- Governor Mike Pence delivered his education agenda this morning, looking ahead to the start of the 2015 legislative long-session which he termed the “education session.” Pence stressed his support for vouchers and charter schools, boasting that in the four years since it was enacted, the Indiana school voucher program has become the largest in the country, serving nearly 30,000 students. Pence also said that educators should be monetarily rewarded for good progress results but that no extra funding should be used for this, saying instead that money should be spent more wisely. Also presented today was an executive order rescinding in it’s entirety, a previous executive order under which he created the Center for education and career innovation, a move seen by many as a power grab from democratic state superintendent Glenda Ritz. Ritz released a reaction statement today reading “While dissolving CECI is certainly welcome news, there are other aspects of the Governor’s legislative agenda that are concerning for public education in our state. I look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor on the Department of Education’s legislative agenda and other critical issues during the upcoming session.”
- A new coalition of business groups is launching a campaign in support of legislation to allow Sunday sales of packaged liquor in Indiana. A press release from Hoosiers for Sunday Sales reports they have backing from consumer and business groups including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and more than 25,000 citizens who have signed a petition in support of Sunday sales. Similar bills have been brought before the legislature for the past seven years and have been defeated because of opposition from the packaged liquor store lobby. Although all retail outlets would be allowed to sell packaged liquor on Sunday if the laws were changed, the Liquor store lobby says liquor stores would be at a disadvantage. They claim that more of Sunday sales would be made at grocery and convenience stores where people tend to shop on Sundays anyway, and that would mean decreased revenue for packaged liquor stores. They claim that this competition with the larger grocery and convenience store chains could drive some of the smaller, local liquor stores out of business. Supporters of the change say Sunday liquor sales are already legal in Indiana in bars and restaurants. And thirty-eight states, including all the states bordering Indiana, allow sale of packaged liquor on Sunday. According to Hoosiers for Sunday Sales website, it is estimated that Indiana loses 10-12 million tax dollars each year by not allowing Sunday sales.
A recent WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey found that 52% of Hoosiers favor Sunday sales. The next legislative session begins on January 6th and there will most likely be a bill to repeal bans on Sunday sales.
- Bloomington is celebrating Krampus Night this Saturday. Bloomingtonians will dress up as the hairy horned beast as well as his counterpart Saint Nicholas. Originating from Alpine Europe around the 17th century, the Krampus is a tall horned monster covered in hair. Just as Saint Nicholas rewards good children with presents, the Krampus frightens children into behaving. The Krampus Parade is at 6:00 PM on Madison street starting at 4th street and ending at the Showers Common. The very first Krampus Bazaar is going to be held at the Showers Common from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Afterward, Downtown Bloomington will be infested with these creatures as late as closing time at the local bars and restaurants. Krampus Night is produced by Krampus Legend and Arts Workshop, a local Bloomington organization.