Government News

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana lawmakers may codify some existing practices when it comes to cleaning up the state’s voter rolls. And legislation unanimously approved by a Senate committee Monday deals with a part of Indiana law that’s subject to a pending lawsuit.

Indiana uses a multi-state database to find voters who’ve moved. If the Indiana voter’s name and birth date match another state’s records, the state digs further, looking at information such as Social Security number and zip code.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana lawmakers want to create a new crime to dramatically increase penalties for drug dealers if the buyer overdoses and dies.

Under current law, if you give a friend a small amount of Adderall or Ritalin and they overdose and die, you could get up to two and a half years in prison. If proposed legislation passes, you could get up to 40 years.

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says the bill sends a message to drug dealers, even if it will rarely be used.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Legislation to regulate short-term rentals such as Airbnb may undergo some tweaks in the Senate.

The measure prohibits local governments from banning short-term rentals. It does allow locals to require permits for those who use platforms such as Airbnb. And it says municipalities can charge a permit fee of up to $150.

But it’s silent on how often local units can charge that fee. The bill’s author, Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) says he wants to clarify that rental owners only need to pay when they first receive the permit.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana met Wednesday in Indianapolis. The group received a brief update of what was happening with the state’s independent assessment of the Department of Child Services.

Newly appointed DCS Director Terry Stigdon says members of the review team have conducted many interviews.

"Providers that partners with DCS to provide care that’s needed to children," says Stigdon. "They have met with legislators as well."

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Sunday alcohol carryout sales would become legal even earlier than expected under a legislative change made in a House committee Wednesday.

If passed, legislation to legalize Sunday alcohol sales from noon to 8 p.m. would have taken effect July 1, like most new laws. But Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn), the bill’s sponsor, says he’d rather see it take effect as soon as the governor signs it into law.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Senate President Pro Tem David Long announced Tuesday he will retire after 22 years in the chamber.

Standing beside his wife Melissa, who recently retired herself, Long (R-Fort Wayne) said he’s stepping down in November “for the right reasons.”

“I’ve seen a lot of things accomplished that I hoped to see done," Long says. "I feel like the Senate’s in good hands with this new generation.”

Long points to Right to Work, school vouchers, property tax caps, and tax cuts as notable accomplishments.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

State lawmakers say they’ll seek to find a balance between innovation and safety when it comes to self-driving cars.

A Senate committee took testimony Tuesday on legislation to regulate autonomous vehicles.

The bill creates a regulatory system for any companies that want to test and drive the vehicles. That system would include oversight panels compromised of state Departments of Insurance and Transportation leaders, the State Police, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and local officials.

The measure also bars local governments from banning self-driving cars.

Legislation approved by a Senate committee Monday would impose new requirements on child care programs. The changes are aimed at, for instance, helping ensure child care providers are being inspected at the local level.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana tax revenues surged ahead of the state’s revised, more pessimistic expectations in January. Yet seven months into the current fiscal year, total collections are still below target for the state budget approved last year by lawmakers.

Analysts delivered a new, less promising fiscal outlook in mid-December. Based on those projections, January revenues swelled, boosted by positive collections of sales and individual income taxes.

Senate GOP Wants New Redistricting Study Committee

Feb 8, 2018

Indiana Senate Republicans approved a resolution this week to study redistricting issues. That comes less than two years after a special two-year study commission that already explored the topic.