News

Christopher Ayers / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana’s highly-publicized First Church of Cannabis is going to court, hoping to stop the state from enforcing marijuana laws when it comes to the use of cannabis in its church services. 

The state's so-called "religious freedom" law creates a legal standard that says government must have a compelling reason to restrict someone’s religious practice and do so in the least burdensome way possible. 

Jimmy Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/4716903349

Indiana drivers are discovering legislators were serious about a new law ordering drivers not to block the left lane.

State Police spokesman Todd Ringle estimates troopers handed out more than 100 warnings in the first six days of the law for staying in the left lane with other cars trailing the lead vehicle.

He says those warnings are going to the most blatant violators -- he says he pulled over one driver who moved into the left lane to be ready for a turnoff that was four miles away. And he says he believes the statute is enforceable as written.

Indiana Grown

More than 200 producers have signed up to become members of the new Indiana Grown program, and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann notes they span all of Indiana agriculture – everything from hardwood to poultry, produce to bath and body products. 

State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says Indiana Grown encompasses all aspects of the food chain.

“It’s the retailers that have been pressing, pressing, pressing for this and I hope we’ve delivered a good product.  Same with restaurants,” McKinney says.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The casual rider of the Hoosier State Line probably didn’t expect any changes on July 1 as an Amtrak-branded engine and set of cars rolled through Lafayette on its way to Chicago.

But instead of the red, blue and gray Amtrak paint job, passengers were supposed to see the brown and orange paint job of Iowa Pacific rolling stock.

Army Asks Feds To Deregulate Old Testing Ground

Jul 7, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

At the Jefferson Proving Ground in Southeastern Indiana, just north of Madison, about a dozen workers are taking a break from what looks like a typical road construction project.

There are pickup trucks, a large yellow excavator truck, and some pipes stacked on wood pallets, but look down, scan the ground nearby, and you’ll quickly realize one wrong step at this worksite could be fatal.

Unexploded bombs peak up from the dirt, like the tips of deadly icebergs.

Andy Castro / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andycastro/2548898515

The speed limit on most interstate highways in Indiana is 70 miles per hour, but that number will soon vary in at least one location.

That’s because the Indiana Department of Transportation is experimenting with using electronic signs to vary speed limits based on traffic patterns or the incidence of road work.

The first signs will go up on I-65 between Edinburgh and Franklin, where road crews are currently patching and resurfacing the roadway.

INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity says speed limits there will be adjusted based on how well traffic is moving.

Daniel X. O'Neil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/juggernautco/

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Hoosier State will join a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water rule. 

The EPA recently finalized a rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States” – that is, which bodies of water fall under federal regulation.  The term would now include small bodies of water, including streams, ponds, and drainage ditches. 

Gretchen Frazee / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/

Leaders of an LGBT Christian group holding its annual conference in Indianapolis despite the passage of RFRA earlier this year says they want the governor and lawmakers to hear from a Christian community supportive of gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

Several months ago, The Evangelical Network decided to move its conference from Nashville to Indianapolis.  And when the controversy over Indiana’s RFRA law erupted, organization president Todd Ferrell says there was lots of pressure – including from those planning to attend – to move the event out of Indiana.

NYC Department of Education / http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm

Private schools are experiencing a surge in enrollment, in large part due to the state’s expanding voucher program. 

When the program first passed in 2011, supporters said funding private school tuition would give poor kids in failing schools options to get a better education.

But as StateImpact’s Indiana’s Claire McInerny explains, a new report shows that as the program enters its fifth year, the costs to taxpayers and students have dramatically changed. 

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Wayne Townsend, the Democratic nominee for Indiana governor in 1984, has died at age 89.

Townsend was elected to the state Senate in 1976 and served two terms -- in his first year in the Senate, he cast the deciding vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Hartford City Democrat challenged Republican Governor Bob Orr in 1984 -- in the year of President Reagan‘s 49-state landslide, he lost by five points.

Porter Novelli

Just two-and-a-half months after hiring global public relations firm Porter Novelli to combat the negative impact of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Thursday cancelled its contract with the company. 

The IEDC hired Porter Novelli in April in the wake of backlash over the RFRA controversy to “remind the world that Hoosiers welcome everyone.” 

City of West Lafayette / http://westlafayette.in.gov/

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis is assured of a third term in office after no one filed to run against him by this week’s deadline. So this month on our conversation with Mayor Dennis, we talk about leadership in Indiana – and about its intersection with ambition. If he believes he’s doing a good job here, why not go for more?

On this week’s Ask The Mayor, we also address the latest delay to Amtrak service through Greater Lafayette – and how much the cities in the area might have to pay to keep it going, even though there’s now more money from the state.

Christopher Ayers / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Founded amidst controversy over the state’s new religious freedom law, Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis Wednesday hosted its inaugural service on the same day the law went into effect.

The worship opened with a house band playing about 30 minutes of music, mostly funky tunes with veiled or direct references to marijuana—the illegal plant Church founder Bill Levin says is his congregation’s holy sacrament.

K. Latham / https://www.flickr.com/photos/programwitch/

Pro-LGBT groups say they’re going to organize a voter registration drive as part of their push to obtain civil rights protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Ninety-seven days after Indiana’s religious freedom bill was signed into law, the controversial measure known as RFRA took effect Wednesday.

Pro-LGBT activist Rick Sutton says some of its negative impact was undone through a legislative “fix” back in April.

What's Causing A 20% Drop In Indiana's Abortion Rate

Jul 2, 2015
Alice Harold / https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicejt/4195310965

Abortion rates are on the decline  across the country.

A recent Associated Press survey revealed abortion rates on average dropped 12-percent nationally. In Indiana the decline was even more dramatic. 

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Gretchen Frazee reports on what’s likely causing the decline and what that means for young women in Indiana.

Pages