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Justin Marty / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmarty/3677688990

The Indiana Rural Broadband Working Group, convened last year, developed a report for the legislature identifying steps towards blanketing the state with quality broadband coverage. 

Representative Eric Koch (R- Bedford), who served on the working group, says a first step is the creation of a new designation – Broadband Ready Communities. 

U.S. Senate / http://www.coats.senate.gov/

Indiana Senator Dan Coats predicts the Senate will approve fast-track trade authority this week for a Pacific Rim trade deal, but says getting there may be a tough slog.  Several Democrats are defying President Obama to try to block fast-track, which would allow the administration to begin final negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and let the eventual deal come to the floor without amendments.

Flazingo Photos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/124247024@N07/

Indiana’s unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest level in five months.  But the state’s private sector also lost jobs.

The Hoosier unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 5.8-percent in March, the second month in a row the rate went down.  But it's still three-tenths of a percent higher than the national average of 5.5-percent.

But that drop may not be good news: the state’s private sector lost 800 jobs last month, fueled by huge losses – more than 5,000 – in the professional and business services sector. 

Kyle May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/

The Senate Wednesday narrowly approved a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage after senators spent more than three hours over the past two days debating the issue of repealing Indiana’s minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.

Opponents of the bill such as Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) note that the common wage helps support job training programs and ensures public projects are properly built by well-trained, highly paid workers.

David Lofink / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lofink/4344960203

29-percent of Hoosiers live in places with local ordinances protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. And that proportion could grow in the wake of last week‘s religious freedom controversy.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard blasted the now-revised religious objections law as "ridiculous." Carmel already has an executive order prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in city hiring -- Brainard says he‘ll send the city council an ordinance to add sexual orientation to local civil rights laws.

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