2015 Indiana General Assembly

Brandon Smith / http://www.ipbs.org/

During a rally at the Statehouse Monday, members of the Indiana Pastors Alliance used words like “shock,” “outrage,” and “betrayal,” while accusing GOP leaders of “selling out” religious liberty when they passed the religious freedom bill’s “fix.” 

But Indiana Pastors Alliance executive director Ron Johnson says the fix was akin to passing a gay rights bill.  Johnson says GOP leaders “cowardly capitulated” to the pressure of what he calls the “gay mafia,” a “media lynch mob,” and big business.  And he says leaders need to be held accountable.

Lawmakers Could Finish Budget Deal Today

Apr 28, 2015
Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

The specifics of a new state budget are expected today. House and Senate leaders have pledged to give legislators 24 hours to look over the budget before a vote.

With the session required to end tomorrow, that makes today the deadline, and House Speaker Brian Bosma says he expects a bill to be made public this afternoon.

The House and Senate proposed about the same total spending, but had slightly different school funding formulas. And Bosma says he’s still looking for more money for charter schools.

Gretchen Frazee / http://www.ipbs.org/

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz would remain chair of the State Board of Education until after she wins or loses reelection next year, under the latest version of a bill to end the feuding between Ritz and the board.

The board would undergo changes first. The bill shrinks it from 11 members to nine starting in June, and shifts two appointments from the governor to the House speaker and Senate president pro tem.

Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

With only three days left in session, lawmakers are crafting a final version of the budget, and doing so with less money than they’d planned. 

Senate Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) both say money for K-12 education is safe – the $466 million increase in both House and Senate budgets will remain intact. 

And Long says they’re standing firm on maintaining a strong budget reserve.

“I think it’s important to do that given our recent memories of how tough it was when the recession hit,” Long says.

Online Wine Sales Bill Awaits Gov's Signature

Apr 23, 2015
Quinn Dombrowski / https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinndombrowski/4067656996/

 Restrictions on Internet wine purchases in Indiana may soon be a thing of the past.

The Senate has given final approval to a bill repealing the requirement that buyers make one in-person purchase before ordering wine online or by mail.

The restriction would be lifted July 1 if Gov. Pence signs the measure.

Online and mail-order shoppers would still have to scan or fax an ID.

Jim Butler, owner of  Bloomington’s Butler Winery, says he lost 90-percent of his shipping customers when the legislature added the requirement 10 years ago.