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State House Passes Bill for ISTEP Replacement

Indiana students could eventually be sitting for a new standardized test. It’s called I-LEARN, and it would replace the current, decades-old ISTEP. House Bill 1003 proposing the new exam passed through the Indiana House yesterday with a vote of 67 to 31. It requires that students in grades 3-8 take a standardized exam. Students in grades 9 through 12 would …

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Future of Redistricting Bill Uncertain

A bill to create an independent commission to draw legislative districts is poised to die in committee without being voted on. The bill, coauthored by House speaker Brian Bosma, has support from both Republicans and Democrats in the House. But the bill’s progress has been halted by Representative Milo Smith, a Republican from Columbus. He chairs the House Elections Committee, …

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Solar Energy Advocates Continue Criticism of Bill

Solar energy advocates continued their criticism of Senate Bill 309 today. The bill takes aim at net metering, a process in which solar energy customers sell extra power back to the grid. The bill was approved by the Senate Utilities Committee on Thursday. This morning, the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance issued a press release criticizing the bill and its author, …

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Senate Bill Proposes to Limit Funding for Waste Management Through Property Taxes

Monroe County officials are keeping an eye on proposed legislation that would severely limit a county’s ability to fund solid waste management districts through property taxes. Solid Waste Management Director Tom McGlasson said Senate Bill 465 has been assigned to a committee but hasn’t yet had a hearing. “That bill sought to eliminate taxing authority of solid waste management districts, …

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INDOT Releases New Estimate of I-69 Completion

Indiana transportation officials have announced another change to the Interstate 69 construction schedule. In today’s announcement, the Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Department of Transportation said they expect Section 5 of the interstate to be completed by May of 2018. That’s seven months later than the date they announced in December; but it’s also three months earlier than the …

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COB Utilities Releases Statement on Soil Containing Lead

Trace levels of lead have been discovered in the soil at the site of a former water tank owned by the City of Bloomington Utilities. According to a press release from the city of Bloomington, these levels were higher than what is allowed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The tank was in use from 1954 – 2015 before …

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City Administrators Move Toward Greater Financial Transparency

City administrators are moving toward buying software they say will make almost every city financial transaction available to the public. IT Director Rick Dietz told the Utilities Services Board last night that the software module would make transactional information available to the public as well as to the city’s many departments, the city council, and boards and commissions. “Once it’s …

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Mayor Hamilton Proposes Annexation of Nearby Land

Bloomington Mayor, John Hamilton, is asking the City Council to annex more than 15 square miles of land into the City of Bloomington. Hamilton made this announcement on Friday: “City boundaries have been adjusted many times. Expanding the city limits to incorporate the urbanized areas surrounding the city. Despite the ongoing growth in those urbanized areas of the county since …

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Crane Ammunition Facility Not Affected by Federal Hiring Freeze

Employees at the Crane Army Ammunition Activity will be spared from the effects of President Trump’s federal hiring freeze. That’s according to announcement a half hour ago by Senator Joe Donnelly. The senator’s office says Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, was able to wave the hiring freeze as it would have applied to Crane. The ammunition facility has as many …

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City of Bloomington Accepting Public Input for Tech Park

The city of Bloomington is still taking public comment on its plans for a Tech Park. Although much of the design is finished, and there are already plans for at least two companies to build in the park, the city held a public input event last night at the atrium of City Hall. The public could view drawings of the …

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