Government News

Sarah Fentem / WBAA News

Both the Tippecanoe County Commissioners and the Lafayette City Council voted Tuesday to add protections for the transgender community to existing human rights ordinances.

The commissioners must still vote once more this month to make their move final, but the Lafayette vote was the last in what's been a charged debate.

After a lengthy and spirited public debate, the Lafayette City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an amendment adding gender identity protections to the city’s human relations ordinance.


courtesy State of Indiana

State officials announced a potential 50-year deal Tuesday to lease unused state cell towers and use the money to pay for the Bicentennial projects.

The Indiana Finance Authority approved an agreement on a potential 50-year lease – renewable after the first 25 years – for unused cell tower capacity between the state and Ohio-based Agile Networks.

The deal is expected to yield the state $260 million over the next half-century.

Agile will pay $50 million up front and share a percentage of the revenues generated by the towers with the state.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support – and its money – behind Todd Young (R-9th) in Indiana’s U.S. Senate race.

The U.S. Chamber’s endorsement comes with a seven-figure ad buy throughout the state.

Chamber Vice President Rob Engstrom says the decision to endorse Young was simple: the Republican voted with the Chamber 91-percent of the time. Engstrom compares that to Evan Bayh’s (D-IN) 55-percent Chamber voting record.

LuAnn Snawder /

  A former federal immigration official testified Wednesday before an Indiana Senate panel on immigration, and he painted a bleak picture of the U.S. immigration system.

Michael Cutler worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for 30 years before leaving the agency two decades ago. He’s now affiliated with a private think-tank that advocates for limiting all immigration – including legal immigration.

Testifying before the study committee, Cutler warned of what he sees as the dangers posed by illegal immigration.

Brandon Smith, Indiana Public Broadcasting

As the state decides how and where to spend future transportation funding dollars, determining the conditions of Indiana’s infrastructure is a vital piece of the puzzle.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports on efforts within the state that aim to improve this process for Indiana and the nation.

At first look, the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection and Training Engineering Center, or S-BRITE Center, commonly called the bridge gallery, isn’t remarkable.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana is one of only five states in the country without any bias or hate crime language in its laws. A democratic state senator wants to change that, proposing a bill that goes further than a failed proposal from the 2016 session.

Eric J Paparatto /

Indiana’s new fiscal year got off to a slightly underwhelming start, continuing the streak of lackluster beginnings to its fiscal years under Governor Mike Pence.

In the four starts to a fiscal year during the Pence administration, the state’s tax collections came in less than projected each year.

It’s a slim margin this year – a little more than $7 million off the mark and less than one percent less than expected.

Individual income taxes did well in July, nearly $20 million better than projections.

Indiana Public Broadcasting

Educating young people about Indiana’s Lifeline Law has a new focus this year – text to 911.

The Lifeline Law provides immunity from underage drinking charges to minors who seek help for themselves or others. And it applies not just to those who call 911, but those who text it as well.

State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell – who chairs the Statewide 911 Board – says texting allows dispatchers to more easily follow up on 911 hang-ups, citing a recent example:

State of Indiana

Hoosiers have four weeks to help decide what the state’s next license plate will look like.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles unveiled three options for the design that will replace the Bicentennial plate.

One features the torch and stars from the state flag placed inside a blue image of the state.

The second simply has a yellow banner highlighting the words “Crossroads of America” at the bottom of the plate.

The third is the most colorful, with a green landscape beneath a covered bridge painted red, and blue sky above.  

SEIU Local 1 /

Representatives from business, hospitality, agriculture and construction industries are calling on Congress to reform the nation’s immigration system, and those groups want to bolster that call by highlighting contributions made by immigrants to Indiana.

Immigrants living in Indiana earned more than $8 billion in 2014 and paid more than $2 billion in taxes, according to a report released by the Reason for Reform Campaign, which works to underscore immigrants’ contributions to the economy.