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Indiana lawmakers to review ISTEP test troubles

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Indiana lawmakers said Thursday they will spend the coming months reviewing computer troubles with a statewide standardized test, the use of land banks to sell vacant property and other problems uncovered around the state.

Legislative leaders say they would like more answers from McGraw-Hill and the Department of Education about troubles schools faced this month while administering the online ISTEP+ test.

"It's worthy of a strong look to get straight answers, to make sure we get to the bottom of it," said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

Other committees will review how land is sold following the federal indictment of a top Indianapolis official and four other local leaders on allegations they were flipping vacant homes for personal profit. A tax study committee will also review how casino money for Indiana localities is spent, after an investigation by The Indianapolis Star found that money used in the failed Carbon Motors project could not be accounted for.

The Indiana Legislative Council met Thursday to detail which issues will be studied in the coming months. Some issues, including a review of the national Common Core education standards, have already been announced.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, also announced lawmakers would return on June 12 to consider Gov. Mike Pence's veto of a local tax measure. The measure would allow Jackson and Pulaski counties to collect local option income taxes going back three years, correcting a mistake at the local level dating to 2006, Long said.

"We have heard from the locals and they very much want us to override the veto," Long said.

Pence, in vetoing the tax measure, said it would "approve, after the fact, the collection of taxes that were not owed." Lawmakers only need a simple majority to override the governor in Indiana — 51 votes in the House and 26 in the Senate — making vetoes rare and veto overrides even rarer.

Other panels plan to review Indiana's adoption of the national Common Core education standards, the state's A-F school grading system, criminal sentencing guidelines, a plan to expand mass transit in central Indiana and the state's implementation of the federal health care law.

Lawmakers typically spend the months between legislative sessions meeting periodically to review issues selected by legislative leaders. The recommendations that come out of the study committees often find their way into law in the succeeding legislative session.

The General Assembly hosted a series of contentious hearings on the right-to-work ban on mandatory union fees through the summer of 2011, before approving the measure on party-line votes during the 2012 session. Last summer saw a more bipartisan effort to address problems at the Department of Child Services, following a series of media reports about child deaths throughout the state.

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  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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