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League of Women Voters and Monroe County Hold Legislative Update Session

The League of Women Voters of Bloomington and Monroe County held its last update for the 2016 legislative session on Saturday. State Senator Mark Stoops along with State Representatives Matt Pierce and Jeff Ellington reported on the status of several bills at the halfway point in the legislative session. Stoops reported that Senate Bill 128 to expand access to mass …

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Plastic Waste Bill Moves Through General Assembly

A bill is moving through the Indiana General Assembly that could stop an initiative to ban single-use plastic bags in Bloomington. House Bill ten-fifty-three, authored by Representative Ronald Bacon, would prohibit the local government from regulating the distribution and manufacture of single-use plastic containers. The bill would also prohibit local government from imposing restrictions or fees concerning such containers. This …

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13 Counties to Join Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

A Judicial Branch of Indiana Courts press release announced that 13 counties will join Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) this year, bringing the total number of participating Indiana counties to 32. The JDAI, begun in 2006, is a national juvenile justice reform initiative that aims to improve outcomes for children in the justice system while ensuring public safety. The …

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Proposal to Lift Indiana’s Ban On Sunday Sales of Alcohol was Rejected

A proposal to lift Indiana’s 80-year-old ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays was squashed last week by the House Public Policy committee in an 8 to 5 vote. Efforts to repeal these blue laws gain attention every year, but the bills have never made it far on the House floor. Those in the liquor business who oppose the …

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Senator Stoops’ Bill 128 Proposes Increased Funding for Monroe County Transportation System

State Senator Mark Stoops has authored Senate Bill 128, a proposal that would increase funding for the Monroe County transportation system and widen its scope. According to a press release, Stoops argued “The entire county needs transit to access jobs and services in Bloomington, as well as the employers and education opportunities located throughout the county”. Senate Bill 128 includes …

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Indiana Forest Conservation Legislation Denied

A piece of legislation presented by the Indiana Forest Alliance to protect forests was denied a hearing last week. The proposed act would have made 10 percent of Indiana’s forests off-limits to timber harvest, to preserve the land for wildlife and for people to enjoy. This is the third time IFA has been unsuccessful in passing legislation of this kind, …

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Affordable Care Act Enrollment Period Ends January 31st

The Affordable Care Act enrollment period will end on January 31st when the Health Insurance Marketplaces closes. The next open enrollment period will not be until the end of the year. Hoosiers are urged to take advantage of options from eight different issuers with an average of 61 different plans that can lower insurance costs by an average of 12 …

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Bill 377 to Ease Access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Hoosiers may no longer have to drain their bank accounts to receive food stamps. That is the aim of Senate Bill 377, which is working its way through Indiana Statehouse. Authored by Republican Senators Vaneta Becker and Ronald Grooms, S.B. 377 would ease access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by removing the value of assets, such as …

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13th Annual Pride Film Festival

Bloomington celebrates diversity this weekend with the 13th annual Pride Film Festival at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre. In a BCT press release the theatre announces the three day-event that begins tonight and runs through January 30th. Featured will be performances, public discussions, and 32 queer films that express a wide range of viewpoints and appreciate diversity. A festival pass provides entrance …

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Accountability Grades Released for Monroe County Schools

The Indiana Department of Education has released its A-F accountability grades for 2015. Monroe County Community School Corporation has maintained its overall A grade from last year, and Fairview Elementary has achieved a C grade after three consecutive years of F grades. Under recent changes enacted by the State General Assembly, no school was able to receive a lower grade …

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