Grand Opening Set for New LaPorte Licence Branch Location


The LaPorte License Branch has a new place to call home.

BMV Commissioner Kent Abernathy, State Senator Jim Arnold, and State Representative Tom Dermody will be part of tomorrow’s grand opening of the new LaPorte License Branch building at 1301 Pine Lake Road.

The facility where the license branch was previously located caught fire in October. The employees conducted transactions in a mobile unit at the site for only a few days until repairs could be made to the building.

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Dermody Encourages Students to Maintain Four-Year Graduation Pace

A recent Ball State University study has found that the average standard of living for Hoosiers is equivalent to that of 1996, according to a press release from State Representative Tom Dermody. In the release, he emphasized that “now, more than ever, we must incentivize students to obtain college degrees and help make them affordable so that students leaving college experience less debt and can enter the workforce more quickly.”

State Representative Tom Dermody
State Representative Tom Dermody
Dermody said the debt issue faced by college graduates is a nationwide issue that deters high school graduates from pursuing higher education. He referred to a Pew Research Center study that showed that a typical college graduate earns roughly $650,000 more during their career than a high school graduate, and said this and similar studies highlight the importance of a college education in obtaining higher paying jobs and increasing the standard of living for Hoosier families.

“Education,” Dermody said, “is the most important investment that a young adult can make.” He went on to say that as the chair of the Ways and Means Higher Education Subcommittee, he has worked alongside the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to protect that investment while working to not only lower the cost of a degree, but also to limit the amount of student loan debt, increase graduation rates, achieve more degrees for tax dollars spent and help students enter the workforce quickly, earning a self-sustaining income.

In an effort to achieve those goals, Dermody said he authored House Enrolled Act 1348 this year, a law that makes various changes to the Frank O’Bannon Grant and 21st Century Scholars Program. This, he said, will encourage students to maintain a four year graduation pace, because staying on track decreases the debt burden students experience after college.

For more information on Dermody’s efforts, click here.

Rep. Dermody Addresses Midwestern Higher Education Compact

State Representative Tom Dermody
State Representative Tom Dermody
Republican State Representative Tom Dermody of LaPorte spoke at the Midwestern Higher Education Compact summit last week in Indianapolis where a discussion on higher education policy initiatives was held.

A new law authored by Dermody was addressed. House Enrolled Act 1348 gives college incentives to graduates in four years. The new law changes the Frank O’Bannon Grant and 21st Century Scholars Program to give students assistance on classes they complete rather than classes they registered for. It also extends that assistance into the summer months.

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Representative Dermody Worked on Several Bills in Legislative Session

State Representative Tom Dermody
State Representative Tom Dermody
Republican State Representative Tom Demody of LaPorte, who represents District 20 which encompasses LaPorte and Starke counties, helped author many bills to pass out of the General Assembly this legislative session.

House Bill 1348 encourages 21st Century Scholar students to maintain a four-year graduation pace by basing financial assistance on classes completed rather than classes for which students have registered. The bill also extends the assistance into the summer months.

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Senate Bill 152 Moves to Governor’s Desk

Rep. Dermody discusses the bill on the House floor.
Rep. Dermody discusses the bill on the House floor.

Senate Bill 152, co-sponsored by Republican State Representative Tom Dermody of LaPorte, will now go to the governor’s desk and await his signature to become law.

As part of this bill, if a homeowner feels their property assessment was calculated inaccurately, they have the ability to appeal their case to the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA). If the assessed value is increased by a certain amount, PTABOA is responsible for proving whether or not the assessment was done accurately. If a homeowner wins the appeal, a new and more accurate assessment is established and used for taxing purposes.

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State Officials Honor LaPorte High School Student for Essay

Senator Arnold (D-LaPorte), Jessica-Lena Bohlin and Rep. Dermody (R-LaPorte) at the Statehouse.
Senator Arnold (D-LaPorte), Jessica-Lena Bohlin and Rep. Dermody (R-LaPorte) at the Statehouse.

An 11th grader from LaPorte High School was honored at the Statehouse for placing first in an essay contest.

Jessica Bohlin was recognized by Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) for her winning essay in the contest entitled: “Our Food, Our Farmers: Nourishing Generations of Hoosiers.” Five other essay winners were also acknowledged in two other age categories at the Statehouse Tuesday.

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State Representative Dermody Accepts Farm Bureau Endorsement

State Rep. Tom Dermody accepts the Farm Bureau nomination from District One Director Larry Jernas.

State Representative Tom Dermody made an appearance in Starke County this week to accept his endorsement from Farm Bureau. Dermody accepted the endorsement at the farm of Larry Jernas, District One Director for Indiana Farm Bureau.

Jernas said the state board recently approved their recommendation, finalizing the endorsement.

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State Rep. Dermody to Hold Two Town Hall Meetings Tonight

State Representative Tom Dermody

Two town hall meetings hosted by State Representative Tom Dermody will be held tonight. Dermody will discuss the taxpayer protection plan he laid in place through the passage of Senate Engrossed Act 19.

The amendment to SEA 19 helps solve the property tax issues in LaPorte County which have been a problem for some time.

The first town hall meeting will be tonight at 6 p.m. at the LaCrosse Public Library and the second meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Kankakee Valley REMC building in Wanatah. A representative from the Department of Local Government and Finance will also field questions.

Represenative Tom Dermody to Hold Press Conference on Senate Bill 19

State Representative Tom Dermody

Republican State Representative Tom Dermody will be holding a press conference this morning at 10:00 a.m. CT at LaPorte City Hall concerning the approval of Senate Bill 19 that will help solve the property tax issues in LaPorte County.

Recently, taxpayers were notified they had 10 days to pay property tax bills from 2007. Senate Bill 19 would give taxpayers at least 18 months to send in their payments, or more if the county council decides to extend the deadline. In an effort to encourage prompt payments, the council could grant a tax credit of up to two percent of delayed property taxes if the taxes are paid within 30 days. Additionally, the county would be prohibited from placing a property on tax sale for at least one year after the payment deadline.

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State Representative Nancy Dembowski Discusses Right to Work

Indiana Statehouse

The right to work bill passed the Indiana House Wednesday and the debate on the bill lasted five hours. Democrat State Representative Nancy Dembowski said it was grueling.

“It was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through,” she said. “They’ve got all of the people demonstrating in the hallways and they shut off the speakers so the people out there can’t hear what’s being said. We insisted that they have a right to hear and we demanded they open the doors because the Constitution says that you have to have the doors open unless you want to do something in secrecy. Our people were trying to open the doors and they instructed the police to stop us. People have no idea what it was like. Person after person after person just pleaded with them that it was going to hurt the common working man and stop and they stuck together and they got it accomplished.”

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Some Republicans are Voting Against Right to Work

State Representative Tom Dermody

Even though Republican Governor Mitch Daniels has made right to work his number one priority item for this session of the Indiana General Assembly, some Republicans are voting against the measure. One was Senator Ed Charbonneau, of Valparaiso, who voted against the bill Monday.

Republican Representative Tom Dermody, of LaPorte, has said he will vote against the measure.  Continue reading

Starke County Jail Committee to Meet Today

Starke County Jail

The Starke County Community Jail Committee will meet this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the County Annex building.

One agenda item is the scheduling of public meetings to inform the public of the options to solve the jail problems. Commissioner Kathy Norem, who is chairing the committee, conceded that specific plans have not been formulated, but the public will be brought up to date on where the committee is at this point in time.

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Gas Price Forum Held in LaPorte

Senator Jim Arnold talks with a constituent following the forum

Over 75 people attended a meeting to address gasoline pricing in LaPorte last night. The meeting was arranged by State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) and State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte).

Presenters were Scot Imus, Executive Director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, and Maureen Hellman-Ferguson, Executive Director of the Indiana Petroleum Council.

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Mint Farmer Faces Possible Prison Sentence

Mike Materna is facing a possible prison sentence because he reportedly released hot water discharge into a ditch near his mint distillery, and that has many people “hopping mad.”

State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) is one of the people who is outspoken in his feelings about this possibility. Dermody said, (and I quote),
“To be honest with you this scares me to death. This is nothing more than a rampaging federal government.”

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State Representative Tom Dermody Visits with Hamlet Town Board Members

State Representative Tom Dermody

Tom Dermody, the State Representative for District 20, was present at the Hamlet Town Board meeting Tuesday night. Because of redistricting, Dermody may soon be the representative serving Starke County, Knox, and Hamlet. Dermody has been attending town hall meetings in both the new district and his current district, which covers the majority of LaPorte, Pulaski, and Jasper Counties, along with some of Porter County.

“I will be hopefully having the opportunity to serve Starke County, Knox, the Town of Hamlet, and so I’m spending my summer here once session is over going around not only to the current district that I represent but also the new district to learn about the issues as we prepare for legislation, and seeing what we can do to help the local communities,” said Dermody.

Mint Farming Legislation Big in This Session of the General Assembly

State Representative Tom Dermody

One of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the most current session of the legislature had to do with mint farming. Republican Representative Tom Dermody was the sponsor of the legislation and he talks about that bill today.

“When we saw what happened last summer, especially with what I consider is the overreaching of government into business, when mint farming and agricultural is so important to LaPorte and Counties, I put legislation together that will protect the mint farmers,” said Dermody. “It was protect them, especially during this season, against the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and allow them to plant while testing goes on to check for VOCs in the mint farming industry which we already know the mint farmers will pass. This does not allow them to regulate any new permitting on them and will protect them through the season. What the State has to realize is how important mint farmers are to our revenue source, jobs and to agriculture in general. This is something that was supported by many and it protects the overreaching arm of government.”

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Mother of State Representative Tom Dermody Dies

Jessie Dermody

The mother of Republican District 20 State Representative Thomas Demody, of LaPorte, passed away Tuesday, March 1st. Visitation is today at the Essling Funeral Home in LaPorte from 3:00-8:00 p.m. CT, and Friday from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. CT. Services for Jessie Dermody will be Friday at 10:00 a.m. CT at St. Peter Catholic Church.

Dermody represents LaPorte County and a portion of Pulaski County in our listening area.

Representative Dermody Co-Authors Bill to Prevent Inmates from Obtaining Illegitimate Diplomas

State Representative Tom Dermody

State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) has co-authored a bill that changes the requirements for an imprisoned person to earn a reduction in their sentence time. House Bill 1416 would require that the Department of Corrections approve any correspondence courses an imprisoned person wishes to take to earn a high school diploma.

Current law allows an imprisoned person to take correspondence courses to earn a high school diploma and thereby reduce the amount of time they must serve, but it does not provide any oversight as to what courses they take or where the diploma comes from. The bill would require that any courses the person would like to take must first be approved by the IDOC before they can earn a diploma to reduce their sentence time.

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.