General News

Local officials say their piece of the road funding pie needs to be a lot bigger after a significant decrease in the Senate plan. The Senate proposal cut local funding by more than two-thirds from the House version.

And while local officials obviously aren’t happy with the funding decrease in the Senate roads bill, there are other provisions they’d also like to see changed.

House Approves Vaping Regulations Bill

Apr 6, 2017

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill to regulate Indiana’s vaping industry, aiming to undo a monopoly created by existing law.

Indiana’s existing e-liquid law forced dozens of manufacturers to either leave the state or shut down, leaving only seven sanctioned companies.

A federal court ruling earlier this year struck down the bulk of existing regulations.

 

Legislation allowing police to collect DNA samples from anyone they arrest for a felony took a step closer to becoming law.

Backers of the legislation say DNA collection will help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

Under the bill, if a person is arrested but not charged within one year, the DNA record can be expunged. The same is true if charges are dismissed or the person is acquitted.

 

The controversy over Ricker’s convenience stores’ ability to sell cold beer and hard alcohol grew more contentious as the House killed a bill that would’ve let Ricker’s keep its permits.

At issue are restaurant permits Ricker’s was able to secure at two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – previously, the sole right of liquor stores and restaurants.

The vast majority of House lawmakers approved a bill to legalize baby boxes in hospitals – over the objections of the Department of Child Services.

The measure now also sanctions the state’s two existing boxes.

Baby boxes are intended to provide mothers with more anonymity when dropping off newborns. Current law gives people immunity from child abandonment charges only if the baby is delivered to another person.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) says the reality is that some mothers aren’t willing to face another person when dropping off their newborn.

Senate Advances Budget To Conference Committee

Apr 6, 2017

The Senate approved its version of a new two-year state budget 39-9 Thursday.

Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), the budget’s author, praised the bill for not increasing taxes, funding the fight against Indiana’s drug epidemic, and focusing on education issues.

But many Democrats took issue with that last point, including Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), who says the Republican plan doesn’t fund education enough.

Airbnb, Short-term Rentals Bill Passes Senate

Apr 6, 2017

The Senate approved a measure 27-20 Thursday that stops local governments from banning short-term rentals, such as Airbnb.

The legislation establishes guidelines for short-term rentals, including a ban on renting more than 30 days in a row and 180 days total in a year. But it prohibits barring short-term rentals outright.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), who opposes the bill, says it undoes 50 years of zoning ordinances and risks the commercialization of residential neighborhoods.

Telemedicine Bill Poised To Expand Services

Apr 6, 2017

A bill expanding coverage of and access to telemedicine passed the Senate this week. The measure will cover Hoosiers on Medicaid who get healthcare through telemedicine practices like videoconferences and electronic communications.

Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer authored the proposal and says the expansion includes addiction and behavioral health treatment that often requires extensive services.

“You have the management of the other wrap-around services to lift you up as you are going through your treatment program,” says Kirchhofer.

 

March 31 was supposed to be the deadline for families in a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana to move out, or be sent to temporary housing. But some are still appealing those assignments – and they won’t be forced out until their complaints are settled.

Hearings for residents who filed grievances about their temporary housing assignments will be held Monday April 3 and Tuesday April 4.

HOT CON / Purdue LGBTQ Center

The Purdue Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center hopes its weekend conference will bridge any gaps between the LGBTQ community and the campus at-large.

Center director Lowell Kane says he hopes Purdue’s administration recognizes the prominence of the LGBTQ community on campus.

And Ricardo Quintana Vallejo, the Ph.D. student who organized the conference, says having the sessions in West Lafayette sends a geographic message.

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