Governor Mike Pence

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

Lawmakers say they’re excited about the transformative effect the state’s Regional Cities program can have in linking communities and fostering economic development.  But some are less enthusiastic about simply handing over more tax amnesty money to pay for it.

Intiaz Rahim / https://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatedisco/

Indiana faith leaders will meet Friday with Syrian refugee families in Indianapolis.

Leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths will gather with Syrian refugee families Friday night to send the message that they’re welcome in the Hoosier State.

The Syrian American Council organized the gathering.

Council spokesperson Omar Hossino says Governor Mike Pence was invited to attend Friday night’s meeting but has declined because of a scheduling conflict. However, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller will attend the meeting.

Robert Carr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/myconstructionphotos/1525875787/

Communities across Indiana would receive more than $400 million for road and bridge projects under a plan unveiled Thursday by State Senator Brandt Hershman. 

The Republican from Buck Creek wants to give back to municipalities and counties some of the local income tax dollars the state holds in reserve.

Typically, local governments only get those dollars if the reserve balance exceeds 50 percent of annual collections.

The balance is currently around 25 percent. But Hershman says he wants to give locals that money, about $418 million, for roads.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has resettled a family of Syrian refugees in Indianapolis despite Governor Mike Pence's suspension of state assistance for resettlement of Syrians in Indiana.

 The family arrived Monday night in Indianapolis, according to a statement released by Archbishop Joseph Tobin.  The family has relatives living in Indianapolis, Tobin says.

 

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence wants the Obama administration to halt an evaluation of the HIP 2.0 program, arguing that the contractor chosen by the federal government is biased against Indiana’s healthcare program. 

The federal waiver Indiana received earlier this year to operate HIP 2.0 requires the state to hire an independent evaluator for the program.  The state did so months ago and that evaluation is ongoing. 

Alberto G. / https://www.flickr.com/photos/albertogp123/

In preliminary numbers compiled by the State Board of Education staff, 17 percent of Indiana's K through 12 schools will be considered failing under the state's A through F accountability system. 

In 2014, 4 percent of schools were considered failing. 

Last year the number of schools receiving a D or F on the state’s accountability system was around 10 percent.

Preliminary data this year says that number jumps to 36 percent.

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

Governor Pence says he's reached no conclusions about legislation to extend civil rights protections to gays and lesbians.

Both parties in the Senate have introduced civil rights bills.

Democrats' bill simply adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.

Pence echoes Senate Republicans, who say protection needs to be paired with safeguards for religious beliefs, but says he's still studying the issue, including the Republican bill which seeks to write both protections into state law.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

Governor Pence says a White House letter seeking to reassure governors about the Syrian refugee program isn't enough to satisfy his concerns.

Pence says he appreciates the outreach from chief of staff Denis McDonough promising breakdowns of refugees by age, gender and nationality.

But he says what's really needed is FBI and Homeland Security involvement to be certain the U.S. isn't admitting terrorists. He notes FBI director James Comey has said the U.S. can't make that guarantee now.

Steve Burns / WTIU

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Gov. Mike Pence to stop him from blocking federal funds that help Syrian refugees move to Indiana.

The ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, a nonprofit corporation that assists refugees with federal money funneled through the state.

Exodus Executive Director Carleen Miller refuted claims that accepting refugees from Syria poses a security risk, citing the minimum 18-month vetting process each refugee goes through to move to the United States.

Waiting For The Word / https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/5602081913

A prominent group of Indiana-based Christians is speaking out against Governor Pence's refusal to admit Syrian refugees to the state.

Christian Church of the Disciples of Christ spokesperson Cherilyn Willams says the church’s opposition to the Governor's move isn't based on politics or ideology.

“We’re very disappointed in the attitude of fear that seems to be prevalent,” Williams says. “Knowing that these folks have been vetted, they are our brothers and sisters as God’s children and it feels like we’re not being very welcoming.”

Pages