Governor Mike Pence

Ron Nichols/NRCS

Farmers may shake off a tax burden under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence – but the legislation may place another burden on local governments.

The bill changes the state’s property tax formula for farmland. Its author, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), says it’ll decrease farmers’ tax bills by almost $50 million in 2018.

Benton County Council president Alan Adwell – who’s also a farmer -- says that money has to be made up somewhere, as boards like his mind the property tax caps already in place.

ACLU of Indiana / http://www.aclu-in.org/

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s legal director says the state’s new anti-abortion law “grossly interferes” with a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy.  The ACLU filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Planned Parenthood seeking to strike down the controversial measure.

State of Indiana / http://www.in.gov/fssa/hip/

The federal government will perform an emergency evaluation of the health care program for low-income Hoosiers. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS will explore whether enrollees have difficulty accessing care because of one of the program’s features.

When Indiana and the Obama administration agreed on the terms of HIP 2.0 last year, the state was allowed to forego what’s called “non-emergency medical transportation,” meaning Indiana doesn’t have to cover transportation costs for services like chronic care visits and regular dialysis appointments. 

Joe Gratz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegratz/117048243

A federal judge will not temporarily halt her ruling, and the state will have to provide funding to refugee resettlement organizations while the legal battle over money for resettlement continues.

Indiana’s refugee resettlement program funnels federal money to organizations that help resettle refugees in the state.  Gov. Mike Pence in December announced he was suspending that program for Syrian refugees, cutting off money from resettlement groups such as Exodus Immigration.  Pence says public safety concerns prompted that action. 

State of Indiana / http://www.in.gov/

Governor Mike Pence Thursday signed into law a bill banning abortions performed solely because of a fetus’ gender, race or potential disability. 

The measure also imposes new guidelines for handling aborted and miscarried fetal remains.

The bill drew criticism from doctors, and even some Republican lawmakers, including a few who’ve sponsored anti-abortion bills in the past. 

Pence Vetoes Private College Police Records Bill

Mar 24, 2016
Karin Beil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kbeil/6807532616

Governor Mike Pence Thursday vetoed a bill aimed at requiring more transparency from private university police departments, but which Pence says does the opposite.

The bill would have declared private university police departments public agencies, but at the same time would only require them to disclose records about people they arrest or put in jail.

Governor Pence said in a statement that limiting access to private university police records is a disservice to the public, so he vetoed the bill.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Registration fees at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will decrease for more than two million Hoosiers next year as a result of legislation Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday.

Pence says his administration has been working for years to correct errors and problems at the BMV.  Those issues have generated lawsuit settlements and overcharge repayments that exceed $100 million. 

Pence says a huge step forward in solving those problems is legislation that streamlines the agency’s fee and registration system.

FDA To Add More Warnings To Opioid Medications

Mar 23, 2016
ep_jhu / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ep_jhu/3308079338

The FDA Tuesday announced required safety labeling changes for immediate release opioid pain medications, to warn both prescribers and patients of the risks of abuse, addiction and overdose.

Immediate release opioids are designed to be taken every four to six hours, as opposed to long-acting products which are taken once or twice a day.

Research shows opioid addiction usually begins with prescription abuse. Earlier this week, Dr. Michael Cozzi of Fort Wayne was arrested for over-prescribing controlled substances.

Alex E. Proimos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/

Gov. Mike Pence says he’s still considering whether to sign a bill that bars women from having abortions solely because of a fetus’ potential disability.  Doctors have been reaching out to Pence, urging him to veto the measure.

Pro-life groups say the legislation prevents discrimination against Hoosiers with disabilities.  Some doctors, including members of the Catholic Medical Guilds of Indiana, say women will be spared from taking a life. 

Indiana Economic Development Corporation / http://indianaregionalcities.com/

Gov. Mike Pence Thursday signed into law a bill that guarantees full funding for all three winners of the Regional Cities Initiative, a program aimed at generating economic development cooperation across county and city lines.  And Pence says the legislation can benefit towns and cities beyond those regions.

The three Regional Cities winners – northeast, north central and southwest Indiana – cover 18 counties.  But Pence says the program has spurred work in other parts of the state, including four regions not awarded funding.

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