Government

TDSIC settlement agreement rejected by state utility regulators

September 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Citing the Indiana Court of Appeals’ ruling, the state utility regulatory agency rejected a power company’s attempt to use a new state statute to charge customers more.
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Embrace immigrants, Pope Francis urges Congress

September 24, 2015
 Associated Press
Standing before a rapt Congress, Pope Francis issued a ringing call to action on behalf of immigrants Thursday, urging lawmakers to embrace "the stranger in our midst" as he became the first pontiff in history to address a joint meeting at the U.S. Capitol.
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Longtime attorney, public servant’s book asserts perks prevail

September 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis attorney Donald P. Bogard started writing a critique of some of America’s most intractable political problems in 2006. His book is out, but the problems haven’t changed.
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First TDSIC tracker petition short circuits, but power turned on

September 23, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Three months after legislation was approved at the Indiana Statehouse allowing utility companies to pass along the costs of upgrading their infrastructure to consumers, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. took the new law out for a test drive.
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Carmel tables sexual-orientation ordinance

September 18, 2015
 Associated Press
A proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been tabled by city officials in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.
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LGBT rights supporters begin campaign seeking civil rights

September 10, 2015
 Associated Press
The anti-discrimination group Freedom Indiana launched a campaign Wednesday pushing for a new law giving equal rights and protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people statewide.
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Panel sets hearing on medical malpractice caps

September 8, 2015
Dave Stafford
A General Assembly panel this week will study whether caps on damages in Indiana’s medical malpractice statute should be changed.
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Exhibit will recreate drafting of Indiana's first constitution

September 8, 2015
 Associated Press
The Indiana Historical Society will pay homage to the state’s upcoming bicentennial with an exhibit recreating the setting where Indiana's first Constitution was drafted in 1816.
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Attorney monitor tracks $2.5 billion settlement

September 8, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Independent monitor Thomas Perrelli released his third report this year giving details of Citigroup Inc.’s progress in complying with a settlement valued at $2.5 billion.
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Feds: Fogle colleague pleads to exploiting 12 children

September 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
The former director of ex-Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s anti-childhood obesity foundation sexually exploited 12 minor children in Indiana, federal authorities said Tuesday in releasing an information against Russell Taylor. Some of the children depicted in videos Taylor shared with Fogle were as young as 6, authorities said, ranging to age 14.
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COA affirms IURC has no jurisdiction over gas vendor

August 28, 2015
Dave Stafford
A northern Indiana business that filed a complaint with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission when its gas bills were higher than expected lost its appeal of the agency’s dismissal of the complaint Friday.
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Lawmakers to study more time for creditors’ estate claims

August 28, 2015
IL Staff
An Indiana General Assembly panel next week will consider a proposal to extend the time a creditor has to bring a claim against an estate from the current limit of nine months.
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Union wins closely watched labor case over who’s the boss

August 28, 2015
 Bloomberg News
More companies may be held responsible for labor-law violations committed by contractors and forced to negotiate wages and benefits with their workers under a decision by a politically split U.S. labor board.
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Lawmakers hear from advocates on police body-camera rules

August 27, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana lawmakers studying possible restrictions on the public release of police body-camera footage heard an impassioned plea Wednesday from a woman who is fighting to get a video of her husband's shooting death by Indianapolis police.
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Lawmakers discussing police body camera footage rules

August 26, 2015
 Associated Press
Two weeks after a fatal Indianapolis police shooting led to calls for increased body camera use, state lawmakers will hold an advisory hearing to discuss restrictions on what police body camera footage should be publicly released.
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DNA proposal highlights worries over privacy

August 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane and his colleagues in the Indiana Statehouse are once again wrestling with when to collect genetic material from individuals in the criminal justice system.
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Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25

August 26, 2015
Teryn Armstrong
Also known as the largest civil rights act in the U.S., the ADA has resulted in gains for those with disabilities. However, there is still more work to be done.
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Indiana Tech Law School restarts accreditation process, welcomes Zoeller

August 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Tech Law School, which began the fall semester Aug. 24, is welcoming a new class of first-year students and mounting another effort to gain preliminary accreditation.
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Former state senator is final appointment to redistricting committee

August 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana senator and environmental leader Beverly Gard has been appointed to the state’s redistricting study committee, completing the selection process by the legislative leaders.
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Justice Boehm gets nod for special redistricting commission

August 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm has been given a seat on the special committee set to examine gerrymandering, a common political manipulation that he once called toxic.
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Indiana lawmakers to consider DNA testing felony arrestees

August 19, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indiana legislative study panel heard testimony from a national advocate for DNA sampling who is urging them to expand testing to any person arrested for a felony.
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Former Lake County judge eyeing AG nomination

August 18, 2015
 Associated Press
A former Lake County judge has formed a campaign committee to seek the Democratic nomination for Indiana attorney general.
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AG seeking restitution over alleged Warsaw schools kickbacks

August 18, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is seeking nearly $1 million in restitution from a former northern Indiana school district official and a business owner who were charged with an illegal kickback scheme.
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Indianapolis mayor seeks money for police body cameras

August 18, 2015
 Associated Press
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has detailed his proposed $1 billion city budget that seeks $200,000 to start equipping police officers with body cameras to record their interactions with suspects.
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Indiana officials issuing fewer waivers to state ethics law

August 17, 2015
 Associated Press
State records show that Indiana officials have been issuing fewer waivers that would let state employees take related jobs in the private sector before a yearlong wait.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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