hope.”

Indiana lawmakers want to study the impact of 529 College Savings Plans on state revenue after a just enacted federal tax change allows the accounts to be spent on tuition at private elementary and high schools.

Congressman Luke Messer emerged the victor Saturday of a straw poll of Republican U.S. Senate candidates.

Each of the six GOP Senate candidates delivered a short speech before 326 party activists in attendance cast their votes in the event organized by the Indiana Republican Party.

Rep. Messer (R-Shelbyville) won at 45 percent (147 votes). He calls the result “important momentum.”

“But there’s a whole lot of work to do between now and Election Day,” Messer says. “In a lot of ways, this is just the green flag to the four-month race before us.”

IDOE Releases 2017 Graduation Rate Data

Jan 12, 2018

The Department of Education released 2017 graduation rate data Friday.

The department reports the statewide graduation rate landed around 87 percent – two points lower than in 2016.

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.

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