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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.

Jan Simon talks with Larry Paarlberg, Executive Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum about the author of Ben Hur, upcoming events, and the restoration of the Study and Museum.

Rachel Morello / indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact

The Indiana Department of Education released a list of options for calculating school accountability grades for the 2014-15 school year. 

This was a year of big change for Indiana schools. The state rolled out an entirely new set of academic standards and an updated ISTEP+ test to match. Student scores are often low the first year an exam is introduced – which has many Hoosier leaders concerned over how schools would be held accountable.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act's tax subsidies was a major victory for the Obama administration. The healthcare law is now two-for-two surviving challenges before he nation’s highest court. Butother lawsuits that could gut the bill still loom -- including a challenge out of Indiana.  

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say they don’t know when the Hoosier State Amtrak line will transition to operation by Iowa Pacific, but they do know it won’t be this week.

INDOT and Iowa Pacific officials had been working to make the switch on July first, but contracts between the state, the company and the cities served by the line haven’t been finalized yet.

Dave Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveemerson/

Indiana physicians and public health experts say Governor Mike Pence would be irresponsible if, as he’s pledged, he opposes the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The proposed regulations would call for a 20-percent reduction from Indiana’s 2005 carbon emission levels by 2030.

In a letter to President Obama, Governor Mike Pence vowed not to comply what he calls the “ill-conceived and poorly constructed” Clean Power Plan unless the EPA makes significant improvements.  But IU School of Medicine professor Steve Jay says it’s the Pence administration’s position that needs improvement.

Stats Indiana / www.stats.indiana.edu

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld the constitutionality of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona, a system that keeps the redrawing of legislative maps out of the legislature’s hands.

That decision could have a major impact on Indiana as lawmakers prepare to examine ways to take some of the politics out of electoral redistricting.

Indiana legislative leaders – both Republican and Democrat – who’ve long supported redistricting reform overcame a major hurdle this year by gaining support for a redistricting study committee. 

Erica Gibson/WBAA News

The reopening of a pedestrian entrance into West Lafayette’s Happy Hollow Park is still at least a year away, officials said Tuesday.

The footpath at the intersection of Grant and Salisbury streets has been closed for more than two years.

Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Janet Fawley says erosion in the park makes the project more challenging.

“It’s hard to get in there because you can’t have a vehicle of any kind in that area," says Fawley. "You have to carry everything and it just is really time consuming and it’s a lot of work to get there.”

M. Martin Vicente / https://www.flickr.com/photos/martius/6108677802

Indiana's First Church of Cannabis will not be using any of its namesake herb at the inaugural service scheduled for Wednesday. But its founder still plans to end up in court.

Bill Levin, founder and "Grand Poobah" of the church won’t allow any pot smoking due to threats of arrest at his first church service booked for Wednesday afternoon at a repurposed church on Indy’s south side.

"We’re not going to get into a brawl with a police force who has already show their voluntary ignorance about our religion," Levin says.

Dave Herholz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dherholz/

There’s been a lot of emphasis in recent years about making sure Indiana high school students are “college and career ready” upon graduation.

But is it possible to accomplish both? Or would a more accurate goal be for students to be college or career ready?

The Indiana Career Council is in the process of redesigning the high school diploma requirements for the state’s public schools beginning with the class of 2022.

The goal is to make sure whatever path students choose, they are getting as high a level of academic challenge as possible.

Value Of Indiana Crops Down Despite Higher Prices

Jun 30, 2015
spablab / https://www.flickr.com/photos/spablab/

An agricultural economist says potential low yields of corn and soybeans are driving crop prices up. But that’s not necessarily good news for farmers.

At the beginning of June, farmers predicted an above average yield of corn and soybeans for the year.

But, Mother Nature had her own plans.

Consistent rain has drowned fields, ruining some crops.

Purdue University Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says that’s driving sale price of corn and soybeans up, but the overall value of the crop down.

PT Money / ptmoney.com

Hoosier businesses and individuals who owe back taxes to the state will have an opportunity to pay what they owe, without a penalty, this fall. The governor Monday announced a start date for the state’s tax amnesty program.

Indiana conducted its first tax amnesty program in 2005, collecting about $244 million in back taxes.

Those who participated in that program will be ineligible to take advantage of a new tax amnesty window, open from Sept. 15–Nov. 16.

Urban Sea Star / https://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanseastar/

An Indiana legal analyst says the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality will lead to a federal civil rights statue targeting discrimination against LGBT people in the private sector.

IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law Professor Dr. David Orentlicher says that statute would likely target hotels, restaurants, housing and other private businesses.

Orentlicher compares it to the famous Brown vs. Board of Education high court ruling that was eventually followed by civil rights legislation. He says any civil rights statute would not be all-encompassing.

Indiana Biz Leaders Cheer SCOTUS Pollution Ruling

Jun 29, 2015
Alan Berning / https://www.flickr.com/photos/14617207@N00/2621375759

The Supreme Court has sided with Indiana and 22 other states in throwing out a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation of coal-burning power plants.

Separate coalitions of states and businesses sued over a new mercury emission standard. A 5-4 Supreme Court agreed with their argument that the EPA unreasonably ignored the cost of compliance in drafting the rule.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar contends the regulation would impose crippling costs on utilities for very little gain in air quality. And he says other businesses would see electric bills soar.

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