Archive for March, 2009

Senate Committee Hears Budget Transparency Bill

A bill before the Indiana Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee would require all agencies that receive state money to list on a central website how they use the funds they get from the state. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports.


Statehouse Protestors Try to Save Children’s Home

About 80 protestors fighting a state department of health decision to close the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children’s Home in Knightstown were at the statehouse today rallying for lawmakers to pass legislation that would keep the facility for troubled youth open. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports.

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Research Considers Economic Impact of Statewide Smoking Ban

Last week, a report from the Indiana University Center for Health Policy in Indianapolis was released showing the economic impact of smoking bans already in effect in other states. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland spoke with Eric Wright, the author of that report, about what those finding mean for Indiana and a proposed statewide smoking ban being considered by lawmakers.

Freshman Lawmakers Reflect on Time in Office

In the halls and committee rooms of the Indiana statehouse, there’s a group of individuals that hold, perhaps, the most unique perspectives on how things work in state government. Freshman lawmakers come from all walks of life; teachers, business owners, and longtime politicians. But none knows exactly what to expect during their first days in the state capitol. And they learn quickly how tough it is to deliver on the change they promised to affect when they were on the campaign trail. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland spoke to two of them: Democratic Representative Nancy Michael of Greencastle and Republican State Senator Carlin Yodur of Middlebury.

Coal Bill First to be Signed into Law This Session

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today signed into law the first bill of the 2009 legislative session, one that would give coal plants a thirty year guaranteed rate for the price they pay to turn coal into natural gas. It’s a bill that relates directly to a proposed substitute natural gas (SNG) plant in southern Indiana’s Spencer County. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports.

House Proposes Retroactive Property Tax Caps

The Indiana House today hit fast forward on property tax caps that were supposed to be phased in over several years. Under a bill approved last year, property tax caps are supposed to scale back gradually from their current rate to one percent for homeowners, two percent for rental properties, and three percent for businesses. Today’s change would make those final rates apply retroactive to January of this year. Amendment author, Representative William Crawford, a Democrat from Indianapolis, say the change, if approved by the House and then the entire General Assembly, would save about two hundred million dollars for taxpayers this year.

“Keeping their money in their pocket is something that I think taxpayers will appreciate. And it’s not an opportunity for us to play games. What we’re doing is accelerating a process to keep it going.”

House Minority Leader, Republican Brian Bosma of Indianapolis is one of the 85 representatives who voted in favor of the bill. But he also dismissed the change, saying it would almost certainly fail to be approved by legislative leadership when they meet in the final days of the session. He says that’s because of the severe blow a retroactive rate would deal to local government budgets already in effect. Bosma calls the change an attempt by Democrats to avoid voting instead on putting property tax caps in the state constitution. Today’s vote was on second reading. One additional vote is still required in the House before the bill can head to legislative leaders for a conference committee hearing.

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Charter School Supporters Rally at Statehouse

About two hundred supporters of Indiana charter schools gathered at the statehouse today, voicing their opposition of a House-approved budget that would place a moratorium on the creation of any new charter schools in the state. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports.