Mike Pence

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.

Governor Mike Pence expressed frustration with the federal government shutdown Friday, calling on the president and congressional leaders to find common ground. 

Earlier this week, Pence made remarks that seemingly indicated he thought the government shutdown was worthwhile.  On Friday, the governor said he was speaking broadly about efforts to repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act and that he’s disappointed in the shutdown.  He also called out the Obama administration, saying the president needs to take the lead in working out a deal in Congress. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

More than 36,000 low-income Hoosiers with health insurance through the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) will get to keep their coverage for another year.  Indiana reached an agreement with the federal government for an extension of the state’s health insurance program through 2014.

Under HIP’s one year extension, the program will undergo some changes.  Currently, a family of four earning about $47,000 annually, which is 200% of the federal poverty level, is eligible for the program; that income threshold will be lowered to 100%, roughly $23,000 a year for that family of four.

Governor Mike Pence announced the creation of another state agency aimed at helping coordinate Indiana's education and career development efforts. 

Since Pence took office seven months ago, he’s played a part in creating the Indiana Career Council and Regional Works Councils, placing a renewed emphasis on career and technical education.  He’s taken another step in that direction by signing an executive order creating the Center for Education and Career Innovation. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A bipartisan coalition of community, faith and business leaders opposing Indiana’s proposed amendment banning same sex marriage is promising a well-funded campaign against lawmakers who support the measure.

The General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment in 2011 banning same-sex marriage. If the legislature passes it again next year, it would go to the voters in November, 2014, as a referendum.

Pence still wants A-F grades for schools this year

Aug 16, 2013

Governor Mike Pence says schools should still receive state letter grades this year, despite questions about how Indiana’s ex-schools chief calculated last year’s A-through-F ratings.

Pence’s comments to reporters Thursday comes as state officials work to re-write the Indiana’s system for grading schools based on their test scores.  The A-F formula came under fire months before the release of emails from former state superintendent Tony Bennett’s time in office raised fundamental questions about how his staff calculated last year’s grades.

An IU economist says the Leading Index for Indiana – an economic predictor for the state – is sending mixed messages about the health of the Hoosier economy. 

The Leading Index is at its highest point in four months, backed by positive reports from home builders and strong automotive sales.  But Indiana Business Research Center Economic Analysis Director Timothy Slaper says small business optimism is down and rising mortgage rates are dampening enthusiasm. 

Governor Mike Pence says he decided it was more important to pay down state debt this year than put money into the state’s pension stabilization fund. 

Indiana finished the 2013 fiscal year with a nearly half billion dollar surplus, $93 million more than the recently-passed budget bill projected.  Its reserve level of more than $1.9 billion is also higher than expected.

The reserves would have automatically put money into the pension stabilization fund, but Governor Pence says he opted instead to pay off $66 million in bonds for the Miami Correctional Facility.

Governor Mike Pence says he wants the newly-created Indiana Career Council to act with urgency as it looks for ways to improve the preparedness and skill level of Indiana’s workforce.  He named appointees to the four remaining unfilled positions on the council Tuesday.

The Council, created by legislation unanimously approved by the General Assembly last session, will meet for the first time later this month.  Pence says its mission is to develop ideas for transformational change in the state’s workforce development efforts.

Indiana is getting more federal grant money to boost its efforts retraining out-of-work Hoosiers for new economy jobs.

A new $2.4 million federal grant adds to a $58 million state effort for retraining laid-off workers.  Out of the 30 states receiving the U.S. Department of Labor grant, Indiana is receiving the second-highest per capita percentage of those dollars.  Governor Mike Pence says that’s in part because there are more than a million Hoosiers who lack the skills necessary to find one of the thousands of unfilled jobs in the state.