State lawmakers hope the third time’s the charm as they seek to eliminate the sale and use of synthetic drugs, often referred to as bath salts.
This year marks the third consecutive session with legislation outlawing synthetic drugs. But Indianapolis Republican Jim Merritt – who has shepherded the effort in the Senate all three years – says state lawmakers and law enforcement know much more now and believe they’ve hit on a lasting solution.
The House Republican budget does not include Governor Mike Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut. But House Democratic leaders are promising the cut will get an up or down vote on the House floor.
The House GOP budget, which will be publicly presented to the Ways and Means committee Monday, includes significant increases in education and roads funding. But it leaves out Governor Pence’s tax cut, and does not assume there will be any taxpayer refund at the end of the budget cycle.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Indiana needs to take the lead in assembling a constitutional convention of the states in an effort to rein in the federal government’s power. Long’s effort aims to produce an amendment to the Untied States Constitution.
To amend the Constitution in a state-initiated way, two-thirds of state legislatures must agree to convene a constitutional convention, at which the amendment is drafted. Three-fourths of the states must then approve the amendment for it to be ratified.
As lawmakers work to create the Indiana Career Council, meant to coordinate the state’s workforce development efforts, they’re placing a special emphasis on addressing unemployment among recent veterans.
The unemployment rate for Indiana’s post-9-11 veterans is 20%, more than double that of the average Hoosier. Indiana National Guard Employment Coordination Program manager Catalina Carrasco said part of the reason so many young veterans are unemployed is a disconnect between veterans and employers.
Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will be resigning as pope later this month, the first pope to do so in six centuries. Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese Bishop Kevin Rhoades took time Monday to praise Benedict's service to the church.
Bishop Rhoades has met with the pope several times throughout his service to the Catholic Church, and said Benedict was warm, kind, and personally encouraging to him when he was a young bishop.
He said when he met with the pope in more recent years, Benedict was genuinely concerned about Hoosier-specific issues in the Catholic Church.
Indiana’s highest-performing high school and college students could get some of their student loans paid back by the government if they teach in some of the state’s neediest subjects and areas.
Under legislation proposed by Indianapolis Democratic Representative Justin Moed, the state would pay back nine thousand dollars in student loans after a graduate of an Indiana college teaches three years in a Hoosier school.
Indiana state senators are used to hearing from special guests during the legislative session, but Thursday lawmakers had an out of this world experience as NASA Commander and Hoosier native Kevin Ford addressed the Senate from aboard the International Space Station.
Indiana’s voucher program could be significantly expanded by loosened eligibility requirements under legislation being considered by the General Assembly.
The state’s current voucher program is available to any student who spends at least one year in public school beyond kindergarten and has an annual income of $64,000 or less for a family of four. Proposed legislation would remove the public school attendance requirement. It would also allow voucher recipients who meet the initial income level to keep their voucher if their income goes up to as much as $127,000 a year.