State Budget, School Accountability Proposals Draw Concerns from Eastern Pulaski Superintendent

Some of the bills making their way through the Indiana General Assembly are drawing concerns from Eastern Pulaski School Superintendent Dan Foster.

During his legislative update to the school board Monday, Foster said the state’s proposed budget would increase what the school corporation gets for each student, but not enough to keep up with costs.

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Sunday Carryout Bill to Come Before Full Senate For Second Reading Today

Hoosiers looking for the opportunity to buy alcohol 7 days a week will have to wait for a few more legislative steps to be taken before anything is finalized. According to the Indiana General Assembly Senate Calendar, the bill regarding Sunday alcohol carryout sales for will come before the full Senate on second reading today.

Senate Bill 1, authored by Republican State Senator Ron Alting, would allow package liquor, grocery, convenience and drug stores to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout on Sunday from noon until 8 p.m. It would also permit restaurants that satisfy the carryout requirements to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Superintendent Elaborates on Road Funding

Starke County will be able to implement plans to pave 123 miles of local roads with asphalt over the next decade without raising taxes, according to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. He presented options to the county council Monday. They include using money from the Local Roads and Streets and County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds to draw down a maximum three-to-one funding match from the state. Continue reading

RFRA Expected to Dominate Legislature Again

Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Jim Arnold

The controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that put Indiana in the national spotlight last year is expected to once again dominate the statehouse. Lawmakers return to work today. Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, says a bill has already been filed seeking to lessen the blow by making amicable measures for everyone concerned. Continue reading

Transportation Improvements Top List of Legislative Priorities

Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Jim Arnold

State lawmakers face the unenviable task of finding money to pay for significant road improvements during an election year. Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, says they’ve let the state’s infrastructure go for too long.

“We’re the crossroads of the nation, and right now we’re kind of in a real trick bag. What brought it to light was the I-65 at the Wildcat bridge down there in Lafayette. When that went out, it shut 65 down. The whole nation, the whole nation was tied up. Now that we’ve got that fixed we’re all realizing we’re going to have to put some money into roads.” Continue reading

Pseudoephedrine Regulation Proposed to Curb Meth Epidemic

Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Jim Arnold

State lawmakers may consider further regulating cold medication sales in an effort to curb Indiana’s methamphetamine epidemic. Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, says that’s one of several priority issues they will consider when they reconvene next week. He notes Indiana is the top state for meth production and says lawmakers need to find ways of harnessing the problem. Continue reading

Senator Decries Legislature’s “Education Session”

Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Jim Arnold

A local lawmaker says the recently completed session of the Indiana General Assembly was the most trying and most contentious of his nine-year legislative career. Gov. Mike Pence touted it as the education session. Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, agrees this year’s 2.2 percent increase in school funding and next year’s 2.5 percent hike are the largest increases in education funding in history.

“It sounds very good. The downside of that is that the vast majority of our increased money now is going to vouchers and going to charter schools, not going to public school systems,” Arnold recently told the Starke County Council and Commissioners. “The big winners of this are going to be the urban schools. The rural schools such as Knox are going to be the big losers.” Continue reading