Government News

Michael Coghlan /

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Barry Richard says his department needs to add 26 employees over the next five years to keep up with demand for services.

That total includes 10 additional deputies to patrol roads, 10 correctional officers to work in the jail, three dispatchers, two bailiffs and an administrative assistant for the detective division.  

Richard says the five-year plan is based on criteria such as the volume of calls for help and the number of deputies per capita.

Jim Grey /

Abortion remains as controversial as ever, but a bill passed this year in Indiana, which bans abortions based on race, sex, and disability and prohibits the selling of fetal tissue, has garnered an especially harsh response. /

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit Thursday against Tippecanoe County on behalf of a group that advocates for the legalization of marijuana.

The lawsuit alleges the county violated the First Amendment rights of Higher Society of Indiana Inc. when the commissioners denied the group’s request to hold a June 17 rally on the courthouse grounds.  

Indiana BMV

The Indiana Ethics Commission Thursday approved a minimal fine for a former Bureau of Motor Vehicles official who violated a state ethics policy.  

Chris Morisse Vizza / WBAA News

Hoosiers changed the way property taxes are calculated, says Tippecanoe County Auditor Bob Plantenga, when voters in 2009 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment setting permanent limits on all property taxes.

The total tax bill on residential property can’t exceed 1-percent of the home’s gross assessed value.

Tax bills on rental units, Ag land and long-term care facilities can’t exceed 2-percent of the value. The limit for business and industry is 3-percent.

J.D. Gray

President Obama returned to Elkhart Wednesday seeking to bring a major part of his presidency full circle, trumpeting what he sees as the city's and the nation’s economic resurgence. 

But as Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, the president’s speech actually was more about looking forward than looking back.

J.D. Gray

President Barack Obama is shining a spotlight on Elkhart, Indiana – the first city he visited as president – calling it a symbol of America’s economic recovery.

Obama returned Wednesday with a message defends his legacy while laying the groundwork for a Democratic victory this fall.

When the president visited in 2009, unemployment was nearly 20 percent in the community that heavily relies on manufacturing and the recreational vehicle industry,

Seven years later, that rate is now below four percent. 

Indiana, FCC At Odds Over Prison Cell Phone Use

Jun 1, 2016
Thomas Hawk /

Indiana wants to make it harder for prison inmates to use smuggled cell phones.

Governor Pence and nine other Republican governors are asking the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to jam prison cell phone signals.

That's currently illegal under an 80-year-old law governing public airwaves.

Indiana Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Garrison says prisons confiscate phones when they find them, but know they still miss some.

Indiana inmates have been indicted for using smuggled cell phones to run drug rings from prison.

The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs wants to promote the benefits of hiring veterans, and teach employers to accommodate some of their unique needs. 

A summit on Wednesday is one in a chain of efforts aimed to decrease veteran unemployment.

In 2014, the unemployment rate among post-9-11 veterans was 10 percent, nearly double the state’s overall rate. 

Yet by the end of 2015, the rate among newer veterans dropped to just 1.4 percent. 

Deanna Pugh is the director of employment and education for the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

Frank Hebbert /

Researchers say a flat fee on electric vehicles won’t help solve declining road funding revenues, like those faced here in the state. 

Electric vehicles don’t pay into road funding the same way traditional vehicles do because they don’t pay fuel taxes. 

So, some states have imposed flat registration fees of $100-200 on electric vehicles. 

But IUPUI professor Jerome Dumortier says his study shows that plug-in vehicles account for, at most, only about 1.5-percent of the decline in fuel taxes.  And he notes that a flat fee is economically inefficient.