Legislation extensively overhauling Indiana’s criminal code passed its first legislative hurdle without interference, although its sponsors aren’t sure it will continue that way.
Lawmakers and members of the criminal justice system have spent three years working on a bill to comprehensively revise the state’s criminal code. Among other things, it would change sentence lengths and move some crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and vice versa.
Governor Mike Pence says he’s made no decision yet who will run the Family and Social Services Administration or the Department of Child Services.
Pence Wednesday held the first meeting with members of his Cabinet. In attendance were FSSA chief Michael Gargano and DCS director John Ryan, both of whom were appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels. But Pence said he has not decided whether the two men will stay on in his administration.
A state senator is proposing new legislation that would tighten the state’s ban on synthetic drugs. Many synthetic substances were banned last year, but law enforcement officials have had a hard time enforcing the measure.
Current law defines synthetic drugs based on a substance’s chemical makeup. State Sen. Jim Merritt’s bill would significantly expand that definition to include: 1) a substance a reasonable person would believe is a synthetic drug, or 2) a substance that is intended to cause or simulate intoxication.
Governor Mike Pence wants a one percent increase for K through 12 school funding in each of the next two years. Schools would have to earn the extra money in the second year.
The governor’s budget includes around 190 million new dollars for K-12 schools. But Crothersville Democratic Representative Terry Goodin said that’s not enough.
"Our public schools are the number one economic development tool in our state," said Goodin. "So if that’s the case, we need to fund those economic development tools properly. One percent’s probably not going to do that."
Governor Mike Pence went straight to work after being sworn in Monday, signing 15 executive orders, including a measure stripping some authority away from the incoming state superintendent of public instruction.
One of Pence’s first acts in office was to rescind an executive order signed by former Governor Mitch Daniels. The new order shifts oversight of the Education Employment Relations Board from the state superintendent to the governor, where it had historically been before Daniels changed it. The board settles teacher contract disputes.
Monday marked the one month anniversary of the Newtown Connecticut school shooting. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Angola Mayor Richard Hickman, and public safety officials gathered to remember the victims of Sandy Hooke Elementary school and to ask Congress to end gun violence.
Both mayors are members of the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Ball State President Jo Ann Gora says the state’s funding formula for higher education unfairly favors some schools over others.
Gora says the state’s performance funding system is a one-size-fits-all structure that favors large and growing campuses. She says schools like Ball State – which Gora believes has focused on quality, rather than quantity – are penalized.