Government News

A state senator wants to raise the level of surplus needed before triggering a tax refund. The refund mechanism was put in place last year.

If the state’s budget surplus surpasses 10% of the total budget, the taxpayer refund kicks in.  When the surplus is calculated at the end of the fiscal year in June, projections say it will be at least $300 million more than the 10% level, disbursing a refund of about $50 per taxpayer.

State Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he wants to raise the threshold to be on the safe side.

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Minority Leader Pat Bauer have struck an agreement to keep a Right to Work bill off the floor until next week in an effort to keep Democrats in the chamber. 

Democrats left the floor Tuesday, protesting a House committee meeting on Right to Work.  Bosma says after reviewing video of the meeting, he felt it was not “democracy’s finest hour,” but says he saw nothing against the House rules.  After meeting with Bauer Wednesday, Bosma announced Right to Work would not come before the full House for amendments until next Tuesday.

Filings Begin for Primary Elections

Jan 11, 2012

Elected officials and challengers are taking advantage of the first day to file for May’s primary.

Five republicans are putting their hat back in the ring for Tippecanoe County positions.

Treasurer Bob Plantenga, District Three Commissioner Tom Murtaugh, District Two Commissioner Dave Byers, Coroner Martin Avolt, and Surveyor Zach Beasley all filed for reelection.

So too did Congressman Todd Rokita.  The Republican is seeking a second term in office.

Democrat Tara Nelson also filed to run in the 4th District.

A new Comprehensive Energy Master Plan for Purdue is being finalized. It makes recommendations for cutting use and increasing production and distribution to meet the demands of the West Lafayette campus.

Total funding to do all projects suggested is nearly $105 million over the next decade. But Vice President for Physical Facilities Bob McMains says there are a few priority items that should be done.

He says that includes a combined heat and power (CHP) unit to replace a coal-fired boiler.

During his State-of-the-State address, Governor Mitch Daniels said Indiana is one of the most business-friendly states in the country.

And according to one local legislator, that is why a Right-To-Work bill is unnecessary.

Democratic Representative Sheila Klinker says the current business climate means Indiana should keep the status quo.

However, Lafayette-area Republican Representative Randy Truitt says the state can still improve, and pushing ahead with the bill will make Indiana more marketable for recruiting business.

An ordinance requiring some Lafayette bar and restaurant owners to obtain a license for entertainment events is going back to the drawing board.

Police Chief Don Roush withdrew the proposal that would make it mandatory for these establishments to acquire permits before hosting such things as concerts.

He says the goal is to enhance public safety, but says there are still some parts of the measure that need fine tuning.

The annual license would be required for venues with 250-people or more, and establishments also would need special event permits.

County starts 2012 with more cash than expected

Jan 10, 2012

Tippecanoe County is starting off 2012 with a little more cash-on-hand than expected.

Auditor Jennifer Weston says the county currently has about $1.7-million in uncommitted funds.

She says the County Council will have to decide what to do with the money.

Options include spending it, putting it in the rainy day fund, or giving some back to tax payers.

Weston says she is recommending officials wait until later in the year before making any decisions.

Right to Work passed a House committee today, but not without controversy.

The House Labor Committee voted along party lines to send the Right to Work bill to the floor. 

Right to Work legislation bans union contracts requiring that non-union employees pay fees for representation.

Democrats tried to offer amendments and allow testimony on the bill, but were overruled. 

Chairman Doug Gutwein explained that last Friday’s joint committee hearing took care of testimony, and said amendments had not been filed in time. 

Electrician License Passes First Hurdle

Jan 9, 2012

Electricians may soon need a license to operate in Lafayette.

The city council unanimously approved a measure requiring those in the profession to become certified.  Currently, anyone can do electrical work.

City Engineer Jenny Miller says the change protects the city, businesses, and residents.

The Ordinance Committee will review the proposal over the next 30-days prior to the second reading.

Miller says the group will aim at clarifying some of the language and make sure the policy is as thorough as possible.

Klinker Wants Referendum for Right-To-Work

Jan 9, 2012

Work at the Statehouse in Indianapolis is underway.

Democrats have returned to the House Chamber after preventing the start of the session last week in an effort to block the Right-To-Work bill from moving forward.

Democratic Lafayette-area Representative Sheila Klinker says she is discouraged by the combative nature of the debate.

Klinker wants lawmakers to put the issue on the November ballot as a referendum.

She says this will allow Hoosiers to have a greater voice in determining if Indiana becomes the 23rd Right-To-Work state.