David Long

Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

Legislation to remove Glenda Ritz as chair of the State Board of Education may expand to address other tension points between the board and the superintendent.

Senate President David Long says House and Senate negotiators have talked with Ritz‘s office while seeking what he calls a "holistic fix" to the turf battles which have plagued the board.

"There's only one thing people focus on and that's the chairmanship," says Long. "But for the board to work effectively it must have the information it needs on our outcomes out there to help guide the policy."

Senate President Long: RFRA Strife Good For The State

Apr 16, 2015
Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is trying to find a silver lining to the kerfuffle concerning the state’s so-called “religious freedom” bill. Long says lawmakers are now more sensitive to issues involving the LGBT community.

He says relevant discussions are now, in his words, "on the front burner" and the entire ordeal was, as he puts it "a good thing for our state to go through."

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

It‘s the Senate‘s turn next week to take up an ethics reform bill. Senate leaders tweaked some wording in the ethics bill before sending it to the floor.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), who authored the bill, says the changes plug one potentially significant loophole, extending a ban on former executive-branch employees doing business with their old agencies to cover them even if they‘re independent contractors.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Speaker Brian Bosma says his caucus is close to final agreement on a legislative fix for the controversial religious freedom bill. 

Easter, Final Four Shortening Timeline To Fix RFRA

Apr 1, 2015
Frankie Leon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/16671230120

If Statehouse Republicans hope to meet Governor Mike Pence’s end-of-the-week deadline fix the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, they’ll have to make those fixes Thursday.

That’s because the Easter holiday weekend and the culmination of the NCAA basketball tournament Monday mean lawmakers are about to take a four-day weekend.

House Speaker Brian Bosma maintains the bill never allowed discrimination, but says new language will clarify that point.

Senate President David Long says the language is still in discussion and nothing has been decided.

Brandon Smith / http://www.ipbs.org/

Republican legislative leaders say they want to help turn the tide against the backlash that’s erupted over Indiana’s so-called religious freedom bill.  They say that will involve making it clear the law does not allow discrimination.

jypsygen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jypsygen/

Legislative leaders say they‘re ready to support requiring prescriptions for cold remedies such as Sudafed, to prevent drug dealers from using it to make methamphetamine.

But rank-and-file legislators may not be ready to go along.   

State law already limits how much medication containing pseudoephedrine a person can buy, and requires pharmacies to keep it behind the counter.

But Indiana still led the nation in meth lab busts in 2013, and House Speaker Brian Bosma says he’s now convinced the state needs to go further.

Senate Budget To Follow House, Increase School Funding

Feb 25, 2015
Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the Senate’s version of the budget will follow the House’s lead in steering more money to schools.

House Republicans’ budget gives schools a nearly half-billion-dollar increase over two years, double what Governor Pence proposed.

Long (R-Fort Wayne) suggests the governor lowballed the figure to give legislators room to increase it. Long says legislators will give schools as much as they can while keeping the budget balanced.

Lisa Brewster / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sophistechate/2670946312

Legislation aimed at helping Indiana’s struggling gaming industry easily cleared the House Wednesday.  But its path to final approval may be more difficult.

The gaming bill would allow riverboats to move on land, give casinos a ten percent tax credit for new construction, and allow racetrack casinos to replace some of their electronic table games with table games that have live dealers. 

The bill’s outcome became less certain this week when Governor Mike Pence objected to the live dealers as an unwanted expansion of gaming. 

File photo

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says legislators are prepared to move quickly on any action needed to shorten the ISTEP exam.

Long says legislators would accelerate their normal procedures to trim a projected 12 hours of testing time before testing begins at the end of the month.

But he says lawmakers won‘t support suggestions to place the A-to-F school accountability grades on hold, which state school superintendent Glenda Ritz is advocating.