State agencies

ESPN to appeal Indiana judge's ruling on Notre Dame police

May 21, 2015
 Associated Press
ESPN will appeal a northern Indiana judge's ruling that the University of Notre Dame police department is not subject to the state's open records law.
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Audit: Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles used ambiguous fees

May 12, 2015
 Associated Press
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles lacks oversight, uses a complex fee schedule that leads to inconsistent charges for the same transactions and may have overcharged motorists more than previously disclosed, according to an independent audit released Monday.
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Capstone of criminal code reform put in place during 2015 session

May 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The bill establishing the funding and the mechanism to distribute the dollars needed for Indiana’s new criminal code reform had a bumpy ride through the Statehouse. But in the final hours of the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers approved language that ensured the money would be funneled through local programs and projects designed to reduce recidivism and ease overcrowding in Indiana’s prisons.
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Pence signs bill tightening Indiana's state ethics laws

May 5, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has endorsed an overhaul of state ethics laws that requires greater financial disclosure by lawmakers and expressly prohibits elected officials from using state resources for political purposes.
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Medical-legal partnership honored for work on Medicaid waiver issue

April 22, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The integration between Eskenazi Health and Indiana Legal Services coupled with the sustained effort to remedy the waiver issue earned the Midtown Partnership national recognition. In April, the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership presented the Indianapolis-based partnership with a 2015 Outstanding MLP Award.

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COA: IURC improperly approved utility’s 7-year plan

April 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In the appeal of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve rate increases requested by a northern Indiana utility group under a new statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the commission erred in approving a seven-year plan that only gave specifics about year one.
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Known loss doctrine bars claim against insurers

April 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The insurers of a company that purchased property it knew was contaminated are not required to defend or indemnify the company regarding the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s remediation action, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday.
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COA affirms finding liquor stores violated rules on home delivery of wine

March 19, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission’s final order fining a northern Indiana liquor store company for using common carriers to transport wine to customers, which is a violation of its liquor permit.
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Pence asks Legislature for $15M to add DCS staff

March 18, 2015
IL Staff
On the same day the state released an independent report on workload and caseloads of staff at the Indiana Department of Child Services, Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter to several legislators seeking more funding to increase family case managers and supervisors at the state agency.
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Indiana sues auto parts dealer over unpaid fine, auto fluids

March 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana's environmental agency is suing an auto parts dealer who was ordered last year to pay a $10,000 fine and clean up automotive fluids and other materials at his Muncie business.
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Indiana regulators revoke coal-gasification plant's permit

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
State regulators have revoked an air permit for a proposed $2.8 billion coal-gasification plant in southwestern Indiana at the request of the plant's developer.
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State appeals ruling blocking fenced hunting preserve rules

March 6, 2015
 Associated Press
The Indiana attorney general's office is appealing a court ruling that state wildlife officials overstepped their authority in trying to shut down Indiana’s high-fenced deer-hunting preserves.
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Grant of judicial review following license suspension reversed

February 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because an Indiana driver did not take advantage of an available statutory method for challenging the suspension of her license before filing a petition for judicial review, the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of judicial review that ruled in her favor.
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Appeals court opens RX database to defendant’s subpoena

February 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman charged with possession of a controlled substance who claimed she had a prescription may seek information from the state prescription database, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a reversal.
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6 central Indiana dental employees reach plea deals

February 18, 2015
 Associated Press
Prosecutors have struck plea agreements with six former employees of a central Indiana dental clinic in connection with a Medicaid fraud investigation.
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MacArthur Foundation pledges $75M toward fixing US jails

February 11, 2015
 Associated Press
To reduce the number of people locked up in local jails around the U.S., the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced it plans to give $75 million to local jail officials working on ways to remove nonviolent offenders, people too poor to afford bail and the mentally ill from behind bars.
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House panel passes bill adding oversight to state agencies

February 4, 2015
 Associated Press
State government agencies could face greater scrutiny when proposing new regulations under a measure an Indiana House committee approved Tuesday.
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Appeals court finds high-fence deer hunting not prohibited in Indiana

February 2, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana law does not prohibit “high-fence” hunting of deer in Indiana, nor does it allow for the Department of Natural Resources to create regulations relating to the practice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Kokomo sues state over proposed downtown baseball park

January 27, 2015
 Associated Press
The city of Kokomo is suing the state over its opposition to a proposed downtown baseball stadium.
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Woman loses claim for additional retroactive retirement benefits

January 20, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A retired teacher is not entitled to an additional six months of retroactive retirement benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to only six months of retroactive retirement benefits.
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Meijer tax ruling may reverberate statewide

January 20, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, Kathleen McLaughlin
Big-box retailers could see their Indiana property-tax bills slashed in half because of a recent court decision that favored Meijer over Marion County.
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Civil Rights Commission exceeded authority in upholding complaint

January 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the Indiana Civil Rights Commission overstepped its authority, the Indiana Supreme Court has vacated the organization’s final order regarding an “intra-group squabble” over a dinner menu.
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McKinney grad Carrasco appointed Indiana inspector general

January 6, 2015
IL Staff
Longtime executive director of the Office of Inspector General Cynthia Carrasco has been appointed Indiana inspector general, Gov. Mike Pence announced in a statement Tuesday. The appointment is effective Jan. 11.
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Tax Court: Alleged puppy mill owner wrongly denied refund

January 5, 2015
The Indiana Department of Revenue improperly denied a refund of the value of 240 dogs seized by the state from an alleged Harrison County puppy mill, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Dec. 31.
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Driver’s lack of appellee brief reinstates license revocation

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A motorist who won a trial court judgment vacating the suspension of his driver’s license didn’t file a brief when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles appealed the decision and, therefore, lost his challenge of the BMV action.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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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