Indiana

Five Things To Know About Mike Pence

Jul 14, 2016
Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images

The buzz about Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick is centering on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Pence “is dropping his re-election bid in Indiana to become Donald Trump’s running mate.”

Trump’s campaign has announced it will officially make an announcement on who his pick is at 11 am ET Friday from Trump Tower in New York. A campaign spokesman tweeted that the campaign is not confirming any vice-presidential pick at this point and said a decision has not yet been made.

Pence has been governor of Indiana since 2013. Before that, he served as the congressman from Indiana’s sixth congressional district from 2000 to 2012. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised Pence Thursday: “It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Mike Pence’s. We’re very good friends. I’ve very high regard for him.”

He called Pence a “good movement conservative.” Pence would help reassure conservatives, who have had their doubts about Trump, about what kind of president he would be. That’s critically important as the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, is set to kick off Monday. The clearest signal that Pence could be Trump’s pick came from a list of speakers the campaign released Thursday. It included Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie, two reported finalists for the job, but excluded Pence.

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Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is launching a bid to again represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.

Bayh announced Wednesday that he would seek to make the political comeback. Two days earlier, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill cleared the way by withdrawing as the Democratic nominee.

Bayh complained of the partisanship and gridlock when he left the Senate in 2010, but says he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”

Bayh ‘s return boosts the chances of Democrats to win the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring.

National Democrats pushed for Bayh to enter the race, seeing him as having a better chance to defeat GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Todd Young as Democrats seek to gain the four or five seats they need to win Senate control.

Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Law

Jun 30, 2016
Wikipedia

A federal judge has blocked a new Indiana law that bans abortions sought because of a fetus’s genetic abnormalities.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt released a ruling Thursday that grants the preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. The law was to set to take effect Friday.

Pratt said the state doesn’t have the authority to limit a woman’s reasons for ending a pregnancy. She said the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before fetal viability.

Indiana and North Dakota are the only states with laws banning abortions that are sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ancestry of a fetus. The Indiana law also requires that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

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Donald Trump dealt Ted Cruz's campaign a fatal loss with his victory in the Indiana GOP primary. Later on Tuesday night, The Texas senator suspended his bid for the White House.

In the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton, but his victory still won't be enough to close the yawning gap between the two.

Indiana proved decisive in the GOP contest. With his Indiana victory, Trump crossed the 1,000-delegate threshold. He's 84 percent of the way to getting the 1,237 delegates he needs, and he needs just 37 percent of the remaining delegates to get there. It was already mathematically impossible for either Cruz or Ohio Sen. John Kasich to get a majority of delegates on the first convention ballot.

After Cruz suspended his campaign, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted that Trump would be the GOP's presumptive nominee and that the party should unite behind him.

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his call for a political revolution to Evansville Monday.

Speaking a day before Indiana’s primary, Sanders told an estimated crowd of more than 3,000 people that the country will be watching tomorrow to see who the Hoosier State supports.

The Evansville Courier and Press reports Sanders told the crowd at Old National Events Plaza that America needs less corporate greed, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Sanders is trailing Hillary Clinton by about 300 pledged delegates.

But Clinton has a huge advantage in support among superdelegates---the Democratic Party leaders who can back any candidate they like at the party’s nominating convention.

Taylor Glascock for NPR

Many manufacturing towns dot the cornfields and highways of Indiana, which holds its presidential primary Tuesday, but two in particular tell the story of very different economic fortunes, and political ties.

Kokomo is an old auto town touched by President Obama's push to bail out the auto industry. And Gary is a rundown steel city with unusual ties to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who tried to jump start the city's economy in the '90s and '00s.

But, that doesn't mean the presidential politics there line up with their benefactors.

Indiana is the country's leading manufacturing state per capita — more than 17 percent of Hoosiers work in the industry. And despite recent global trends, manufacturing remains a major influence in the state's economy — as well as its presidential politics.

As Gary got rusty, Trump came ... and went

Gary, Ind. is a city built by U.S. steel on the south shore of Lake Michigan.

Darron Cummings/AP

Ahead of the potentially pivotal Indiana primary Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced he will be voting for Republican candidate Ted Cruz.

"This is a time for choosing," Pence said on WIBC radio in Indianapolis. He called Cruz, a senator from Texas, a "principled conservative" who "stood up for taxpayers" in fighting spending in Washington, said he was "very impressed" with his "knowledge and devotion" to the Constitution and his "strong, unwavering stand" against abortion rights.

But Pence seemed to go out of his way to praise Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He also stressed that his endorsement was not intended to sway the votes of Indiana Republicans.

"I respect the right of every Hoosier in making their determination," Pence said, adding, "I encourage everyone to make up their own mind."

In fact, Pence mentioned Trump before mentioning his endorsement of Cruz.

Alcoa Public Relations

After 56 years in operation, the Alcoa smelter in Warrick County, Indiana has shut down. The aluminum plant ended operations March 24.

The Evansville Courier and Press reports the smelter had 600 employees and about 325 of those have been laid off.  Aloca said the rest have accepted retirement or severance packages or found other employment.

Alcoa announced the shutdown in January and blamed it on the drop in aluminum prices.  

The Alcoa Warrick smelter was one of the last coal-fired smelters in the country.

Judge Blocks Indiana’s Syrian Refugee Order

Mar 1, 2016
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A federal judge in Indianapolis has blocked Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s order barring state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in Indiana.

Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt comes in response to a request for a preliminary injunction from the group Exodus Refugee Immigration, which helps resettle refugees.

Pratt wrote in her 36-page opinion that the governor’s directive “clearly discriminates against Syrian refugees based on their national origin.”

More than two dozen states, most with Republican governors, have taken similar action to suspend Syrian resettlement programs.

Pence had cited concerns following the deadly Paris terrorist attacks when issuing the order in November. He’s noted a passport found near one of the suicide bombers had been registered along the route asylum seekers from Syria are taking through Europe.

Lisa Autry

This is the second of a two-part series on proposed changes to Kentucky Medicaid and how Governor Matt Bevin wants to model the program after a similar one in Indiana.  You can see Part 1 here.

When the federal Affordable Care Act was rolled out, Indiana was faced with the same dilemma as other states: give health coverage to more of the uninsured by expanding Medicaid, while taking on hundreds of millions of dollars in costs. 

Indiana Governor Mike Pence persuaded the federal government to approve an alternative for his state. Just over a year ago, the state implemented the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0.  Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin wants to launch a similar program as he looks to revamp his state's Medicaid system. 

In the year since Indiana implemented the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, or HIP, more than 370,000 Hoosiers have enrolled in the program.  Among them is Mary Buchanan, who is self-employed.  A shoulder injury no longer allows her to work full-time.  By working less, the 63-year-old from Rockport couldn’t afford the private insurance she used to carry.  She picked up the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, or HIP, about a year ago.

"One less thing for me to worry about 24\7, said Buchanon, who met WKU Public Radio at the Spencer County Library.  "What if something happens to me?  Am I going to have to file bankruptcy?  One trip to the hospital can wipe you out.”

Under HIP 2.0, Buchanan pays just under $14 a month in premiums and has no co-pays or deductibles for her medical care.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he's asking a Roman Catholic archdiocese to not bring a Syrian refugee family to the state.

Pence met for about an hour Wednesday at his Statehouse office with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin amid a dispute over the Republican governor's order blocking state agencies from assisting Syrian refugees bound for the state.

The archdiocese says it has a Syrian refugee family expected to arrive in Indiana later this month after a two-year vetting process.

Pence said after the meeting that in wake of the Paris attacks he can't justify the making an exception for the family. He pointed out that refugees from other countries have continued arriving in Indiana.

Tobin said he'll be considering what steps to take next.

ACLU Sues Indiana Gov. Pence For Blocking Syrian Refugees

Nov 24, 2015
Office of IN Governor

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is being sued for blocking Syrian refugees from resettling in Indiana.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the lawsuit Monday night on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration. It accuses Pence of violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees from other countries but not from Syria.

The lawsuit comes about a week after Pence objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana following the deadly attacks in Paris. A family that fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut on Nov. 18 when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities.

Pence has said that he opposes the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state until he can be assured that proper security measures are in place. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week calling for stricter security measures for Syrian refugees to enter the U.S.

An official from Pence’s office didn’t return the newspaper’s request for comment late Monday.

Another southern Indiana county might declare a state of emergency over increasing rates of HIV and hepatitis C.

Clark County, which is just across the Ohio River from Louisville, is considering the move in light of the recent outbreak in neighboring Scott County.

Scott County, Indiana, has received national attention recently following a spike in HIV and hep-C, blamed on the use of dirty needles used by addicts who are injecting heroin and the painkiller opana.

The Courier-Journal reports Clark County public health officer Kevin Burke is considering declaring a public emergency after it was discovered that a current HIV case in his county was linked to the Scott County outbreak. A public emergency would allow the creation of a needle exchange program, something proponents say is necessary to slow the spread of disease and offer treatment options to addicts.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden says the 4,200 person town of Austin, in Scott County, has a higher per-capita rate of HIV infection than any country in sub-saharan Africa.

Indiana state health officials say they’re working to transfer more responsibility to local officials dealing with the response to the HIV outbreak in the southeastern part of the state. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams and Deputy State Health Commissioner Jennifer Walthall  outlined the transition and long-term sustainability efforts in a news conference Wednesday.

Adams said he wants to make it clear that the Indiana health department is not leaving Scott County, where 170 people have been newly-diagnosed with HIV since December.

“This is a transition to more local control, more local empowerment. But the state will remain partners with Scott County. We’ll continue to be involved with and go down to Scott County for the foreseeable future,” he said.

There are now 170 confirmed HIV cases related to the outbreak. Adam said that 86 percent of those with HIV also have Hepatitis C.

Indiana health officials say more than 100 people have tested positive for HIV in an outbreak of the virus among intravenous drug users in southeastern Indiana.

The state’s Joint Information Center said Friday that as of Thursday there had been 95 confirmed HIV cases and 11 preliminary positive cases tied to the outbreak.

All of the HIV cases have been linked to needle-sharing among intravenous drug users.

Scott County — about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky — is the epicenter of Indiana’s largest-ever HIV outbreak.

Gov. Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in the county on March 26 that allowed the creation of a limited needle-exchange program that aims to stem the spread of the virus.

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