Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Costs for New State Education Standards Could Be $125 Million

Now that Indiana's new educational standards have been approved by the State Board and Indiana has become the first state to formally break with the Common Core, we're starting hear about the costs involved in this endeavor. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency found that the costs could run as high as $125 million. This at a time when schools have taken significant budget hits. Read more here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Purdue a Possible Site for 2016 Presidential Debate?

With President Mitch Daniels on the 2016 Presidential Debate Commission, the talk is already swirling around Purdue as a possible site for a presidential debate. This idea surfaced in 2010 with respect to a 2012 debate, but never seemed to find much traction. While Elliott Hall would appear to be a logical place for a debate, there are certain logistical problems (such as lack of a place to accommodate the world-wide press corps who cover the debates). And there's cost, which appears to be in the $5 million range. Pres. Daniels sounds pretty tentative--"It’s an expensive thing to do. I’m far from sure we’d want to do it"--but he doesn't seem to have ruled out the possibility. Read more from the J&C here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Judge Requires Indiana's Recognition of Couple's Same Sex Marriage--For Now

U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young in Evansville granted same sex couple Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler a temporary restraining order forcing Indiana to recognize their marriage which took place last year in Massachusetts. The circumstances are unfortunate: Quasney and Sandler argue that they have an urgent need for their marriage to be recognized because Quasney is in the late stages of cancer. As the News Sentinel describes it, their brief argues that "if the state listed Quasney as unmarried it would interfere with Sandler's ability to take care of her partner's affairs after her death, and to access the safety net generally available to a surviving spouse and the children of the person who has died." The restraining order expires on May 8. Four other court cases involving Indiana same sex couples are pending. Read more from the News Sentinel here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Donnelly and Collins Join Forces on 40-Hour Work Week Senate Bill

Moderate Democrat Joe Donnelly and moderate Republican Susan Collins are jointly sponsoring a Senate bill that would amend the Affordable Care Act's 30-hour per week definition of full-time employment back to the almost universally accepted 40 hours. The House just passed a similar bill on a bipartisan vote. The ACA 30-hour work week has been an element that has made healthcare reform difficult for businesses to manage; Collins and Donnelly say they know of businesses that have manipulated their employees' hours to avoid the full-time status which requires the provision of insurance. The fate of the bipartisan bill in the Senate is unknown, but it does show Donnelly's skill at identifying moderate positions that can appeal to both sides and that can enhance the acceptance of ACA. Read more about the bipartisan bill here.