Indiana Governor Changes Stance On Teacher Pay Action

Jan 7, 2020
Brandon Smith/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor has opened the door to potentially boosting school funding and teacher pay after weeks of refuting any plans on such action until next year.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t give any details Monday of what he would propose during his annual State of the State speech next week, while a top legislative Democrat promised his party would push for more school funding in the wake of a November rally that drew several thousand teachers to the Statehouse.

The Republican-dominated Legislature began its 2020 session on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) dropped out of the governor’s race Monday.

That leaves two Democrats looking to unseat Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The surprising announcement comes shortly after the last campaign fundraising period ended – and it appears it didn’t go well for Melton. In a statement, the Gary Democrat said, “Unfortunately politics today require way too much of a candidate’s time being spent on the phone chasing dollars.”

Melton says he’ll instead run for another four years in the state Senate, to which he was first elected in 2016.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Marijuana advocates gathered outside the Statehouse Monday in support of several bills. Lawmakers who spoke at the rally say they don’t expect legalization this year, but they’re making steps forward. 

Outside the Statehouse, advocates asked lawmakers – specifically Gov. Eric Holcomb – to reconsider their position on medical or recreational marijuana.

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) has introduced cannabis legislation for the past 10 years.

Indiana General Assembly

Indiana lawmakers say they’ll push forward with legislation to increase the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

That’s despite Congress already making that change to federal law.

Raising the legal age to smoke and vape to 21 is on the agenda of both House and Senate Republicans this year. And Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) says that’s despite federal lawmakers already changing the law nationwide.

“Well, on the outside chance they decide to change that, we would still have that in place,” Bray says.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Lawmakers and activists gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to support redistricting reform ahead of the new maps drawn in 2021. The bipartisan group promoted two bills for greater transparency in redistricting.

Next year, Indiana’s Constitution requires legislators to redraw maps for state and federal voting districts based on population data from the U.S. Census. 

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says Republican leadership has put off the issue since the maps were redrawn in 2011.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House Democrats say they want the state to invest in “human capital” this year – everything from paid family leave to teacher pay raises and better mental health care access in schools.

The House minority caucus unveiled its 2020 agenda Monday.

The sharpest dividing line between Democrats and Republicans in the 2020 session is becoming clearer: how to spend excess state surplus dollars. Republicans have focused on reducing future state debt by paying cash for big capital projects.

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) has a different idea.

Jill Sheridan/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Children's Museum of Indianapolis says it set an attendance record during 2019, breaking a mark that had stood for a decade.

The museum recorded just over 1.3 million visitors last year, topping its 2009 record by about 8,300 people.

Ten years ago, the museum’s attendance was boosted by hosting a King Tut exhibit and opening its Egypt exhibit.

For 2019, its special exhibits included “Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds” and “PAW Patrol Adventure Play.”


EAST LANSING, Mich (AP) — An official with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union says 2,300 cards were charged with false transactions to an international televangelist network.

Officials with the Lansing-area credit union say it's unclear who was behind the fraudulent charges to LoveWorld TV.

Each charge was under $100 and will be refunded.

The credit union says it is also issuing new cards to members who were affected.

Indiana Lawmakers Back At Statehouse For 2020 Session

Jan 6, 2020

Indiana lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse for the start of their 2020 session, with contentious debates over education matters looking likely again.

The Indiana House and Senate will meet Monday afternoon at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to begin a session that's scheduled to last until early March.

Their return comes seven weeks after several thousand teachers attended a Statehouse rally, calling for better pay and more respect from the Republican-dominated Legislature.

Authorities say a body found in a northwest Indiana pond has been identified as a Chicago man who family members say had been missing for weeks.

The La Porte County coroner has identified the man as 47-year-old Joseph Clopton of Chicago.

He went missing in mid-December. Family members and friends searched his Chicago neighborhood for him.

Authorities say he was found near Fish Lake in Indiana outside a bait shop. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.  


Twins Born In Indiana Have Birthdays In Different Decades

Jan 5, 2020

Twins born at an Indiana hospital around New Years Day have birthdays in different decades.

 Dawn Gilliam delivered one baby at 11:37 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2019, and second baby 30 minutes later at 12:07 a.m. on January 1, 2020.  She and her partner Jason Tello say they're still overwhelmed.  The twins weren't due until mid-February.  The siblings have been recovering in the neonatal intensive care unit of Ascension St. Vincent in Carmel.  Gilliam says she pictures future New Years Eves will be family celebrations.  

New Indiana Rule Adds Risk Assessments For Booked Inmates

Jan 5, 2020
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Criminal justice officials say a new Indiana rule requiring that booked inmates be assessed to determine the risks or benefits of releasing them before trial is expected to eventually reduce overcrowding at the state’s county jails.

Criminal Rule 26 was adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017 but it didn’t take effect statewide until Jan. 1.

The new system requires that all inmates be released on bond or recognizance unless they present a "substantial risk of flight or danger to themselves or others."

Report Blames 65 Indiana Child Deaths On Abuse Or Neglect

Jan 5, 2020
Indiana Dept. of Child Services

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new report shows that 65 Indiana children died from abuse or neglect during 2018, the same number as its last year-long review.

The Indiana Department of Child Services said it investigated 242 child fatalities in that happened in 2018, determining that 26% of those deaths were from abuse or neglect.

Northwestern Indiana’s Lake County had the most abuse or neglect deaths during 2018 with eight, while central Indiana’s Madison County was next highest with five.

Stock Photo

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Michigan's population grew by less than 3,000 residents last year, apparently keeping the state on track to lose one congressional seat following the 2020 Census.

The Detroit News reports the figures released Wednesday reveal Michigan saw an increase of 2,785 residents, bringing its total to 9,986,857.

An online apportionment tool from the University of Michigan Population Studies Center indicates that Michigan appears on pace to lose a congressional seat due to other states surpassing its growth.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Health officials say influenza and flu-like symptoms have contributed to more visits to Indianapolis-area emergency rooms than at any point during the past decade.

The Marion County Health Department says the primary complaint of 6.2% of ER visits in the week ending Dec. 28 was flu-like symptoms.

The Indianapolis Star reports the previous high of the past 10 years was about 5.3% during the 2017-18 flu season.