Legislature

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Local health officials across Indiana can no longer impose emergency rules stricter than the state’s after Republicans overrode the governor’s veto. Local legislative bodies – county commissioners or city councils – will have to enact those restrictions instead.

(FILE PHOTO: Brandon Smith/IPB News)

State leaders will provide an update on House Bill 1001, Indiana’s two-year budget .

Gov. Eric Holcomb will be joined by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, House Speaker Todd Huston, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, Rep. Tim Brown, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; Sen. Ryan Mishler, Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; and Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston.

Watch live here:

Michigan Senate OKs $2B In Virus Aid, Targets Vaccine Distribution

Feb 25, 2021
PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Senate have moved to stop the state from distributing additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to more vulnerable communities, saying race and socioeconomic status should not be factors.

(AP PHOTO/CARLOS OSORIO, FILE)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least 50,000 nursing home staff, home health aides and other direct care workers in Michigan will lose a $2 hourly pandemic pay raise next week if the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer do not enact COVID-19 relief aid. Disability advocates are sounding the alarm ahead of lawmakers’ return to session Tuesday. Some Medicaid-funded caregivers, including those who help people in their homes, first got the wage hike last April through an order issued by the governor.

KENT NISHIMURA / LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s chief elections officer has announced a legislative agenda she says will ensure fair and secure elections following a huge increase in absentee voting and unfounded accusations of voter fraud in the November general election. Michigan had its highest ever voter turnout in 2020 with about 5.5 million votes cast. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told reporters Monday that she’s looking to keep that momentum going and make it easier to vote.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana legislative leaders say they’re preparing to come in for a special session later this year to redraw legislative district lines.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s state tax revenues have largely stabilized from the plunges seen early in the coronavirus-caused recession, although state budget leaders are warning that money could remain tight as legislators begin work on a new two-year spending plan. New revenue projections presented Wednesday to the State Budget Committee showed Indiana could end the current budget year with about the same $2.3 billion in reserves as two years ago.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Advocates for Hoosier women say the effects of COVID-19 make it more apparent the state should pass a law requiring paid family leave – and that’s one of several issues they hope state lawmakers discuss when the legislative session begins in January.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

UNDATED (AP) — A coalition of activist groups is making a new push against what it called partisan gerrymandering by Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature. Coalition leaders said Monday they would form a citizens commission that will hold virtual town hall meetings and propose new voting districts to the General Assembly before lawmakers approve new congressional and legislative district maps next year using 2020 Census information.

BRANDON SMITH/IPB NEWS

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers won’t be compelled to wear face masks as they meet next week at the Statehouse for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic was first sweeping across the country in March. The Legislature’s organizational meeting set for Tuesday will occur as the state’s rates for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have soared in recent weeks and a statewide mask mandate issued by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has been in effect since July.

(FILE PHOTO: Brandon Smith/IPB News)

 

State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) announced Monday he is retiring after 30 years in the legislature. He said he will step down on Nov. 4.

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders have reached a deal to address a shortfall in the current budget caused by COVID-19 and its impact on the state’s economy.

Michigan Legislature Approves More Pandemic Response Aid

Jun 18, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislature has approved spending $880 million in federal relief aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic, setting aside funding for frontline workers, municipalities and child care providers. The bill would allocate more than a quarter of the $3 billion sent to state government by Congress and President Donald Trump. The Senate plans to pass the legislation later Wednesday. It's expected to be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan Legislature Sues To Block Whitmer's Virus Orders

May 6, 2020
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Legislature has sued Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, asking a judge to declare invalid and unenforceable her stay-at-home order and other measures issued to combat the coronavirus. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, says a 1945 law giving the governor broad emergency powers governs local, not statewide, declarations like one in place since March. The suit also says a 1976 law gives Whitmer emergency authority only for a limited period that expired.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some Indiana doctors are raising fears about possible loss of emergency services under a plan to limit “surprise” medical bills that can plague patients who have been unknowingly treated by providers from outside their insurance networks.

The proposed state law is a top priority of House and Senate leaders in the Republican-dominated Legislature who see it as a step toward reigning in health care costs.

Fetal Remains Disposal Bill Advances Easily To House

Feb 7, 2020
Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Senate easily sent legislation to the House that builds on a 2016 anti-abortion law dealing with fetal remains.

That law – which only took effect last year after the U.S. Supreme Court OK'd it – requires health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains.

Teacher Gun Training Requirements Bill Clears Senate

Feb 5, 2020
Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Teachers who want to carry guns in schools would have to undergo 40 hours of training under a bill approved by the Senate this week.

The measure now heads to the House, where similar legislation died last year.

The bill requires training in weapons, legal ramifications, 911 calls and a mental health evaluation. It also requires 16 hours of renewal training each year.

But Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) doesn’t want more guns in schools at all.

“What we’re going to get is a number of well-meaning amateurs who are going to be armed in schools,” Stoops says.

Speed Cameras Bill Won't Advance In 2020 Session

Feb 4, 2020
FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Legislation to allow speed cameras in Indiana highway work zones is dead.

Its author opted not to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate on the chamber’s mid-session deadline day.

The bill would have created a pilot program – speed cameras in four work zones statewide. Tickets would only have been issued if a driver was caught going 11 miles per hour over the limit while workers were present.

But Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) didn’t call the bill down for a vote.

Ryan Mears/Facebook

A Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that retaliates against Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears over his decision not to prosecute simple marijuana possession.

The measure empowers the attorney general to take over those cases.

The bill says if a local prosecutor makes a policy decision not to prosecute certain crimes, the Indiana Attorney General can appoint a special prosecutor to do so and charge the county to pay for it.

Parvonay Stover represents the AG.

Third Woman Accuses Michigan Lawmaker Of Sexual Harassment

Jan 26, 2020
David Eggert/AP Photo/File

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A third woman has accused a Michigan state legislator of sexual harassment.

Melissa Osborn who works as a regulatory affairs specialist for a trade group.

She tells Crain's Detroit Business that state Sen. Peter Lucido commented on her appearance and clothes while scanning her body and touching her lower back area.

Osborn says it happened at the Michigan Credit Union League's annual government affairs conference in May.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee Wednesday.

The legislation, a priority of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s, now heads to the House floor.

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Legislation to allow speed cameras in highway work zones didn’t get a vote in a Senate committee Tuesday. And its future this session is in doubt.

The proposed bill would only allow Indiana State Police to issue tickets if a driver is caught on camera going at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit in a highway work zone, while workers are present. It also requires signs alerting drivers beforehand and only allows pictures of the rear license plate – not the driver’s face.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House Republicans rejected all of Democrats’ attempts Thursday to change how the state will use its extra state surplus money.

The state collected nearly $300 million more last year than expected. Republicans plan to use it to pay cash for higher education building projects that were approved in the last budget.

Indiana House Speaker Says He’ll Retire After 2020 Session

Nov 19, 2019
Brandon Smith/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The longest-serving leader of the Indiana House has decided to retire after the 2020 legislative session.

Republican Speaker Brian Bosma told lawmakers Tuesday that he would continue in the powerful position that largely controls which proposals are considered until the upcoming session ends in March. Bosma said he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2020 after 34 years in the House.

CREDIT SARAH CWIEK / MICHIGAN RADIO

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan counselors are cheering after the initial passage of legislation aimed at safeguarding their ability to practice psychotherapy.

The state House voted unanimously this week to advance the bill to the Senate. It would clarify the scope of practice for Michigan's 10,000 licensed professional counselors.

The measure is a response to a state department's proposed revision of counseling rules.

Samantha Horton/IPB News

Truck drivers and company owners rallied at the Statehouse Friday urging lawmakers to rethink autonomous commercial vehicles. Those in attendance want more research done before putting the technology out on the roads.

A study this year from the Government Accountability Office reported that up to nearly 1 million truck drivers could lose their jobs to fully autonomous trucks.

State lawmakers will start discussions this week about whether they – and other elected officials – should have to produce personal financial disclosures.        

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. That’s a nonpartisan watchdog organization that follows money in politics.

Mauger says bills up for debate in a state House committee on Wednesday would help the public get a better sense of who their lawmakers are. And see potential conflicts of interest.

“We simply don’t know now. We are on a trust me basis now," Mauger says.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's Democratic governor and Republican leaders announced Friday morning that they've reached an agreement on legislation to cut the country's highest insurance premiums.

A committee plans to study how the state manages its forests this summer. The idea came from a failed House motion by Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) that would have set up a task force to look at practices like logging and make recommendations to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan House Approves E-Cigarette Ban For Minors

May 16, 2019
Cheyna Roth/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation nearing the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would ban minors from using electronic cigarettes, but it is uncertain if she will sign it.

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