Governor Mike Pence signed a new bill into law that will fund Pre-K voucher programs for low-income families in the state of Indiana. The bill, called House Enrolled Act-1004, will set aside a portion of Indiana’s annual budget to fund a pilot program that will go into effect for five Indiana counties to help lower-income families enroll their children in their choice of Pre-K education programs within the state. Now we bring you a few remarks from Governor Pence about the pilot program, for today’s WFHB feature report.
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Last February, Indiana Governor Mike Pence was in Washington meeting with Kathleen Sebelius, then-Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, to discuss his desire to administer any expansion of Medicaid to the state, as provided under the Affordable Care Act. While the majority of other states have decided to expand, Indiana has not, having received a federal waiver to maintain its more limited Healthy Indiana Plan. Pence has been under local pressure to expand Medicaid. On January 22nd, the Bloomington City Council passes resolution 14 DASH 1 Supporting the Full Expansion of Medicaid in Indiana Through the Affordable Care Act. Correspondent David Murphy spoke to Alex Slabosky, chairperson of Cover Indiana, one of the groups leading this campaign, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
Indiana received the highest grade in the country in a report on government transparency earlier this month. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave the state an A minus for its website that tracks government spending. The site is called the Indiana Transparency Portal. The high praise comes just a couple months after reports that state employees were manipulating the same site to hide failed economic development efforts. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with a local representative of the Public Interest Research Group about the report and the recent controversy for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
The Environmental Protection Agency is working on a set of greenhouse gas emission regulations that would affect coal use nationwide. In Indiana, coal accounts for over eighty percent of the energy used across the state. What these new standards mean for Indiana is still in question, but some statewide trade associations are expecting it to be bad for business. On the other hand, the standards could help wean Indiana off its excessive coal use. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke to Jodie Perras of the Sierra Club and Scott Bowers of the ISA, a group that represents electricity distributors, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
The closing of Bloomington’s low barrier winter shelter last spring means some of Bloomington’s residents are entering their second summer without a place to sleep. The local Ubuntu working group was formed last summer in response to this need, and has been advocating for a community response to homelessness in Bloomington. Within Ubuntu are members of Bloomington’s Catholic Worker community, who reached out to Bloomington residents with a new proposal this week. WFHB Correspondent spoke with Laura Lesuertmer (Les-URT-mer) and Ross Martini Eiler (EYE-ler) about what they have been doing to alleviate homelessness in town.
Members of the Bloomington chapters of Move to Amend and the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom held a demonstration outside the Walnut Street Post Office this afternoon. In concurrence with federal and state income taxes being due today, the groups held signs that said “tax the rich” and distributed information about the inequities between personal income and corporate income tax structures. Move to Amend member Tomi Allison and local business owner Patrick Rubeck spoke with News Director Alycin Bektesh about the demonstration for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
The Bloomington City Council voted six-to-two last week in favor of sharpshooting deer in the Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. Council members accepted testimony from biologists and others who said the large deer population is threatening other species in the area. But it’s still not clear how many deer might be killed if the city goes through with its plans. That’s one of several decisions the state Department of Natural Resources will make as it considers whether to approve the city’s sharpshooting proposal. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with a representative from the DNR, Josh Griffin, about the issue for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
The Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative focused on state workforce development policies, released a report finding that thirty-nine percent of the state’s low-Income working families are headed by working mothers. As of 2012 there were 235,831 low-income working families in the state, with over ninety-one thousand headed by working mothers. The study, which utilizes the latest data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, places Indiana 18th in the nation for the number of female-headed low-income working families. Correspondent Lauren Glapa spoke with Jessica Fraser, program manager, and Derek Thomas, senior policy analyst, both from the Indiana Institute for working families, an organization that provides work and education support for low-skill, low-income working adults to help them transition into self-sufficiency. After that she speaks with Tracey Hodge, a low-income, working single mother in Bloomington, about the struggle of becoming financially self-sufficient, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
Last night hundreds of people participated in a rally, march, and candlelight vigil at the Monroe County Courthouse Square in support of Bloomington’s homeless population. of who have no safe, legal place to rest until the Interfaith Winter Shelter opens back up in November. The shelter closed for the season yesterday. Correspondent Casey Kuhn was on site to bring us highlights from the rally for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.