General News

Indiana will remain one of five states without a hate crimes law after the Senate Republican caucus opted not to take a vote on the bill this session.

The hate crimes bill would have allowed a judge to impose harsher penalties if the crime was committed in part because of a victim’s characteristics. One of those characteristics was gender identity – which bill author Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) says was a significant sticking point.

So-called “serious” sex offenders would be allowed to attend church services on school property under legislation approved by a Senate panel Tuesday.

Serious sex offenders – those who committed crimes involving children – are currently barred from schools. But an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling says they’re entitled to attend worship services – even if the church is on school grounds.

Funding to help schools in central Indiana develop substance abuse prevention programs is available. The new grant initiative called Prevention Matters from the Fairbanks Foundation aims to connect Marion County students with opportunities for education.

High school aged students who receive proven prevention education are more than 60 percent less likely to use hard drugs like heroin or cocaine.

Bullying, Human Trafficking Legislation Move Forward

Jan 29, 2018

Student safety was a major focus of the House Education committee Monday, and lawmakers approved a set of bills centered around bullying and human trafficking.

Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) says human trafficking is a problem, but not all teachers know the signs to identify students who might be at risk.

“I am in my 24th year of education. And I had not really understood or known or been educated about human trafficking until I actually came up here,” McNamara says.

House Committee Votes To Increase Smoking Age To 21

Jan 29, 2018

Hoosiers age 18 to 20 would no longer be able to buy cigarettes under legislation unanimously approved by the House Public Health Committee Monday.

There’s a common argument made against the bill to raise the minimum smoking age to 21: that those old enough to serve in the military shouldn’t be barred from smoking.

Former Army National Guard Deputy Surgeon General David Wilmot dismisses that argument.

IU School Of Medicine Set Record For 2017 Funding

Jan 26, 2018

The Indiana School of Medicine announced a record year in research funding. Scientists helped bring in more than $135 million last year from the National Institutes of Health.

The funding sets the school in the top 33 systems funded by the federal agency. It has increased more than 40 percent since 2013 and has helped build the school’s research infrastructure.

IU School of Medicine dean Jay Hess says they also benefit from an environment of collaboration in Indianapolis.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Days after West Lafayette’s Unitarian Universalist Church was vandalized with posters bearing threatening language, the community gathered to show unity Wednesday evening. Many say it’s just the first step to prevent threats in the future.

Government officials condemned those responsible for the racist and homophobic language by calling it cowardly behavior, and an act of attention-seeking. Religious leaders praised the community, and some spoke of the familiarity of the type of attack.

The following schools are closed today due to icy road conditions:

Benton Community School Corporation

Frontier School Corporation

Lafayette School Corporation 

Rossville Schools

Tippecanoe School Corporation

West Lafayette School Corporation

The following schools are on a two-hour delay:

Crawfordsville School Corporation 

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Leaders at the West Lafayette Unitarian Universalist Church -- where two banners full of racial slurs, veiled threats and misspellings were posted early Sunday -- are staying tight-lipped about whether they’ll increase security in the wake of the hate speech.

However, Reverend Charlie Davis says the church does plan to hold a Wednesday evening service full of songs and talk of social justice, in hopes of using the vandalism to bring the community together.

Davis says his congregants sang civil rights tunes during the Sunday gathering that followed discovery of the signs.

Speakers at the event represented organizations like Indy 10 Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood and Spencer Pride. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)

More than a thousand people showed up Saturday for the Women’s March in Indianapolis. A diverse line-up of speakers focused primarily on this year’s midterm elections.