2015 Session

Rachel Morello / http://www.ipbs.org/

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz says her gubernatorial campaign did not accept any financial contributions during the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly. 

Campaign finance laws state that the legislative session constitutes a “blackout” period, during which a candidate is not allowed to solicit donations.

Documents submitted on behalf of Ritz’s campaign showed 28 donations received between January 6 and February 23. The superintendent says this was a clerical error and that her team is working to correct it and submit an amended form.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says it’s the duty of the minority party to offer alternatives to Republican proposals made during the legislative session that starts this week. 

Pelath says income inequality is the most pressing economic issue Indiana faces.  He notes the gap between the highest and lowest earners in the state is the biggest it’s been in decades. 

The House Minority Leader says educating the public on the issue must come first, along with solutions that can have an immediate impact, such as raising the minimum wage.

Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/6168273244

Indiana’s gaming revenue has been in free fall for a few years, and it’s predicted to continue its drop in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. 

That’s in large part because of increased competition from neighboring states. 

A legislative study committee is proposing changes to the industry that include moving riverboats on land, allowing live dealers rather than electronic table games at racinos, and tax incentives. 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/IN

Indiana’s voter turnout in the last election was the lowest in its history and the worst in the country.  Common Cause Indiana’s Julia Vaughn says that’s in part because voters don’t have enough choices, noting that 44 out of the 100 state Representatives ran unopposed.

“A lot of people are waking up that redistricting reform is something that we need to do here in Indiana to really revive our democracy, breathe some life back into it,” Vaughn says.

Lafayette Mayor's Office

Cold weather conjures many seasonal thoughts in Lafayette: everything from buying holiday gifts to road work.

We address some of those topics on this week's Ask The Mayor with Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, wherein we’ll also try to forecast the legislative session. Is there enough money in the budget for Lafayette – and does that money have strings for city officials?

Also in the first month of the legislative session, the state hits a deadline to decide if it’s going to keep Amtrak service running through Lafayette.

Caucus This Evening To Fill Zionsville Rep's House Seat

Dec 9, 2014
Indiana House Republicans

Six candidates compete in a Republican caucus in Zionsville tonight to fill an open Indiana House seat.

Rep. Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) resigned immediately after his reelection to become Governor Pence‘s workforce development commissioner. The district is evenly divided between Zionsville and Carmel, and so are the six candidates.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Amtrak could maintain operations of the passenger rail line from Indianapolis to Chicago after negotiations broke down this weekend between the Indiana Department of Transportation and prospective operator Corridor Capital.

Amtrak has a contract to provide daily service on the Hoosier State Line through Jan. 31. INDOT was looking to Corridor Capital to take over after that in hopes it could improve service on the line, which has consistently operated in the red.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says his caucus took a step back in 2014 after losing two seats but promises 2016 will be a very different election. 

House Republicans grew their supermajority from 69 to 71 members Tuesday.  Pelath says while he wasn’t expecting huge gains, he had hoped to chip away at the GOP’s lead.  And he says responsibility for those losses rests with him.

Purdue University

As the 2015 Indiana legislative session approaches, education leaders around the state are readying their pitches for a group of lawmakers charged with writing a budget as they sit on a $2 billion dollar surplus – a surplus everyone has suggestions on to spend.

In his monthly conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, WBAA’s Stan Jastrzebski asks if there’s a way to stop the practice of colleges giving money back to the state.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The power of the governor to cut state funding or require agencies to send money back to the general fund could be reigned in when the General Assembly meets next session.

For years state agencies have been required to revert some of their budgets to the General Fund – essentially, cut a certain percentage of what the legislature appropriates. 

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