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Government News

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) was one of a bipartisan group of senators that brokered the deal to re-open the government after a three-day shutdown.

Non-essential operations were suspended Saturday when Congress failed to pass a budget to keep the federal government moving. The deadlock ended Monday after the Senate passed a short-term spending bill after Republicans promised a future vote on immigration policies.

Senate Committee Begins Debate On Hate Crimes Bill

Jan 23, 2018

Debate on a hate crimes bill was emotional and, at times, heated Tuesday as a Senate committee kicked off conversation on the issue.

Indiana is one of five states without a hate, or bias crimes, law. The legislation would allow judges to impose harsher sentences if a crime was committed in part because of a victim’s characteristics – such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

West Lafayette representatives are condemning hate speech posted at a local church over the weekend.

Racial slurs and threatening language were displayed on posters tacked outside of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Rep. Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette) says she’s shocked and concerned, especially since the incident happened at night.

“They are doing this behind everyone’s back and will not admit that they’re doing it because they know most of the people in our area do not agree with this and certainly are not on their side,” Klinker says.

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Jacob Sippel / US Navy

After letting funding lapse for 114 days, the United States has reached an agreement for funding CHIP, the federally-run health insurance program for children and pregnant mothers.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

West Lafayette officials believe the city has the money to build an indoor recreation center in Cumberland Park, but say they won’t sign off on the idea until it’s garnered enough community support.

A few dozen residents gave input at two Tuesday open houses. The goal was two-fold: ask whether residents want a rec center and gauge what amenities it’d need so people would buy memberships, says redevelopment commission chair Larry Oates.

“You’ve heard of Build-A-Bear, at the malls and stuff – this is our Build-A-Rec Center program,” Oates says.

A House committee cautiously began debate Tuesday on what the committee chair calls “a touchy subject” – township government reform.

The legislation would force townships with less than 1,200 people to merge with an adjacent township by 2023. That mandate would eliminate about 1,200 elected officials.

Indiana Township Association President Debbie Driscoll says her organization supports such reform.

Gov. Eric Holcomb sought in his State of the State to reassure Hoosiers his administration will do “whatever it takes” to fix problems at the Department of Child Services.

But Democratic legislative leaders say Holcomb’s address lacked boldness and leadership, particularly when it comes to the ongoing DCS crisis.

Military veterans won’t have certain financial resources considered when applying for tuition aid under legislation advanced Tuesday.

Republican Senate Leaders Outline 2018 Priorities

Jan 8, 2018

Senate Republican leaders outlined their 2018 priorities Monday. Those priorities include Sunday alcohol sales, the roll-out of mandated prescription monitoring to prevent opioid abuse, workforce development, and the regulation of property seizure.

Also included in those priorities is a bill to cover a school funding gap, by allowing the State Budget Agency to transfer reserve money.

All Hoosier voters could cast absentee ballots by mail without any excuse under legislation advanced Monday by a Senate panel.

Under current law, a voter must provide a reason they’re voting absentee by mail – for instance, they’ll be out of town on Election Day. The bill from Sen. Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond) would eliminate that requirement – anyone could vote absentee by mail.

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