Government News

Indiana lawmakers return to Indianapolis January 4th for the new session.  The top issue appears to be a bill that would give Hoosiers the option to join a union as opposed to being required to pay dues.   As WBAA’s Sam Klemet explains, those on both sides say there are economic benefits and drawbacks.

HUD funds 111 IN programs with more than $14M

Dec 20, 2011

Indiana is benefiting from more than $14 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The renewal money from HUD will help keep 111 programs running in the new year.

Lafayette Transitional Housing Center is receiving a little more than $250,000.  Programs for families ($73,893), singles ($104,186), and supportive services ($75,337) will see the funds.

Family Crisis Shelter in Crawfordsville will get $60,558 for a transitional housing program.

Tippecanoe County Commissioners have given initial approval to new voting districts for the commission and county council.

The Area Plan Commission and election board staff redrew the district lines based on the latest census information.

The county’s population increased 16-percent from 2000 to 2010.

Districts had to be redrawn so that each would include roughly the same number of residents.

Elections officials say maps of the new districts will soon be available on the county website.

WL working on updated WWTU plan

Dec 20, 2011

West Lafayette is updating its long term control plan to reduce the amount of raw sewage that flows into the Wabash River during heavy rain.

City officials looked at several alternatives for controlling Combined Sewer Overflows before deciding on a plan that consists of four projects at a total cost of 24-and-a-half-million dollars.

The Board of Works will consider adopting the document at its meeting next week.

Waste Water Utility director Dave Henderson says state statute requires the city to complete the projects in its long-term control plan by 2027.

New fire chief among changes coming to WL

Dec 19, 2011

The city of West Lafayette will soon have a new fire chief.

Phil Drew will step down at the end of the year at the request of the mayor.  Mayor John Dennis says the department needs new leadership to keep up with changes in the field.

The mayor plans to hire a new chief from within the current ranks.  Until then, Assistant Chief Jeff Holder will serve as interim chief.

With the Super Bowl less than two months away, a bill to close gaps in Indiana’s human trafficking statute is on a fast track.

Attorneys general across the country have focused their attention on human trafficking in the last several months.  And Governor Mitch Daniels says the presence of the Super Bowl shines a spotlight on Indiana.

“The single worst location and occurrence for this exploitation is the Super Bowl.”

Change is coming to two Lafayette city administrative positions.

Jim Morrow and Lou Hill are being replaced as fire chief and human resources director.

Mayor Tony Roswarski says the decision is not due to poor performance or any other problems, but it’s time for the city to move in a different direction.

He says Morrow will stay with the fire department as Lieutenant and Richard Doyle will serve as the interim Chief.  Hill will not continue to work with the city.

Roswarski hopes to have their replacements in place by January 6th.

State revenues are expected to grow, though at a slow rate the next two years, according to forecasts unveiled Wednesday.  And with the addition of recently discovered tax revenue that had been misplaced, the state budget surplus could reach more than $1.7 billion next year. 


Indiana Supreme Court

Indiana's judicial branch released its 2010 Judicial Service Report and revealed the state needs about 597 judges, but only has 441.  This forces judges to work at 135%.

Chief Justice Randall Shepard says the issue of whether Indiana has enough judges for its caseload matters most to people who need to get into court in a more immediate timeframe.

“People who have a divorce or a child custody matter or some need to get injunctive relief.”

The Tippecanoe County Council is taking steps to ensure hazardous waste disposal is not interrupted during a possible transition.

Commissioners could decide to end a contract with Wildcat Creek Solid Waste District this month.

The council approved allocating $110,000 Economic Development Income Tax funds.

County Attorney Dave Luhman says if the commission breaks ties with Wildcat Creek, the money is needed to keep things running until a new tax rate is set in early March to support a similar service.