Everything you want to know about Indiana and the Syrian refugee controversy

(A 4 min. animated video below, narrated by Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, explains the process of screening Syrian refugees. Additional comments will be found here. – Admin.) IndyStar.com By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau 11/21/15 WASHINGTON — Indiana drew national attention this week after Gov. Mike Pence asked that a Syrian refugee family be sent to another state, the first redirection of a refugee family since more than half the nation’s governors raised security concerns about Syrians. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy welcomed the family Wednesday, saying that giving them … Continue reading

Local roads would miss out in Gov. Mike Pence’s $1 billion spending plan

(A Presidential Debate schedule and transcripts are here. – Admin.) IndyStar.com By Tony Cook 10/15/15 Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed $1 billion spending plan on highways over the next four years would represent an increase over current spending — but it leaves out a large portion of Indiana’s roads and bridges. That’s because the plan would only fund state-maintained highways and bridges. While those are generally the most traveled, they make up only about a third of the state’s transportation infrastructure. Counties and cities maintain most of the rest. But they would not receive … Continue reading

What you need to know about state and federal gas taxes

The main source of transportation funding — federal and state gas taxes — has not kept up with the need IndyStar.com By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau 9/7/15 WASHINGTON – Federal and state policymakers haven’t figured out how to deal with the fact that the main source of transportation funding — federal and state gas taxes — has not kept up with the need. The details: What is the federal gas tax? The federal government imposes an 18.4 cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 24.4 cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel. … Continue reading

Transportation funding at a crossroads in Indiana, U.S.

The state is not collecting enough in gasoline taxes to adequately maintain its roads and bridges IndyStar.com By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau 9/7/15 WASHINGTON – Are you willing to spend $6.62 more a month in federal gasoline taxes to get the nation’s roads and bridges in good condition? How about spending $5.50 a month more just to keep transportation infrastructure from deteriorating below its current “D” rating? Or would you pay an extra $2.50 a month to get Indiana’s gas tax back to the buying power it had when the … Continue reading

GOP struggling to find challenger for (Indiana’s) Glenda Ritz

GOP struggling to find challenger for Glenda Ritz IndyStar.com By Chelsea Schneider 8/30/15 When Glenda Ritz toppled Republican school superintendent Tony Bennett in 2012, it ignited one of the state’s most partisan political battles. Over the past two years, Ritz’s opponents have worked to weaken her control over Hoosier schools. All the while, Ritz has fought to try and show she and the state’s teachers and schoolchildren are the true victims of the rancor. The divide grew even deeper with Ritz and Gov. Mike Pence going head-to-head over education policy. … Continue reading

Indiana’s got a problem: Too many teachers don’t want to work there anymore

The Washington Post By Valerie Strauss 8/13/15 Indiana’s got a problem: Teachers increasingly don’t want to work in the state anymore. The problem has become so acute that some school districts have have had a hard time finding enough teachers to cover classes for the new school year — and some lawmakers want a legislative committee to discuss the shortage. The percentage of all teachers getting a teaching license — including veterans — fell by more than 50 percent from 2009-10 to 2013-14 — and there was an 18.5 percent … Continue reading

Goshen, Indiana is a flashpoint in LGBT rights fight

Battle in small town signals upcoming statewide debate How a small Indiana city became a gay rights battleground IndyStar.com By Stephanie Wang 8/3/15 GOSHEN — In a cradle of conservatism about 150 miles northeast of Indianapolis, a powerful lobbyist stood up inside a church and declared Elkhart County the next political battleground in Indiana. What happens in Elkhart and Goshen with gay rights, he said, would set the stage for what could happen statewide. “You’re in the middle of this,” conservative lobbyist Eric Miller of Advance America told the Calvary … Continue reading

Full text of Pence’s remarks announcing re-election bid

Gov. Mike Pence’s speech announcing re-election bid IndyStar.com 6/18/15 This is the full text of Gov. Mike Pence’s speech as prepared for delivery at the Republican Spring Dinner on Thursday: Thank you to the love of my life for thirty years this month, Karen Pence. What a great crowd, what a great night. It is great to be with my friend, Chairman Jeff Cardwell, Senator Dan Coats, other elected officials and county chairs. And a dear friend and a great American governor, Bill Haslam of Tennessee Four years ago this … Continue reading

Defiant Pence vows to be tough campaigner in re-election bid

IndyStar.com By Tony Cook 6/19/15 A defiant Gov. Mike Pence pledged, despite poor poll numbers after a high-profile controversy over the state’s new religious freedom law, to fight his political opponents — even if it means running a less positive campaign than the one he ran in 2012. “I will ensure our state remains true to those ideals, but we will not cower to intolerance from any quarter,” he told a friendly crowd of about 800 people at the Indiana Republican Party’s Spring Dinner. “For those expecting a campaign like … Continue reading

Brian Howey: Glenda Ritz seeks education showdown with Gov. Pence

Brian Howey evaluates the race for governor now that Glenda Ritz has announced. The Elkhart Truth By Brian Howey 6/4/15 INDIANAPOLIS — It was noon on Friday, Nov. 6, 2003, as citizen Mitch Daniels stood among diners at Don & Dona’s restaurant in downtown Franklin. Over his shoulder on TV was Gov. Joe Kernan, reversing his stunning announcement from the year prior not to run in 2004. Daniels welcomed Kernan back to the race. “No one can predict the ultimate political effect, but from a citizen’s standpoint, this is absolutely … Continue reading