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Here's What You Might Have Missed In Indiana News This Week

Statehouse

It was an up-and-down week for Gov. Mike Pence as federal officials finally approved his proposed healthcare expansion program known as HIP 2.0 while his proposed state-run news service sparked outrage among the local and national press.

HIP Expansion Gets A Thumbs-Up From The Federal Government

After months of negotiations, the federal government approved essentially everything Pence asked for.

HIP 2.0 includes two different plans – HIP Plus requires contributions to a health savings account but comes with dental and vision and essentially doesn’t include any co-pays.

HIP Basic, for poorer Hoosiers, includes far fewer benefits and requires co-pays, but no health savings account contribution.  Enrollment begins Feb. 1.

Pence's JustIN News Service Gets A Thumbs Down From The Press

Internal staff memos leaked to the press this week uncovered a Pence administration proposal to create a state-run news outlet called Just IN.

The proposal drew scorn fr om local and national media, and Pence and his staff spent much of the week walking back the plan. The administration says the original intent of the site was as a one-stop shop for press releases from all state agencies.

But after criticism failed to die down, Pence terminated the project.

In other news:

– A Senate committee approved a bill legalizing sawed-off shotguns. The firearms are legal under federal law but banned by state law.

– The House Education Committee furthered a bill that would remove State Superintendent Glenda Ritz as chairperson of the State Board of Education.

– The City of Kokomo filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, seeking to continue construction on its controversial baseball stadium.

– A House committee postponed a vote on high-fenced deer hunting preserves. Opponents say they're worried about containing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

– Indiana poised itself to become one of the first states in the nation to ban the small, plastic particles known as microbeads.

– The state's farmers saw a record popcorn crop, totaling 432 million pounds of corn.

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