Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.

Student Press Freedom Bill Fails On House Floor

Feb 5, 2018

A bill to provide some press freedoms to Indiana students failed to garner enough votes for passage on the House floor Monday.

Rep. Ed Clere’s (R-New Albany) bill would prevent school officials from censoring student journalists’ content or disciplining students because of what they produce. But Clere says the bill does not provide free reign to students.

Senate Votes To Legalize Cannabidiol

Feb 5, 2018

The Indiana Senate approved legislation Monday to allow anyone in the state to buy or sell cannabidiol, or CBD.

The Senate’s bill is similar to language approved last week by the House – meaning CBD legalization appears to have a clear path forward this session.

Single Diploma Measure Moves Through House

Feb 5, 2018

Monday marks the last day for Indiana lawmakers to move legislation out of the House of Representatives, and a handful of education measures received approval.

One of those bills, House Bill 1426, would address a change in federal graduation rate calculations. It would create a single high school diploma structure to meet those federal rules, and is a welcome solution to a problem many state and school officials have shared concern over in recent months.

The House approved legislation Monday to eliminate the fee for Indiana’s lifetime handgun carry license.

Cash from gun carry permits typically goes to local law enforcement agency budgets. And some expressed concerns eliminating the fee would cut into police funding.

Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), the bill’s author, says the fee elimination doesn’t take effect until July 2019.

The 24th annual Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Book was released Monday. The data tool measures the well-being of Hoosier children. Overall Indiana ranks 28th nationally, but near the bottom in several categories.

This year’s data is broken up by race and ethnicity. Indiana Youth Institute President Tamil Silverman says this year’s data gives a clearer picture of which groups of Hoosier children face the greatest challenges.

The state’s goal to prepare Hoosiers for life after high school is a major theme for education changes this year. And this week lawmakers will vote on legislation to make more students ready for the workforce.

One bill up for discussion would require schools to implement “soft skill” standards in their curriculum. Those include things like how a person works with others, or shows up dressed for their job. Lawmakers want schools to help more kids develop those, largely due to a push from employers who say workers lack those skillsets.

Messer, Rokita Dodge On DACA Path To Citizenship

Feb 2, 2018

Indiana U.S. Representatives – and U.S. Senate candidates – Luke Messer and Todd Rokita won’t say for sure whether they’ll support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

DACA is a federal program that shields undocumented immigrants who came to the U-S as children. About 10,000 Hoosiers are enrolled.

President Donald Trump says he supports a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, over a period of around a decade.

Rep. Messer (R-Shelbyville) says the focus in immigration negotiations needs to be border security.

House Approves Controversial School Management Bill

Feb 1, 2018

House lawmakers are moving forward with a controversial school financial management bill. Lawmakers debated HB 1315 for nearly two hours Thursday before passing it, and some members, including Rep. Earl Harris (D-East Chicago), say they’re concerned the legislation takes too much power away from the locally elected school boards of struggling schools.

“I’m very much uncomfortable with us taking away the will of the voters in terms of the school board. The school board is voted in,” Harris says.

The Indiana State Department of Health has awarded $127,000 in naloxone kits to rural Indiana counties. The opioid overdose reversal medication is going to the counties with high numbers of emergency room overdose visits.

Thirty-four rural counties will receive nearly 3,400 naloxone kits, to be distributed to first responders. The federal grant money is part of a larger $3.2 million gift the state received last year.

House lawmakers rejected an effort Thursday to allow voters in small townships to have their own say on consolidation.

The underlying bill would force townships of 1,200 people or less to consolidate with an adjacent unit by 2023.

Senate Passes Bill To Broaden Feticide Law

Feb 1, 2018

The Senate easily approved legislation Thursday that would allow prosecutors to bring a second murder charge against someone who kills a pregnant woman and causes the death of her fetus.

Current law would allow that – but only if the fetus is viable. Sen. Aaron Freeman’s (R-Indianapolis) bill would eliminate the need for viability.

An independent consultant’s evaluation of the Department of Child Services has taken small steps in its first month on the ground. The consultant delivered its first progress report on the assessment Thursday – an update that’s yielded more questions than answers.

The evaluation of DCS began Jan. 2 and consultant Sue Steib says it’s expected to end in June. Steib says her group has already identified an agency issue: an ineffective data system.

Lawmakers Move Bill To Get More Teachers Into Schools

Jan 31, 2018

With a teacher shortage in the state, lawmakers want to help license more teachers by waiving some testing requirements some educators see as a barrier to getting into the classroom.

Shon Harris says he’s had trouble passing the math requirement for his elementary school teacher license. In part, because it includes material he won’t even teach his fourth grade students.

“It goes all the way up to high school geometry, despite the fact that most of the skills on the test won’t be taught in the elementary classroom,” Harris says.

Opioid Treatment Expansion Bill Passes House

Jan 31, 2018

A bill to expand opioid treatment center options in Indiana passed the House this week, which would add nine treatment programs in the state.

Indiana currently has 18 opioid treatment center options and this bill would increase that number to 27. House Bill 1007 author Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) says the centers would be approved to operate at local hospitals that apply.

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months. Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) says the loans are aimed at those with poor credit who have nowhere else to turn.

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