Indiana Senate

M Glasgow / https://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgows/

Legislation approved by the Senate Thursday would impose new rules for Indiana’s high-fenced hunting facilities, an industry left entirely unregulated by recent court rulings.  The measure appears headed for success after years of failing in the legislature.

The legislation would mandate minimum fence heights – eight feet – and minimum acreage – 80 acres for the seven existing facilities, 100 acres for any new facilities.  It also bans hunting in the reserves using drones, requires the facilities to report disease and escapes, and allows wild sheep and goats to be hunted. 

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

State lawmakers can carry guns in the Statehouse, and they want their staff members to be able to do the same. A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that would grant that permission.

It’s a violent world, says Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), the author of a bill that would allow staff members, not just lawmakers, to carry handguns in the state capitol building.

Tomes says allowing staff members to defend themselves is especially important, considering what he calls the dangerous area surrounding their workplace in downtown Indianapolis.

Legislators To Consider RFRA Repeal

Jan 8, 2016
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

As legislators ponder adding civil rights protections for gays and lesbians, they'll also revisit the religious-freedom law which sparked the whole debate.

Senators will consider a bill repealing RFRA and replacing it with a new version.

Indianapolis Republican Mike Young says it broadens the focus from freedom of religion to all First Amendment rights and the right to bear arms, classifying those freedoms as "fundamental rights."

Young argues the bill should address objections about how RFRA was drafted.

Robert Carr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/myconstructionphotos/1525875787/

Communities across Indiana would receive more than $400 million for road and bridge projects under a plan unveiled Thursday by State Senator Brandt Hershman. 

The Republican from Buck Creek wants to give back to municipalities and counties some of the local income tax dollars the state holds in reserve.

Typically, local governments only get those dollars if the reserve balance exceeds 50 percent of annual collections.

The balance is currently around 25 percent. But Hershman says he wants to give locals that money, about $418 million, for roads.

Senate Republicans Unveil GOP Anti-Discrimination Bill

Nov 18, 2015
Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Senate Republicans Tuesday unveiled the details of legislation they say strikes a balance between protecting the LGBT community from discrimination and ensuring Hoosiers’ religious freedom.  

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

Democrat State Sen. Mark Stoops of Bloomington wants the Indiana legislature to suspend its rules during a mostly ceremonial session Tuesday to pass a bill that he says will protect students and teaches from low ISTEP scores.

ISTEP test scores are used to set teacher pay and give schools a grade on the state’s A-to-F accountability scale. A school with too many Fs could face takeover by the state.

Jefferson Shreve / Facebook

Two current Indianapolis city-county councilors will go head-to-head in pursuit of a seat in the state Senate.

Jefferson Shreve is kicking off his campaign for the seat being vacated by Sen. Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood), weeks after fellow Republican Jack Sandlin threw his hat in the ring. Shreve praises Sandlin's work on the council, but argues his own credentials are better suited to the legislature than Sandlin's public-safety resume.

Jack Sandlin / http://www.jacksandlin.net/

An Indianapolis city-county councilor is the first entry into the race for an open state Senate seat.

Republican Jack Sandlin is emphasizing his two decades with the Indianapolis Police Department, including a stint as deputy chief. He says he can bring an important perspective to debates over how to control spiraling meth and heroin traffic.

Sandlin says the state needs to go after heroin suppliers while making it easier for users to get treatment. He says the latter has too often been neglected.

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Eric Holcomb steered former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ 2008 reelection campaign, led the Indiana Republican Party and most recently served as State Chief of Staff to Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN).  But Thursday, Holcomb announced a personal first: a run for office:

“And that’s why today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud, I’m excited to announced my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Holcomb says.

Despite never serving in elected office, he says he’s not worried about making the jump all the way to a Senate run:

Legislators Criticize New Energy Efficiency Plan

Mar 26, 2015
Claudio Schwarz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/purzlbaum/131322462/

 Indiana is on the brink of enacting a new energy efficiency plan to replace one repealed last year.

The House has approved a bill requiring electric companies to submit plans every three years for how they‘ll encourage more efficient energy consumption.

Utilities and Energy Chairman Eric Koch (R-Bedford) says the state had some form of efficiency requirement from 2004 until this year, when Governor Mitch Daniels‘ "Energize Indiana" program was formally abolished.

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