Government

Government
10:11 am
Wed July 30, 2014

State Looks To Local Government For Corruption-busting Ideas

If the program works as the attorney general describes, ideas will come to the statehouse from local leaders.
Credit Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/6168273244

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the state’s Public Integrity Coalition is developing strategies from the local level up to state government aimed at curbing public corruption.  Those strategies could include new legislation.

The Public Integrity Coalition, formed three months ago, brings together groups such as the Attorney General’s office, the State Board of Accounts – which is responsible for auditing all levels of government in the state – the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and law enforcement groups around the state.

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Government
3:34 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Indy Smoking Ban Upheld, But Will Be Appealed To State Supreme Court

No matter the outcome at the appellate level, the case was likely to find its way to the state's highest court.
Credit Raul Lieberwirth / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lanier67/237055775

A judge has upheld Indianapolis' smoking ban in a ruling that will be appealed directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

In a ruling issued Monday, Marion County Superior Court Judge James Osborn ruled against a lawsuit filed by two members of the Tavern League of Indiana - The Thirsty Turtle and the Whistle Stop Inn.

Their attorney, Mark Small, had asked Osborn for an immediate ruling against the smoking ban after the state Supreme Court struck down Evansville's ban.

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Government
12:19 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

State Senator's Wife To Seek His Seat While He's Deployed

State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) has been called up to active duty by his U.S. Naval Reserve unit.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Amanda Banks announced Thursday she’ll seek to keep her husband Jim’s state Senate seat in the family when he’s deployed to Afghanistan this fall. 

Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) announced earlier this month that, starting in September, he'll be deployed to Afghanistan in his role as a Naval Reserve Officer. 

Banks is unopposed in November’s election and the seven month deployment means he will miss the entire 2015 legislative session. 

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Government
6:02 am
Fri July 25, 2014

State Halts Healthy Indiana Plan Enrollment

The state will still process pending enrollments, but won't take new customers for the time being.
Credit Kreg Steppe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/535493117

Indiana is cutting off enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan after the program reached this year’s funding limit.

When the federal government reauthorized HIP, the health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers, last year, it required Indiana to lower the income eligibility ceiling from 200-percent of poverty – about $47,000 a year for a family of four – to 100-percent – roughly $23,000 dollars a year. 

The state pays for the program through the tobacco tax, limiting its size to a monthly average of 45,000 people. 

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Government
2:34 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Ask The Mayor: Crawfordsville's Todd Barton

Crawfordsville's mayor says there's likely to be a lull in seven-day-a-week rail travel as the state grapples with funding the Hoosier State line.
Credit courtesy Crawfordsville mayor's office

Crawfordsville’s mayor says he believes Amtrak’s Hoosier State rail line will cease operation in October unless the state – not just the cities along the route – kicks in more money.

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Government
11:10 am
Wed July 23, 2014

As Appeals Courts Differ On Obamacare Exchanges, Pence Says Indiana Got It Right

One appeals court panel says those buying healthcare from the federal exchange can't take subsidies to pay for it, another rejects that argument.
Credit Healthcare.gov

Governor Mike Pence says he stands by his decision not to operate a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. 

Two federal appeals courts Tuesday ruled on cases involving insurance subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.  A Washington D.C. circuit court ruled that the federal government cannot provide subsidies for more than four million Americans—including more than 100,000 Hoosiers-- who purchased insurance through federally-run healthcare exchanges. 

Just a few hours later, an appeals court in Virginia ruled in favor of the Obama administration. 

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Government
7:14 am
Tue July 22, 2014

State Unveils News Transparency Website

The website tracks how the state spends its money and whether it's getting good returns on its investments.
Credit State of Indiana

The governor’s office has unveiled a new website aiming to improving transparency and accountability in state government -- a one-stop shop for Hoosiers keeping tabs on state agencies’ performance.

The state’s previous transparency portal earned Indiana the title of most transparent state government site by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer watchdog organization. 

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Government
1:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

As State Posts Strong Balance Sheet, Democrats Decry GOP 'Bloodlust' For Tax-cutting

The state has more than $2 billion in its rainy day fund.
Credit Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

Despite tax revenues that struggled for much of the fiscal year, Indiana closes its book with a surplus of more than $100 million and reserves topping $2 billion.  But Democrats say the state is hoarding money to make its bottom line look good.

Going into the final month of the fiscal year, Indiana was about $50 million short of expectations.  But a strong June helped the state end the year about $13 million above projected levels. 

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Government
4:51 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

State's New Transportation Ventures Could Cost $10 Billion

Some suggestions for INDOT's priority list include new highways in Central and Northwest Indiana and road lanes which automatically recharge batteries of electric cars.
Credit Jimmy Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/7974506488

A blue ribbon panel studying Indiana’s future transportation needs laid out this week the state’s top road project priorities.  The task now is to figure out how to pay for them.

The panel recommended four priorities for road construction projects – widening I-65 and I-70, building an I-69 Ohio River bridge and creating a commerce connector around Indianapolis. 

The panel did not include specific funding recommendations, though co-chair Cathy Langham says it does suggest developing some sort of user fee system.

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Government
2:50 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

State Won't Recognize Gay Marriages Issued Last Month

Hundreds of marriages have been invalidated -- at least temporarily -- but there is one union that will be recognized.
Credit Jeton Bajrami / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeton/14334409112

Indiana will not recognize same sex marriages performed between a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban and an appeals court order halting that decision. 

Federal judge Richard Young ruled Indiana’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in an order handed down late last month.  Two days later, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of that ruling, halting its effects. 

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