Government

ACLU, solicitor general argue to justices over DCS caseloads

June 1, 2017
Olivia Covington
Opposing counsel and the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court were agreed on one issue during oral arguments Thursday in a case involving the Department of Child Services – family case managers are the “backbone” of the work DCS does for Hoosier children.
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Senate Republicans appoint new chief legal counsel, chief of staff

June 1, 2017
IL Staff
A longtime member of the Indiana Senate Republicans legal staff has been appointed chief legal counsel for the Senate majority, which also announced a new chief of staff.
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Potential death of Affordable Care Act likely to cut taxes

May 31, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The American Health Care Act, which seeks to repeal and replace the ACA, passed the House on a party-line vote but has not gained much traction in the Senate. In fact, the upper chamber is crafting its own repeal-and-replace legislation that could differ widely from the House proposal.
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Long Beach seawall dispute goes back to boards

May 30, 2017
A complaint brought by Indiana residents seeking to build seawalls along their lakefront property will not proceed after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Tuesday the residents must first exhaust their administrative remedies before litigating their complaint.
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Indiana faces records request backlog as Pence drags feet

May 30, 2017
 Associated Press
The Indiana governor's office faces a backlog of public records requests largely stemming from Vice President Mike Pence's tenure, and the delay has been exacerbated by Pence's refusal to give his successor digital access to his emails, including those sent from a private AOL account he sometimes used to conduct state business.
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Legislature appoints special alcohol commission

May 25, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Cold beer could be available in Indiana convenience stores’ coolers within two years.
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Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban

May 25, 2017
 Associated Press
A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.
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Bloomington files lawsuit over last-minute annexation amendment

May 25, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The city of Bloomington has filed a lawsuit against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, claiming an amendment dropped into the state’s biennial budget at 2 a.m. April 21 and approved less than 24 hours later is specifically targeting the municipality to prevent it from annexing seven unincorporated areas near the city limits.
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Special prosecutor to review Porter County deputy's case

May 25, 2017
 Associated Press
A northwestern Indiana prosecutor is turning to a special prosecutor to review the results of an investigation of a sheriff's deputy accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.
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Bosma Enterprises files lawsuit over VA contracting changes

May 25, 2017
 Associated Press, Indianapolis Business Journal
Indianapolis-based not-for-profit Bosma Enterprises and other advocacy groups for the blind on Wednesday sued the Department of Veterans Affairs in federal court, alleging the agency ignored a long-standing law when it changed contracting rules that have been used for decades to give jobs to the visually impaired.
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Trump said to hire longtime lawyer Kasowitz for Russia probe

May 24, 2017
 Bloomberg News
President Donald Trump has hired one of his longtime lawyers, Marc Kasowitz, to help guide him through potentially wide-ranging probes of his campaign and Russian interference in the election, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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Indiana mayors push Congress to keep funding block grants

May 24, 2017
IL Staff
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is scheduled to speak to congressional members this afternoon in support of continued funding for Community Development Block Grants.
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Trump budget hits legal aid and public service sectors

May 24, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The American Bar Association is speaking out against key provisions in the Trump administration’s budget blueprint that would hit legal aid particularly hard.
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Indiana gets over $600K in Target data breach settlement

May 23, 2017
 Associated Press
Indiana will receive over $600,000 from an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve a multi-state probe into the discounter's pre-Christmas data breach in 2013.
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Large solar panel project planned for central Indiana jail

May 22, 2017
 Associated Press
A central Indiana county jail could become site for one of the largest solar panel projects in the state.
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Indiana governor: New law will aid lead-tainted region

May 19, 2017
 Associated Press
Gov. Eric Holcomb is praising a new state law that will help a northwestern Indiana city deal with lead and arsenic contamination that's forcing residents in a public housing complex from their homes.
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While Comey memo could be key, any Trump prosecution tricky

May 18, 2017
 Associated Press
A memo detailing President Donald Trump's request to shut down an FBI investigation of his ousted national security adviser is a powerful piece of evidence that could be used to build an obstruction of justice case against him.
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Southern Indiana police department to resume body camera use

May 17, 2017
 Associated Press
A southern Indiana police department plans to have its officers resume using body cameras after dropping them last year amid concerns about costs and privacy issues.
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Indiana women trial lawyers preparing for Congressional push

May 17, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A contingent of Indiana female trial lawyers will head to Washington, D.C., this month to participate in the 20th anniversary of the American Association for Justice Women Trial Lawyers Caucus lobby day.
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Holcomb’s executive order expected to 'ban the box' in state job applications

May 17, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A bill prohibiting communities from enacting their own ban the box ordinances stirred divisions in the Indiana Legislature with supporters arguing for employers’ rights and opponents citing the need for individuals to have equal opportunities for jobs. However, when Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his intention to sign Senate Enrolled Act 312, he brought some rare unity between the two sides. Along with enacting the new law, the governor also said he would sign an executive order that will essentially ban the box for state agencies.
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With aid from legal community, juvenile dog-training effort offers many rewards

May 17, 2017
Dave Stafford
Superintendent Terrance Asante-Doyle has witnessed what happens when his charges at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center get to offer obedience training to dogs from Indianapolis Animal Care, who, like them, are often victims of abuse, exploitation or neglect.
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Courier deliveries diminishing with e-filing

May 17, 2017
Dave Stafford
Courier services, once vital for law firms, are adapting to e-filing by offering different services.
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COA orders landowner to comply with local ordinances

May 16, 2017
Olivia Covington
In the third appellate iteration of a case stemming from violations of Indianapolis environmental ordinances, the Indiana Court of Appeals has found a property owner allowed its tenant to violate the ordinances and ordered the owner to bring the property into compliance.
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Justice Department: School bullying persists, sex assaults up

May 16, 2017
 Associated Press
One in every 5 middle and high school students has complained of being bullied at school and the number of reports of sexual assault on college campuses has more than tripled over the past decade, according to a federal study released Tuesday.
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Indy HeartBeat targets youth violence with $1M federal grant

May 16, 2017
 Associated Press
A new program targeting youth violence and public safety in Indianapolis is set to launch with help from a $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department.
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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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