State agencies

Supreme Court overturns grant of Monarch affiliate’s liquor permit

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a trial court’s order directing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to grant a liquor wholesaling license to an affiliate of a major Indiana beer and wine wholesaler, finding statutory language prohibits companies with overlapping ownership to hold interest in both liquor and beer wholesaler permits.
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BMV intentionally overcharged, lawyer says after fresh settlement

July 20, 2017
 Associated Press, Indianapolis Business Journal, Dave Stafford
The Indiana Bureau of Motor vehicles intentionally overcharged some 5.5 million Hoosiers for years, even after its misconduct was pointed out, said an attorney whose firm announced the second settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the agency.
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Central Indiana county debates continuing needle exchange

July 17, 2017
 Associated Press
Officials in Madison County are divided over whether to continue a program that provides clean needles to intravenous drug users.
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Trump commission on voting fraud asks states for voter data

June 30, 2017
 Associated Press, IL Staff
President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public. Indiana and several other states have said they won't give data to the panel.
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Citizens Action Coalition sues for state records on Carrier deal

June 30, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
A complaint filed Friday in Marion County by Citizens Action Coalition alleges that the governor’s office has violated the Indiana Access to Public Records Act by not providing the grass-roots consumer group documents it wants about Vice President and former Gov. Mike Pence’s communications involving Carrier Corp. and United Technologies.
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Holcomb bars criminal history question for most state job applicants

June 29, 2017
IL Staff
Applicants for state jobs in the executive branch will no longer be asked if they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.
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Children’s commission’s annual report sets 3-year plan

June 26, 2017
IL Staff
The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana has set a three-year plan emphasizing child safety and services, juvenile justice, mental health, substance abuse and educational outcomes as key priorities.
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COA: Indiana death penalty protocol ‘void’

June 1, 2017
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s means of carrying out the death penalty through lethal injection “is void and without effect,” the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, reversing a death row inmate’s challenge to the Indiana Department of Correction’s execution protocol.
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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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COA affirms denial of educational credit time for inmate

May 23, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Department of Correction correctly denied an inmate’s request for educational credit time after he was reincarcerated for a parole violation, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, finding established caselaw does not allow inmates to “bank” credit time for future incarceration.
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Duke Energy plans to close coal ash ponds in Indiana

May 17, 2017
 Associated Press
Duke Energy is planning to close coal ash ponds in Indiana because of new federal environmental regulations.
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Supreme Court hears INDOT case during Rucker’s final oral arguments

May 2, 2017
Olivia Covington
In his last oral arguments on the bench of the Indiana Supreme Court, Justice Robert Rucker and three other justices considered the public standing doctrine and the concept of parens patriae as they weighed granting transfer to a case involving a dispute between a state agency and a local municipality.
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COA upholds electric utility’s rate hike

April 19, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding substantial evidence supporting a regulatory body’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals denied an attempt by Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana to overturn approval for a utility rate hike.
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Vaping law loses again as rejected firm gets license

April 10, 2017
Dave Stafford
A company that sued over Indiana’s unconstitutional vaping and e-cigarette licensing law will get an Indiana permit to manufacture e-liquids, and taxpayers will pick up the company’s legal fees for its trouble, a judge ordered Monday.
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Indiana agency OKs $2M to secure, demolish East Chicago site

March 24, 2017
 Associated Press
An Indiana agency has approved $2 million to secure and demolish a public housing complex in East Chicago that residents must vacate because of soil contaminated with lead and arsenic.
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Corrections health firm to lay off nearly 700 Indiana employees

March 7, 2017
Mason King
The health care provider for the Indiana Department of Corrections has lost its contract with the state and plans to lay off nearly 700 employees by the end of the month.
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Indiana agency rejects resident's 'atheist' license plate

March 2, 2017
 Associated Press
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has denied a Goshen man's request to have a personalized plate that read "atheist."
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Acupuncture clinic fails to prove point before COA

February 24, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
An employee at an Indiana acupuncture and yoga facility who was repeated screamed at by the owner had good cause for quitting and is thus entitled to unemployment benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday.
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Supreme Court hears Spirited Sales liquor wholesaling case

February 23, 2017
Olivia Covington
The fate of Spirited Sales LLC’s liquor wholesaling license is in the hands of the Indiana Supreme Court as the justices consider whether allowing the company to keep its permit would enable its parent company, Monarch Beverage Co., to gain an unlawful monopoly in the alcohol wholesaling business.
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Tax Court grants partial reimbursement on discovery enforcement motions

February 16, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Tax Court has awarded reimbursement fees to both the University of Phoenix Inc. and the Indiana Department of State Revenue after finding that the two entities were entitled to reimbursement on some, though not all, of the discovery enforcement motions filed in their litigation.
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Lawyers who sought to destroy stored newborn samples vow to keep up fight

February 8, 2017
Dave Stafford
The Indiana State Department of Health says it holds 2.2 million records on paper and in database regarding the newborn blood samples.
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Tax court judge rejects request to compel further discovery

February 6, 2017
Olivia Covington
After previously allowing the deposition of the former commissioner of the Indiana Department of State Revenue, the Indiana Tax Court rejected the University of Phoenix’s requests to compel further discovery, writing that the additional discovery likely would not reveal admissible evidence.
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COA: Trial court lacked jurisdiction to order BMV to act

January 23, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals found in favor of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Monday after finding that a litigant’s failure to comply with the Administrative Order and Procedures Act left a trial court without jurisdiction to order the BMV to act on the litigant’s petition.
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Divided COA: Man can't use RFRA to avoid taxes

January 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a Marion County man cannot avoid paying income taxes using a religious freedom defense, with the majority writing that the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows for the collection of taxes in the furtherance of a compelling government interest.
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Indiana health commissioner: Needle exchanges a success

January 12, 2017
 Associated Press
Indiana's health commissioner told lawmakers needle exchanges were effective in combating the state's worst-ever HIV outbreak.
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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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