Government

Government
6:00 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Lawmakers Could Support More Needle Exchanges, As Long As They Fight Drug Use

GOP leaders see it as an opportunity to fight drug use in a new way.
Credit Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislative leaders say they‘re open to expanding an emergency needle-exchange program in Scott County to other parts of the state, as long as it goes beyond needles.

Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says legislators are working to expand a House-passed needle-exchange bill to incorporate provisions for HIV testing, drug treatment and enforcement. Long says it’d be a step toward combating drug runners who use Indiana as a storefront for their products.

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Government
3:03 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Crawfordsville Prepares For Stellar Communities Grant Vetting

Barton plans to use the Stellar money to improve the downtown Crawfordsville area.
Credit J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville officials are preparing for the state to send people to vet the city’s Stellar Communities grant application. The city was named a finalist earlier this month and now Mayor Todd Barton (R) and other leaders are formulating a presentation to make their case in more detail.

Because Crawfordsville is losing younger citizens, Barton plans to use the Stellar money to enhance the city’s downtown. His proposal centers on what he calls a “fusion center” – bringing like-minded people and groups together to enhance collaboration and efficiency.

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Government
5:00 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Online Wine Sales Bill Awaits Gov's Signature

Credit Quinn Dombrowski / https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinndombrowski/4067656996/

 Restrictions on Internet wine purchases in Indiana may soon be a thing of the past.

The Senate has given final approval to a bill repealing the requirement that buyers make one in-person purchase before ordering wine online or by mail.

The restriction would be lifted July 1 if Gov. Pence signs the measure.

Online and mail-order shoppers would still have to scan or fax an ID.

Jim Butler, owner of  Bloomington’s Butler Winery, says he lost 90-percent of his shipping customers when the legislature added the requirement 10 years ago.

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Government
5:01 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Banks Family Again Trades Seats In Indiana Senate

Banks was serving an eight-month mission as a Navy supply officer.
Credit Jim Banks / http://www.jimbanks.us/meet-jim/

Sen. Amanda Banks (R-Columbia City) is set to step down from her job after her husband Jim returned home from a National Guard mission in Afghanistan.

Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) served as a Navy supply officer on an eight-month deployment. Banks says he’s been witness to some big changes overseas.

“To see the transfer of the operations from US-led to Afghan-led efforts was a historic moment to be in Afghanistan that I appreciate the opportunity to see firsthand,” Banks says.

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Government
6:00 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Ethics Reform Moving, Even As It's Pushed (Again) To The Back Burner

Former Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) was investigated for possible ethics violations before his term ended last year. He'd been involved with legislation that benefited his family's nursing home business.
Credit Courtesy Eric Turner / http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/homepages/r32/2085.html

Although other issues have overshadowed them this session, the Indiana legislature entered the 2015 session with two major goals: pass a budget and write new ethics reforms.

Recent ethics scandals at the Statehouse prompted lawmakers this session to strengthen Indiana’s ethics code. 

The bipartisan legislation is the most sweeping ethics package in a decade.

But some critics say the changes don’t go far enough.

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