Government News

Redistricting reform advocates renewed their call this week for Indiana legislators to act. But the Senate Elections Committee chair wants to have a slightly different conversation.

House and Senate lawmakers of both parties have bills this session to establish an independent redistricting commission to draw Indiana’s legislative maps – similar to bills that have been filed for years.

Indiana House Republicans will push legislation this session that could eliminate nearly a third of all Indiana townships – potentially getting rid of more than 1,200 elected officials.

Legislative leaders pushed total township elimination about a decade ago – and were met with resounding, bipartisan opposition.

An Indiana Democratic lawmaker will push the state to legalize assisted suicide under very limited circumstances. Proposed legislation would apply only to Hoosiers with a terminal illness and no more than six months to live.

The bill authored by Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) would establish rigorous procedures to allow assisted suicide. It would involve a form developed by the State Department of Health, multiple physicians, two witnesses who cannot be connected to the patient, and potential counseling to determine if the person is competent to make the decision.

Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally, Legislation Filed

Jan 3, 2018

As the 2018 Indiana General Assembly gets underway, a bill to legalize medical marijuana has been filed. But this year’s proposal may have more momentum.

Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) spoke at a rally at the Statehouse to announce his bill to legalize cannabis for anyone with a serious medical condition. This is not the first bill filed with that aim, but Lucas is hopeful and says he started researching cannabis after the legality of CBD was questioned.

“Why aren’t we one of the 29 states that don’t criminalize its citizens for seeking a better quality of life?” Lucas says.

Republican legislative leaders indicated Wednesday they will likely not take any significant action in the 2018 session to address issues at the Department of Child Services.

Democrats want the General Assembly to exert its oversight authority on the embattled child welfare agency.

Lawmakers Announce Push To Expand Baby Box Locations

Jan 3, 2018

Lawmakers in the 2018 session want to spread the use of so-called “baby boxes” in Indiana. New legislation would expand last year’s law that legalized the devices meant to serve as a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn.

Courtesy Indiana Senate Republicans

A polarizing figure in the Indiana Senate will step down after the new year.

Republican Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) will resign just before the legislative session gets underway, to follow his wife to Washington, D.C., where both are taking new jobs.

Committee Chair Files Sunday Sales Bill

Dec 22, 2017

Legalized Sunday alcohol sales took an incremental step forward in the legislative process this week. Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) filed legislation on the issue for the 2018 session – as he previously said he would.

Alcohol Tax Increase Unlikely In 2018 Session

Dec 21, 2017

Indiana’s alcohol excise tax hasn’t changed in 36 years. And the state’s Alcohol Code Revision Commission thinks it should, recommending a 25 percent increase.

But Senate Public Policy Committee Chair Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says that won’t happen in 2018.

DCS Chief, Holcomb Disagree On Agency Funding Levels

Dec 18, 2017


Indiana Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says the well-being of Hoosier children has been put at risk because of steps taken by Governor Eric Holcomb’s administration.

Bonaventura’s sharp criticisms came in her resignation letter, delivered to Holcomb last week.