State agencies

DCS to fund state subsidies for adoptions from foster care

August 13, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services will fund state subsidies for children adopted from foster care for the fiscal year that began July 1. The announcement comes after a lawsuit claimed the state reneged on promises to provide the assistance to about 1,400 eligible families since 2009.
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Appellate panel upholds dismissal in bridge case

August 12, 2014
 Associated Press
The dismissal of a lawsuit over the $2.3 billion Ohio River bridges under construction at Louisville has been upheld.
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State Supreme Court to decide Indiana-IBM dispute

August 11, 2014
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The state Supreme Court will decide a dispute between the state of Indiana and IBM over the company's failed attempt to privatize public welfare services.
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Firm says DCS misled parents on foster adoption subsidies

August 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Department of Child Services misled parents adopting foster children by falsely claiming the agency lacked resources to provide subsidies while it returned hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, according to the Indianapolis law firm pursuing a class-action suit against DCS.
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Indiana ethics cases find frustration in lack of disclosure

August 4, 2014
 Associated Press
The three major ethics cases involving Indiana officials this year have one thread that ties them together: frustration from ethics watchdogs over a lack of disclosure and transparency.
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State agencies claim information protected by deliberative process privilege

July 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
An acrimonious fight between an Indiana businessman and the Indiana Department of Revenue has not only forced the Indiana Tax Court to take the unusual step of getting involved in the discovery process but also created a case of first impression.
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Court allows education board lawsuit to proceed

July 29, 2014
 Associated Press
A Marion County judge has cleared the way for a lawsuit to proceed against members of the State Board of Education that alleges public access violations.
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Indiana BMV asks court to delay vanity plate sales

July 29, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to continue its suspension on sales of vanity plates until a court case is settled.
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Judge blocks ordinance aimed at I-69 work noise

July 22, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Department of Transportation can resume nighttime work on the Interstate 69 extension near Bloomington.
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COA clarifies and affirms original opinion in environmental cleanup case

July 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the request of the city of Indianapolis and the Department of Environmental Management to take another look at its opinion issued in April that allowed businesses that neighbored a contaminated property to intervene in the cleanup case. But the judges affirmed the court’s original decision in all respects.
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Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

July 17, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles must resume issuing personalized license plates, a Marion County judge ordered Wednesday, but that doesn't mean it'll happen in the near future.
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Indiana sues county over I-69 noise ordinance

July 16, 2014
 Associated Press
The Indiana Department of Transportation is suing the commissioners of a southern Indiana county, saying they have no authority to limit construction of the Interstate 69 extension near Bloomington with an ordinance that restricts overnight noise.
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Education board measures would curb Ritz's powers

July 10, 2014
 Associated Press
Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz said Wednesday she would have her lawyers review a pair of measures from the State Board of Education that would curb some of her powers as board chair.
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Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages

July 9, 2014
 Associated Press
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's office is telling state agencies to act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.
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Deal proposed in ex-schools chief's ethics case

July 8, 2014
 Associated Press
The State Ethics Commission is set to review a proposed settlement Thursday in the ethics case against former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.
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Thomas to resign as Indiana's inspector general

July 8, 2014
 Associated Press
The only person to serve as Indiana's top ethics watchdog since the position of inspector general was created in 2005 is planning to leave.
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'0INK' vanity plate fight could go to Legislature

July 7, 2014
 Associated Press
A fuss over a police officer's vanity plate has blown up into a constitutional debate that could lead to the Indiana General Assembly deciding whether to rewrite the law or stop selling personalized license plates altogether.
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Pawn shop owner loses case based on ‘class-of-one’ theory

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Evansville pawn shop owner couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the state singled him out for disparate treatment without a rational basis when it initially denied his application for a pawnbroking license.
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Deposition challenges timing of BMV overcharges

June 16, 2014
 Associated Press
A former deputy director at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles says he told agency leaders as early as 2010 that many BMV fees exceeded what was authorized under Indiana law but that the agency kept overcharging Hoosiers for at least two years to avoid budget troubles.
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Dropped charges against former IURC chief won’t be appealed

June 5, 2014
IL Staff
The state no longer is contesting the dismissal of official misconduct charges against former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman David Lott Hardy.
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COA orders new hearing due to lack of proof notice was mailed

May 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new evidentiary hearing on the merits of a woman’s application for unemployment benefits after holding that the Department of Workforce Development didn’t prove that it mailed notice of a hearing to the woman.
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Tax Court: Company creates new tool, entitled to exemption

May 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court has ruled in favor of a Hammond company in its attempt to exempt certain equipment from the state’s sales and use taxes.
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Badger: Supreme Court will hear death records dispute

May 7, 2014
Steven Badger
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral argument May 8 in a dispute over public access to county death records. The case, Evansville Courier & Press v. Vanderburgh County Health Department, raises the issue of whether a county health department’s death certificates, including the cause of death, are public records under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act.
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COA affirms dropped charges for ex-IURC chief Hardy

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
Because David Lott Hardy, former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, broke no laws, a trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in dismissing felony official misconduct charges against him, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Former IURC chair’s appeal raises questions on official misconduct law

April 9, 2014
Dave Stafford
Did a former state utility regulator’s behavior that got him fired rise to official misconduct if he committed no crime? An Indiana Court of Appeals panel grappled with that question, as well as which version of the law applies, during oral arguments March 31.
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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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