Last week the Indiana Supreme Court delivered a ruling on Indiana’s controversial Right to Work Law, originally passed by state legislature in 2012. The law makes it a class A misdemeanor to require someone to become or remain a member of a labor organization, or pay dues and fees. The ruling stated that this law did not infringe upon the Indiana Constitution, as claimed by union representatives. Correspondent David Murphy spoke with Indiana University Labor Studies Professor Joe Varga about the ruling and what it means for effective unions for today’s community report.
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WFHB, in partnership with Community Access Television Services, hosted a full night of interviews and updates on election night. IU Professor of Political Science Majorie Hershey was among the guests to come on the show, and she spoke with WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford about her research on political parties and elections. With the votes all tallied, we hear her perspective for today’s community report.
After 15 years as Dean of the IU School of Education, Gerardo Gonzales is leaving the position. The school is one the biggest and most prestigious in the country. During his tenure, Dean Gonzales has seen the implementation of many policies by the state government which have significantly affected the professional credentialing and careers of teachers in Indiana. These regulatory changes have been associated with a significant drop in student enrollment in the school. Both things prompted IU President McRobbie to call in his recent State of the University address for the appointment of what he is calling a blue ribbon panel of experts to look at all aspects of the school’s operation, prior to the appointment of a replacement for the current dean. Recently, Daily Local News correspondent David Murphy spoke to Dean Gonzales about his retirement.
That was correspondent David Murphy speaking with IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzales on the occasion of his impending retirement from the position.
Discussing aging issues, such as living arrangements, finances, dating, end-of-life decisions and driving, early and often can save families years of heartache, tension and even legal battles. Yet, research indicates that about two-thirds of American families put off these conversations, either because they are uncomfortable with the topics or they just don’t know where to start. The “40-70 Rule®” program resources, developed in part by Home Instead, are available through Area 10 Agency on Aging and Home Instead, which includes an Action Plan for Successful AgingSM and other resources to help ease these conversations between adult children and their parents” Today correspondent Jennifer Whitaker speaks with Joe Yonkman of Home Instead for today’s wfhb community report.
Local Comedian Matt Alano Martin is releasing his debut album tomorrow night on the same stage of his first stand up performance more than five years ago. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh met with Matt and asks about building a career on comedy here, for todays community report.
The Comedy Attic is located on the corner of Walnut and 4th street in downtown Bloomington.
The Republican Party caucus in the state assembly has released its legislative agenda for the upcoming 2015 session. The statement lists what the GOP describes as four major issue categories that it wants to address: budget, education, ethics, and public safety. With regard to the budget, the party aims for a balanced budget with no increase in taxes or borrowing. However, recently, revenues have fallen below earlier expectations.
Rep. Mayfield explains how her colleagues plan to deal with this potential shortfall.
“We want to maintain the surplus and reserve because those revenues could come in shy of expectations,” Mayfield says. “And that has happened before, especially during the recession.”
For education, the caucus promises to increase funding and fix the funding formula.
Rep. Mayfield said that specific expenditure requests would have to await final state income receipt figures. Under Indiana’s public school funding formula, lower income districts receive more than higher income districts in order to pay for special services such as subsidized meals and supplemental teaching.
“There’s a huge disparity in the formula,” Mayfield says. “Carmel receives the lowest funding while East Chicago receives the highest. Prior to last year the disparity was even greater and they’re closing the gap. I think what we need to look at is the foundation of that forumula.”
The most recent ethics scandal was around Republican Representative Eric Turner’s behind-the-scenes-effort to kill a bill which may have negatively affected his family’s private business interests. He was exonerated of any wrongdoing by his colleagues.
Since then, numerous other examples of Republican legislators with obvious conflicts of interest not recusing themselves from debates have come light.
“This week we will be meeting with national ethics experts on best practices,” Mayfield says. “I think this will be good in continuing the public confidence in our elected leaders. It also helps elected officials understand a more clearer definition of the line you cannot cross.”
The focus of the Republican’s public safety agenda is domestic violence. No mention is made of changes in the law around this issue, rather the GOP promises to invest funds in and work with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“I think by focusing efforts on current programs and not trying to put new, state-level programs in place we can help more people,” Mayfield says.
The republican caucus agenda did not directly address Indiana’s economic issues such growing income polarization, wage stagnation among workers, and rising youth poverty levels.
The environmental protection agency has tasked states with reducing their reliance on coal burning, citing it’s direct impact on global warming. Indiana’s primary electricity source is coal, and jobs related to coal use are the main industry in certain parts of the state.
“80 percent of our electricity comes from coal and that’s not an insignificant figure,” Mayfield says.
A major issue during the 2014 legislative session was marriage equality in Indiana. This fall the Supreme Court declined to reexamine the issue, letting stand lower court rulings in several states, including Indiana, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage.
Shortly after taking office in 2013, Representative Mayfield stated that she would remain open on the issue of same-sex marriage until either voters or the court made a final decision. Representative Mayfield won her seat two years ago, switching the long time district seat from democrat to republican after redistricting in 2011. Her democratic challenger for the November 4th election is Daymon Brodhacker.
The Indiana State NAACP State Convention Conference was held in Bloomington this weekend, and included workshops on health, veterans affairs, environmental climate and justice and an awards banquet. The keynote speaker of the conference was Cornell William Brooks, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. WFHB Correspondent William Hosea spoke with Brooks about racial tensions in America and, in light of next week’s election, voter suppression, for today’s community report.