Archive for March, 2011
Tags: 2011 Redistricting, Good Government maps, lanane-audio-video, Photos, redistricting, simpson-audio-video
Tags: broden-audio-video, Good Government proposals, Indiana Senate Democrats, redistricting, Senator Broden
Tags: 2011 legislation, 2011 Session, education, Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Senate, Indiana Senate Democrats, redistricting, Senate Democrat Caucus, state budget
Legislative business resumed in the House of Representatives this week upon the return of House Democrats ending a five week dispute over a legislative agenda they considered harmful to Indiana workers and public schools. As a result of the walkout however, House leaders reached a bi-partisan compromise with concessions made by both sides. A few of the provisions of the compromise included removing from consideration legislation that would have placed unnecessary restrictions on workers’ rights to unionize as well as legislation that would have placed a permanent ban on public employee bargaining agreements. Regarding education proposals, the compromise included tabling legislation that would have allowed for private takeover of public schools, and placing limits on private school vouchers.
Facing a session deadline of April 29, lawmakers are now moving forward on key issues including a new two-year state budget and a redistricting plan of the state’s legislative and congressional boundaries. There is a lot of optimism that session will conclude on time. The following brief summary highlights recent Senate and House action and other Statehouse activities.
The House had over 300 amendments introduced for consideration to the state budget proposal, House Bill (HB) 1001. House Democrats offered most of the proposals, some of which called for additional spending for health care and mass transit. Most of the amendments were defeated. Democrats also attempted to protect funding for public schools, many of which will see more than five percent cuts under the plan, largely in urban and rural districts. On Wednesday evening, the House approved the Republican budget plan on a party-line vote of 60-37.
Tags: Arnold-audio-video, redistricting
Tags: Indiana Senate Democrats, lanane-audio-video, press release, redistricting, simpson-audio-video
During a Wednesday morning press conference, Senate Democrats unveiled the first district proposals of the 2011 redistricting process. Under their “Good Government Plan,” the Democrats released their first draft of proposed statewide maps for State Senate and U.S. Congressional districts, adhering to public calls for compact, simplified districts.
Current and proposed maps :
State Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Elections Committee and the caucus lead on redistricting, said the Good Government Plan adheres to three primary principles: compactness, communities of interest and competitiveness. Lanane said proposed maps are based on a regional approach with an emphasis on logical boundaries and keeping neighborhoods, towns and other communities together.
For example, Senate District 35 currently includes portions of Marion, Morgan and Johnson counties. The district proposed under the Democrats’ Good Government map is wholly within Wayne Township in Marion County.
Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville) added that the caucus is committed to protecting the public’s interest by proposing easy-to-understand districts and giving the members of the public an opportunity to respond and provide input to the proposals.
SEN. SIMPSON: “Today, we’re proposing the first draft of some maps…”
SEN. LANANE: “You do have to remember, this is not an exact science…”
SEN. LANANE: “Current Senate District 20, it sort of meanders…”
SEN. LANANE: “When you look at the two maps with the current congressional districts…”
SEN. SIMPSON: “Our reason for putting our maps out now …”
SEN. SIMPSON: “Let me just inject a note of reality …”
FULL AUDIO OF GOOD GOVERNMENT PLAN PRESS CONFERENCE:
SEN. SIMPSON: “For many years the Senate Democrat Caucus…”
Senate Democrats will make the Good Government map data files available for download on their redistricting website at www.SenateDemocrats.IN.gov/redistricting. More information on the Senate Democrats’ Good Government Plan, including the proposed maps, and an opportunity for constituents to engage and provide feedback is available on the site.
Tags: Chief Justice Shepard, Dept. of Corrections, fssa, Indiana Supreme Court
On Monday, March 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee took testimony from the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), and Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Shepard.
Non Medicaid portion of the budget:
- 9.4M reduction in appropriation request for CHOICE
- Implementation of transition from Care Select to Chronic Disease Management will help FSSA reduce costs by over $11M.
- Reductions of almost $18M in administrative costs due to attrition, efficiencies and contract deductions.
- Over $11M in savings from maximizing federal dollars.
- Continuation of RCAP moratorium for a savings of $3M.
- Reduction of approximately $7M in DD state line funding as a result of transitioning individuals to waiver funded services.
- Elimination of DDRS Crisis and Outreach contracts that will save approximately $6M
- $15M in annualized savings due to the SOF Transition plan.
House version of FSSA’s budget:
Rep. Espich’s version of the budget included amendments that will “decrease the savings” that FSSA proposed they could make with their recommended policy changes. See below for a list of the changes that Espich made, and their “additional costs” to the state.
Changes to Non Medicaid portion of the budget:
- Increase CHOICE appropriation by $4.7 and $9.4 in FY 12 and 13.
- Modified language around Evansville facilities limiting FSSA’s ability to gain efficiencies and savings (FSSA will lose savings of $.7 and $.7 in FY 12 and 13)
Changes made to Medicaid portion of the budget:
- Reinstated optional services to Medicaid, which will cost $12.9 and $14.0M in FY 12-13
- Language on managing Mental Health Drugs was changed to reduce the Potential savings by at least 50%, “costing” ($3.6M and $3.6M in FY 12-13
o Exempts psychiatrists from having to get prior authorization, grandfathers patients currently receiving Medicaid from having to adhere to the preferred drug list.
- Change the language regarding the Nursing Facility Quality Assessment Fee (QAF) costing an additional $20.8M and $17.2M in FY 12-13.
- “Increase in Medicaid appropriation to cover funds previously augmented” ($11.5 & $11.5 in FY 12 and 13.
- Indiana’s prison population has increased by 41% since 2000. The inmate population growth is surpassing DOC’s housing capacity. Indian’s prisons are currently operating at 99.8% capacity. They have done all they can do to create space and reorganize the existing system to accommodate population growth. The only other options are changing legislation and/or funding the expansion of facilities. DOC urges the legislature to consider altering sentence requirements and funding community based corrections.
- 78 counties are participating in community corrections programs. These programs are proving to be effective options for managing population growth and limiting costs. See page 18 of presentation to see breakdown of the types of community correction programs (work release, home detention, day reporting, etc).
Four major changes in DOC budget request:
- Contractual increase for food service contract. Increase requested due to increased population and rising food costs.
- Contractual increase for medical contract (will result in savings for state)- increase request due to increased population, rising medical costs, and expanded scope of service. The current contract pay private vendors on a per offender/ per day rate. Sherriff’s have a “legislative deal” that states that they will only pay private vendors the Medicare rate + 4% for services. By instituting the Medicare +4 contract, the state will save $4,655,000/year.
- Contractual increase for New Castle Correctional Facility- They have a contract with a private vendor that requires DOC to pay a daily cost for the supervision and housing of offenders in this facility. Due to increasing offender populations, DOC needs to operate this facility at maximum capacity throughout the biennium (thus they have to increase their budget request).
- Active electronic tracking of sexually violent predators- A new statute, effective July 2010, requires DOC to place active electronic tracking devices on all offenders defined as “sexually violent predators.” The Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee recommended that DOC amend this law so that they would only have to track offenders deemed to be at high risk of committing a new sexual offense. Implementing the tracking system without amendment will cost $11.3M over the biennium. Amending the law will cost $2.6M over the biennium.
Committee will consider four items:
- Increased funding to update the appellate case management system for electronic filing and service of documents.
- Continue to allow the salaries of judges to be considered alongside all other state employee raises.
- Increase funding for the Public defenders commission as more counties choose to participate in program
- Allow fees to be increased from $7-10 for JTAC
Tags: 2011 legislation, 2011 Session, budget, Budget hearing, CHE, Commission for Higher Education, Indiana Horse Racing Commission, SSACI, State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana
On Thursday the Senate Appropriations Committee took testimony from the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI), and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
Commission For Higher Ed (CHE)
Funding: The CHE met the base rate suggested by the State Budget Agency at $13.7M below amount recommended in 2009. CHE remains committed to basing 5% of universities’ funding allocation off of their success in meeting the Performance Funding Formula (PFF) metrics.
Tags: DWD, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, unemployment
On Friday, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that Indiana’s unemployment rate for February 2011 dropped below 9% for the first time since December 2008. The Hoosier unemployment rate now stands at 8.8%, down 0.3% from January’s rate of 9.1%.
- County with the highest unemployment rate: Vermillion 13.7%
- County with the lowest unemployment rate: Daviess 5.7%
Indiana’s unemployment rate now rests just below the U.S. rate of 8.9%, and continues to stand lower than neighboring states Illinois (8.9%), Ohio (9.2%), Kentucky (10.4%) and Michigan (10.4%).
Also available from DWD:
- Labor Force Estimates for U.S., Indiana, MSAs, Counties, Cities
- Ranking of Indiana Counties by Unemployment Rate
- Indiana County Map with Unemployment Rates
Jobs report (CES):
Tags: 2010 Census, 2011 Redistricting, redistricting, Senator Lanane
Members of the public may now access map-making software and data on public computers at three locations across the state. Constituents will have the opportunity to review Census data, analyze past and present maps and draw and suggest new legislative maps.
Senate Democrats encourage residents to visit these locations and take part in the redistricting process:
Indiana University – South Bend
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, IN 46634
Telephone: (574) 520-4421
The computer is on the main floor of the library
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
755 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Telephone: (317) 274-8278
The computer is located on the 4th floor
Indiana University, Bloomington
Herman B. Wells Library
Government Information & Kent Cooper Services (East Tower 2)
1320 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
Telephone: (812) 855-0100
The computer is on the 2nd floor
Constituents may send their suggestions to:
Senator Tim Lanane
Indiana State Senate
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Learn more about the redistricting process at www.SenateDemocrats.IN.gov/redistricting.htm.
Tags: 2011 Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program, 2011 Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program, Comcast Scholarship, Elizabeth Quinn, Olivia Koufos, Rachel Buck, Senator Lanane, Senator Mrvan, Walter Kasprzycki
Today, young Hoosier leaders were recognized at a Statehouse ceremony for the Comcast 2011 Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program. Since 2001, Comcast has worked with principals, guidance counselors and school administrators to honor students based on academic achievement and commitment to the community. Each student was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship.
Among award recipients this year was Rachel Buck, daughter of Toby and Amy Buck of Anderson. Rachel is currently a student at Anderson High School. Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson joined the Buck family at the ceremony. Along with her scholarship, Rachel was also the recipient of a new Netbook, won at a raffle during the event.
Three constituents from Senate District 1 were also honored: Elizabeth Quinn from Highland, Olivia Koufos from Munster and Walter Kasprzycki from Hammond. Sen. Frank Mrvan of Hammond said he was very proud of the students’ success.