Bloomington experiences increased water main breaks
Following several days of freezing temperatures in December, Bloomington utilities workers fixed four water main breaks on Thursday, Dec. 29. According to a Bloomingtonian article, the water main breaks were in the 500 block of East Audubon, 2200 block of East Queens Way, 900 block of South Hawthorne Drive, and 400 block of East Walls Drive.
The number of breaks increased following the winter storm in December, Holly McLauchlin, City of Bloomington Utilities Department Communications Manager, said in the article. According to the article, seven other water mains broke between Dec. 1 and Dec. 29.
Holcomb proposes 6% funding boost for Indiana schools if adopted by Legislature
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a new state spending plan Wednesday, Jan. 4 as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda that, if adopted by the Indiana legislature, would give schools a 6% funding boost and eliminate textbook fees for public school students.
According to a recent press release, Holcomb is proposing increasing tuition support for K-12 schools by 6% in 2024 and 2% in 2025. The release stated Holcomb will aim to increase average teacher salaries by $3,400 to at least $60,000 a year.
Additionally, Holcomb proposed to prohibit textbook and curricular material fees for Indiana K-12 families. Indiana is one of seven states still allowing families to be charged for textbooks. The release stated the cost to fund textbooks and other curriculum materials for more than 1 million students at all traditional public and charter schools, along with students eligible to receive free curricular materials in non-public schools, is approximately $160 million per year.
Three candidates officially file for Bloomington mayoral race
Kerry Thomson, Susan Sandberg and Don Griffin officially filed for the Bloomington mayoral race Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Thomson, the executive director of IU’s Center for Rural Engagement, will run against Sandberg, a Bloomington City Councilmember, as well as former Bloomington deputy mayor Griffin.
In November, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton announced he would not seek a third term as mayor. Hamilton took office in 2016 and again in 2020, serving in the position for eight years.
Indiana’s new turn signal law now in effect
A new turn signal law will remove specific distance requirements for drivers to signal lane turns or changes in Indiana.
House Enrolled Act 1167, signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb in March 2022, requires drivers to signal before safely making any lane turns or changes, instead of requiring drivers to use their turn signals within a specific distance of the turn. A previous version of the law required a driver to signal 200 feet before a turn or lane change or 300 feet if traveling more than 50 miles per hour.
According to a WDRB article, the law was passed in the House by a 69-2 vote and 44-0 vote in the Senate.
Indiana medical board to hear abortion case next month
Indiana’s medical licensing board is set to hear the case regarding Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis-based doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio during June 2022.
The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 23, will be part of the board’s decision regarding the status of Bernard’s medical license. In November, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita claimed Bernard violated privacy laws after the doctor spoke to a newspaper about the 10-year-old patient’s treatment.
Bernard filed a lawsuit against Rokita in November. She argued the Attorney Generals’ office wrongly justified the investigation into her medical record with complaints submitted by people with no personal knowledge of the patient’s abortion. Bernard dropped the lawsuit in December after Marion County Judge Heather Welch ruled Rokita could continue the investigation against Bernard. Welch also ruled Rokita had violated confidentiality laws by making statements in the media before reporting the investigation to the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.