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Holcomb to deliver State of State this week

January 13, 2019

Gov. Eric Holcomb will deliver his third State of the State address Tuesday in the chamber of the Indiana House of Representatives.

The speech will begin at 7 p.m. and last about 30 minutes.

Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court justices and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session with a State of the State address. It provides an opportunity to report on the status of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year and outline key priorities for the year ahead.

Holcomb is expected to tout his administration’s progress on infrastructure, fiscal discipline and workforce development.

And he will pitch priorities for this legislative session, which could include efforts to boost teacher pay and pass a hate crimes bill.

Check local television listings as the address will be broadcast live statewide.

Hoosiers weigh in

As state lawmakers wrestle with various thorny issues this year, the Old National Bank/Ball State University 2018 Hoosier Survey points to public sentiment on several.

For instance, 56 percent of Hoosiers were at least “somewhat worried” about a shooting occurring in their local school. When asked about five potential school safety measures here is what those surveyed said:

• Clear majorities of Hoosiers expressed their opinion that mental health-related measures would be “very effective.” Nearly two-thirds of Hoosiers said preventing people with mental illness from buying guns would be “very effective;” 58 percent rated improving mental health screening as “very effective.”

• Metal detectors were the third most highly rated measures with a near majority 47 percent rating them “very effective.”

• Assault weapon bans (36 percent) and arming teachers and school officials (30 percent) received the lowest effectiveness ratings.

Another legislative discussion will be on smoking. There are proposals to both raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21 and to increase the cigarette tax.

Large majorities of Hoosiers support both policies. The increase in the cigarette tax is favored by 72 percent of Hoosiers. The increase in the smoking age is favored by 61 percent.

Lawmakers might also legalize sports betting in Indiana. Hoosiers were asked whether they favored or opposed sports betting in Indiana as a revenue source. Fifty percent were opposed to sports betting, compared with 37 percent who favored it.

And on whether Indiana should adopt a hate crimes statute, 65 percent favored passage while 29 percent opposed.

Councilman jokes after surgery

Fort Wayne City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, joked Tuesday that he could run again for public office after a successful kidney transplant in early December. 

“I appreciate all of you. I felt your prayers and I’m strong and I’m thinking about maybe running for office again,” Hines said, laughing. “Just kidding.”

In April, Hines will have spent 20 years as a member of the City Council.

He is not seeking another term.

Berne mayor opts out

Mayor Bill McKean of Berne will not seek a third term, McKean announced Friday. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Berne as an elected official, first as a councilman for 24 years and now as I start my eighth year as mayor,” McKean said in a statement. “I wish to thank everyone for your support and especially your prayers for me, my family and for our community.”

Three file Friday

Three candidates filed paperwork with the Allen County Election Board on Friday, officially declaring their candidacy for municipal offices throughout the county. 

One of those candidates is Terry Werling, a former New Haven mayor and longtime City Council member who was first elected in 1991.

Werling is running for his eighth term on the New Haven City Council. 

Others who filed Friday were:

• Nathan Hartman, Republican, Fort Wayne City Council at large.

• Matthew Kennedy, Republican, New Haven District 5. 

Banks to head spending panel

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks said Thursday that he has been named chairman of the Budget & Spending Task Force of the Republican Study Committee, a large conservative caucus in the House.

The task force will propose an annual federal budget and devise the committee’s strategy on spending caps, the national debt limit and federal appropriations.

“Our government spends too much, and improperly prioritizes how people’s hard-earned money should be allocated,” Banks, R-3rd, said in a statement. “In this role I hope to bring together my colleagues to develop innovative and conservative solutions that tackle our country’s debt and deficit and enable Congress to be better stewards of taxpayer money.”

Banks said he will remain on the 10-member Republican Study Committee’s Steering Committee.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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