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Indiana collected about $4.3 million more than expected in taxes last month. The state has still brought in far fewer dollars than projected through the first five months of the fiscal year. November marks the first time this fiscal Indiana’s tax collections have met or exceeded projected levels. But despite November’s gains, the state’s collections are still off by $71 million for the year. And the state brought in $56 million fewer this November than it did a year ago—essentially erasing...

Indiana Department of Child Services / http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/DCSLog150.jpg

The Department of Child Services wants the legislature to help improve the process of reporting child abuse and neglect to the agency. Department of Child Services legislative director Parvonay Stover says state law requires anyone to report potential child abuse and neglect without delay. And she says the agency wants state law to help ensure that when it comes to schools’ internal policies. “That means employees should not be talking to the guidance counselor first before they make that...

Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children approved a strategic plan that Chief Justice Loretta Rush says will help focus its work. The process of developing and approving the commission’s strategic plan took months. Chief Justice Rush, who co-chairs the commission, says the result is a focus on four areas: child safety, juvenile justice, mental health/substance abuse and education. And she says the plan will drive the commission’s work. “How do we want to move the needle in...

Some Indiana lawmakers are concerned that an infrastructure funding debate this session will focus almost exclusively on roads and bridges, and a water infrastructure discussion will get drowned out. Two recent reports put the cost of maintaining Indiana’s water and sewer infrastructure at anywhere between about  $300 million and $800 million every year, with more than $2 billion needed immediately to upgrade the system. Yet House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says...

Indiana’s roads task force may recommend the state begin tolling interstate highways. Previous debates over how to pay for Indiana’s infrastructure needs focused on fuel taxes, alternative fuel vehicle levies, and fees based on the number of miles someone drives. The discussion broadened at the second-to-last roads task force meeting. Engineer Steven Davidson recommends Indiana should explore tolling every interstate highway. “Now that would be implemented over a number of years as the...

Chris Morisse Vizza/WBAA Radio

Lafayette residents can expect to see more large drainage pipe installed under city streets, and sewer customers can expect an increase in rates next year. The Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday cleared the way for the city to embark on the third phase of its 20-year plan to upgrade sewer infrastructure and reduce the amount of untreated wastewater that flows into the Wabash River during heavy rains. City Water Pollution Control Director Brad Talley says the projects build onto the...

Lawmakers and youth advocates say they’re looking for legislation next session to help address suicide prevention and human trafficking. Indiana law requires new teachers to be trained in suicide prevention. But that law only took effect three years ago, meaning there’s no required training for most of the teaching workforce. Proposed legislation would require training for all school staff. Marion County Commission on Youth Public Policy and advocacy director Mindi Goodpaster says it’s also...

Kyle May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/

After Dave Buck resigned from his job as West Lafayette city engineer and public works director in September, he went to work for private engineering firm Butler Fairman & Seufert – a company that’s done a significant amount of business with the cities of West Lafayette and Lafayette. The move raises the question of whether Buck’s new position creates an advantage for his new employer or either city. West Lafayette records show the city paid Butler Fairman & Seufert nearly $9 million...

Legislative leaders laid out their vision for the upcoming session as newly elected and re-elected lawmakers were sworn in. Its the event known as Organization Day, the ceremonial gathering of a new General Assembly each November. The majority party leaders – this year, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long – called for renewed focus and bipartisanship as they tackle the job of crafting a long-term, sustainable road funding plan. Bosma’s call comes with only one...

Chris Morisse Vizza/WBAA News

The Tippecanoe County Commissioners voted Monday to endorse a plan to establish a syringe exchange and services program aimed at reducing the spread of hepatitis C among intravenous drug users. But Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski vented his frustrations after the vote. One by one, doctors, addiction treatment professionals, researchers, church leaders and a captain from the Fort Wayne police department stepped to the podium to tell the commissioners why Tippecanoe County should create a...

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