General News

Indiana tax revenues surged ahead of the state’s revised, more pessimistic expectations in January. Yet seven months into the current fiscal year, total collections are still below target for the state budget approved last year by lawmakers.

Legislation to ensure ballots are counted even if the voters who cast them die won’t advance in the House.

The bill – which easily cleared the Senate – would require absentee ballots to be counted if the person who cast the ballot dies before Election Day.

Emilie Syberg / WBAA

Every year, during the last ten days in January, a federally-mandated survey of the homeless population takes place across the country. It’s called the point in time count, and it’s a way to establish the number of homeless people in a given area on one night. Tippecanoe County officials do their count a little differently than most, though. The count also serves as their chance to make a connection.

It’s 5:30 a.m on January 25. It’s dark, and it’s cold, and Kurt Harker is searching for someone. But he’s got a plan for where to look next. 

House Unanimously Votes To Legalize CBD

Jan 30, 2018

Cannabidiol, or CBD, would become legal for anyone in the state of Indiana under legislation unanimously approved by the full House.

There are several bills dealing with the issue this session, in both chambers. The measure approved Tuesday takes the simplest approach.

New Police Mental Health Awareness Law Celebrated

Jan 30, 2018

A Lebanon police officer will join U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

Taylor Nielsen helped inspire a new law that grows mental health resources for officers. After responding to a 2016 murder of a mother and her young son, Nielsen displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“And then I was diagnosed with PTSD in July and that following October is when I attempted to take my own life,” says Nielsen.

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.

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