2015 Indiana General Assembly

Indy Eleven / http://www.indyeleven.com/michael-a-carroll-stadium

The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a 20-million-dollar renovation of IUPUI‘s Carroll Stadium for the Indy Eleven soccer team.

Sen. Pete Miller (R-Avon) says the state has a chance to get ahead of the curve as soccer gains in popularity in the US.

The Senate scaled back a House-passed plan to use a tax-recapture mechanism to help the team build a brand-new 80-million-dollar stadium.

Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) says renovating Carroll Stadium is a much better plan.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

It‘s the Senate‘s turn next week to take up an ethics reform bill. Senate leaders tweaked some wording in the ethics bill before sending it to the floor.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), who authored the bill, says the changes plug one potentially significant loophole, extending a ban on former executive-branch employees doing business with their old agencies to cover them even if they‘re independent contractors.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana Senate leaders Thursday rolled out their version of the state budget, and there are some differences from their House GOP colleagues in a number of key areas:

HIGHER EDUCATION

In total, higher education spending makes up 12-percent of the Senate’s proposed two-year, $31.5 billion budget.

That’s considerably more than what the House suggested.

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) acknowledges the increase and says it would move state universities in the right direction.

Elliott Bledsoe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/elliottbledsoe/

The Senate has unanimously endorsed a first step toward creating "baby boxes" for abandoned newborns.

Since 2000, Indiana has had a "safe haven" law allowing babies to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals or fire stations. A House bill would go a step further and allow the installation of incubator dropboxes.

Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne) says there have been cases in which parents don‘t trust the promise of anonymity and abandon infants in parks or trash bins -- exactly the scenario the safe haven law was intended to prevent.

Energy Efficiency Bill Awaits Gov's Signature

Apr 8, 2015
Richard Rutter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/clagnut/

An energy efficiency plan requested by Governor Pence is on its way to his desk.

The Senate has given final approval to a bill requiring electric utilities to submit conservation plans to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission every three years.

Senate Utilities Chairman Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says by going through the IURC instead of an outside agency, the plan will be cheaper than the Energize Indiana plan implemented by former Governor Mitch Daniels – a program that was repealed by the legislature last year.

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