Mike Pence

Eric Molina / https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamagenious/

Governor Mike Pence’s Drug Abuse Task Force is scheduled for only three meetings, with some questioning whether much can be accomplished in such a short period.  Task force co-chair John Hill says the three meetings might just be the beginning.

The first task force meeting took place in Indianapolis earlier this month; the other two will take place in Evansville and South Bend.  Hill says he wants the group to address some of the most pressing issues in those meetings and provide recommendations for legislative action next session:

Mike Demers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdd/9890957405/

Governor Pence is dismissing charges by opponents that the closure of a bridge on I-65 near Lafayette is a result of neglected maintenance.

Pence says the bridge over Tippecanoe County’s Wildcat Creek was scheduled for replacement next spring. But while engineers are still trying to determine exactly why the bridge sank several inches into the ground, Pence says INDOT's tentative conclusion is that other construction work caused the bridge to settle.

He says engineers are studying whether erosion around an underground aquifer may have played a role as well.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Pence administration officials say they’ll work with press organizations to carefully evaluate the proposed state news service before it’s unveiled to the public. 

Pence’s communications director Christy Denault says the original intent of the Just IN news service was to serve as a clearinghouse, a “one-stop shop,” for press releases from all state agencies. 

She says the current system, a state news calendar, didn’t display releases from nearly half of the state’s 90 agencies. 

Governor praises response to the winter storm

Jan 6, 2014

State officials say they’re meeting the challenges presented by the winter storm, but admit the work is not done yet.

Governor Mike Pence says the frigid cold is still dangerous and Hoosiers should stay home if they don’t need to go out.

He’s declaring a state of emergency for 27 counties, and says more could be added to the list.

Indiana State Police superintendent Doug Carter says the crisis center will continue operating until late Tuesday. More than 300 troopers are on patrol or helping coordinate activities Monday.

Pence urges Hoosiers to prepare for winter storm

Jan 4, 2014

Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement Saturday in advance of the winter weather heading to Indiana:

“In preparation for the inclement weather, I encourage Hoosiers to assemble an emergency preparedness kit with plenty of non-perishable food and water, fill any necessary prescriptions, ensure they have a safe heating source, avoid unnecessary travel, and be careful if they must be outside.

Pre-K voucher program could cost IN $60M

Dec 31, 2013

One of Governor Mike Pence’s legislative priorities is passing a voucher-style pre-K program for four year olds. While there’s popular support for early learning among Hoosier lawmakers, it would not be cheap.

About 10,000 of the roughly 40,000 low-income kids who would qualify for state-funded preschool each year under Pence’s proposal are already enrolled in Head Start. And it’s unlikely that every one of the remaining 30,000 four year olds would participate, says Brookings Institute fellow Russ Whitehurst.

Governor Mike Pence says Indiana needs to help its cities invest a billion dollars over the next decade to make themselves more attractive to businesses and talent.  He is calling it his “billion dollar cities” plan.

Pence says young professionals are increasingly deciding where they want to live before looking for a job, meaning it’s become more important for Indiana’s mid-size cities to improve what he calls “quality of place.”  And Pence says that covers a wide range of issues.

State of Indiana

Indiana State Auditor Dwayne Sawyer will step down just four months after taking the job. 

Governor Mike Pence appointed Sawyer in August, replacing now-State Republican Party Chair Tim Berry. 

Sawyer was the first African-American Republican to hold statewide office.  The Brownsburg native submitted his letter of resignation to Pence Monday.  In it, Sawyer cites personal and family concerns as the reason for his departure. 

Pence says he wants to assure Hoosiers that Sawyer’s job performance had nothing to do with his resignation.

Governor Mike Pence will tour Indiana communities hit by yesterday's storms.

That includes Lafayette, where the governor will join Mayor Tony Roswarski to see the damage in and around the city.

Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita (roh KEE tuh) is expected to join Pence on the tour.

Governor Mike Pence announced Friday that he’s asked a national group to facilitate a discussion “within the State Board of Education,” hoping to de-escalate the tensions among Indiana’s top education policymakers.  Pence’s announcement comes two days after State Superintendent Glenda Ritz abruptly adjourned a meeting of the State Board without a vote.

Rift between Ritz, SBOE widens

Nov 14, 2013

State superintendent Glenda Ritz abruptly ended a meeting of the State Board of Education without a vote Wednesday, but board members refused to leave.  The tense situation is part of a power struggle between Ritz and the State Board for control of the state’s education agenda.

Directly at issue was a motion State Board member Brad Oliver offered during Wednesday’s meeting.  He wanted to authorize staff for Governor Mike Pence’s newly-created education agency, which oversees the State Board, to take a formal role in reviewing the state’s academic standards. 

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg says he won’t run for governor of Indiana again. 

In a statement, the former Indiana House Speaker says he has not stopped working since his electoral loss to Mike Pence last November.  The Sandborn Democrat says he’s met with party leaders and elected officials and planned on being the Democratic nominee for governor in 2016. 

However, now despite what he calls “overwhelming support and encouragement to make another run,” he says he will not seek the nomination, opting instead to focus on his family.

The Hoosier State passenger rail line will keep running for another year after the state reached an agreement Tuesday with Amtrak just hours before funding was scheduled to run out. 

Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says the state Inspector General’s investigation into the school grade changing scandal involving former State Superintendent Tony Bennett is taking too long.

Indiana’s new Regional Works Councils have a deadline fast approaching – and only one of the 11 councils has met. 

The Works Councils – an initiative of Governor Mike Pence that was made a reality by legislation passed this year – are meant to boost career and technical education on a regional basis, connecting local business needs with education efforts.  The members of each board were named only last month and their first reports to the state’s Education Roundtable are due November 1.

Still, Pence says he’s confident the work will be done on time.