News From Terre Haute, Indiana

State News

December 6, 2012

Head of state budget-writing committee is healer by trade

INDIANAPOLIS — Not long after accepting the assignment as the Indiana House’s chief budget writer, Republican state Rep. Tim Brown invited his Democratic colleagues on the state budget committee to join him for lunch.

It may seem like a minor gesture, but given how contentious the last two years in the Indiana Legislature has been — with repeated walk-outs by the Democratic minority and angry responses from the Republican majority — it was seen as signal from a man who makes his living trying to mend people.

Brown, 56, is the lone physician in the Indiana General Assembly. In his 18 years in the Legislature, the Crawfordsville emergency-room doctor has never had a direct role in crafting the state’s two-year fiscal plan that now amounts to about $28 billion in spending.

But he was picked for the job, said his Republican colleague and friend, state Rep. Eric Turner, because he’s “smart,” “very grounded” and “has a peacemaker personality.”  

He’ll need those attributes as he takes on one of the toughest jobs in the Statehouse. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Brown is one of the key gatekeepers to how taxpayer dollars are spent.

It’s his committee that initiates the legislative budget-writing process and considers all bills with a significant fiscal impact. In that role, he also chairs the State Budget Committee, which includes Republicans and Democrats from both legislative chambers and is responsible for crafting a single, comprehensive budget recommendation to the governor.

“It’s an all-consuming job,” said Turner, who sits on the committee. “You have so many people — agency heads, House members, state senators, special interest groups — who have a piece of the budget now and they want more.”

Already, Brown’s colleagues have joked that he may soon be known as “Dr. No.”

After suffering through some lean years that triggered cuts to education and other state spending, the revenue side of the budget has bounced back. The state now has $2 billion in surplus — and legislators and the newly elected governor, Mike Pence, have a wealth of ideas on how to spend it.

“He’s going to have to say ‘no’ more times than yes,” said Turner.

Brown never sat on Ways and Means until his appointment by GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma. But he’s been chairman of the House Public Health Committee, and in that role carried some big health-related bills.

One was legislation that created the Healthy Indiana Plan, an insurance plan that uses Medicaid funds to provide coverage to the working poor.  

Another was Indiana’s smoking-ban bill, which finally passed last year after a frustrating eight-year effort. One of Brown’s co-sponsors was state Rep. Charlie Brown, a liberal Democrat from Gary who holds polar opposite views from the conservative Dr. Brown on most issues.

The two have become friends. “We both believe that we want the health of Indiana to be better,” said the Republican Brown. “His path may be different but our goal is the same.”

Health care costs will play a significant role in the budget-making process. Legislators will have to make some budget decisions related to expanding Medicaid, a federal program administered by the state. And questions are looming about the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act, and whether the state will decide to set up its own health care exchange or leave it to the federal government to step in.  

In appointing Brown, Bosma cited his experience in health care issues.

Brown sees a certain irony to that. He first ran for the state Legislature in 1994, prompted by his fears of a sweeping, federal health care proposal put forth by then-first lady Hilary Clinton.  

Brown didn’t see much good in government-run health care back then. Before getting involved in state politics, he represented the Indiana State Medical Association on advisory committees on Medicaid and Medicare. It’s in those experiences, he said, where he saw how too much government regulation can lead to the “loss of common sense.”

In his new role, Brown said he hopes to bring “some freshness and the ability to listen.” Those are attributes that are even more important now, he said, given that his party controls both chambers with a supermajority — giving Republicans enough votes that they don’t need a single Democrat to show up for them to pass a budget bill.

“I don’t have a gnawing-in-my-gut feeling that my way is the way things have to be,” Brown said. “I’m not dogmatic that way.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s three most populous counties are among five chosen for a pilot program that will allow low-income children in those areas to attend preschool as early as next year.

    July 22, 2014

  • More cases of chikungunya confirmed in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS — Six more Hoosiers have tested positive for the chikungunya virus, making a total of seven reported cases in the state. The majority of individuals have confirmed travel to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

    July 17, 2014

  • Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Marion County judge has ordered the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to resume issuing personalized license plates, but that doesn’t mean the agency will start doing so anytime soon.

    July 16, 2014

  • State reports budget surplus, $2 billion in reserves

    INDIANAPOLIS — As expected, the state closed its fiscal year with a budget surplus, due largely to spending cuts forced by Gov. Mike Pence.

    July 14, 2014

  • U.S. Attorney Hogsett announces resignation

    INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced in a news release today his resignation from office, effective July 31, 2014.

    July 14, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Pence orders memorials for officers who died

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has declared this week an official period of mourning after the loss of three law enforcement officers in the line of duty over eight days.

    July 8, 2014

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Deal set in ex-schools chief Bennett’s ethics case

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission is considering a settlement in the ethics case against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lawmakers returning for ’corrections’ day

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lawmakers are returning to Indianapolis for a day to fix critical mistakes left in the criminal sentencing overhaul legislation approved earlier this year.

    June 16, 2014

  • Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 lawmakers from 33 states are expected to gather at the Indiana Statehouse for discussions about how to call the first constitutional convention since the nation’s founding.

    June 12, 2014

  • Dickson stepping down as Indiana’s chief justice

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson is stepping down from that role but will remain as an associate justice.

    June 11, 2014

  • 10-digit dialing in 812 area code soon mandatory

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana utility officials say 10-digit dialing in southern Indiana’s 812 area code will become mandatory in September.

    June 11, 2014

  • Audit: Nearly 275 in Indiana await 1st VA visit

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An audit of VA hospitals and clinics nationwide has found that nearly 275 Indiana patients are still waiting for initial appointments at facilities in Indianapolis and northern Indiana 90 days or more after requesting them.

    June 9, 2014

  • Jackpot growth slowing down for Hoosier Lotto

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lottery officials are blaming a big drop in ticket sales for a decision to slash the rate at which Hoosier Lotto jackpots grow.

    June 6, 2014

  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • Indiana’s 4 largest cities see population surges

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A new report by an Indiana University research group says Indiana’s four largest cities are in the midst of some big population increases.

    May 22, 2014

  • Appeals court: Students can sue over school attack

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals says two students hurt in a school shooting can sue the school district over their injuries.

    May 20, 2014

  • State health commissioner urges hepatitis testing

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to educate themselves about the dangers of viral hepatitis and to get tested for the disease.

    May 19, 2014

  • Zoeller: Robocall complaints are down in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office is receiving almost half as many complaints a month about robocalls as it did two years ago, but says there’s more work to be done.

    May 19, 2014

  • High court to hear appeal of right-to-work law

    MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in September on Indiana’s appeal of a judge’s ruling declaring the state’s right-to-work law unconstitutional.

    May 9, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana must still recognize 1 gay marriage

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state of Indiana must recognize a lesbian couple’s out-of-state marriage throughout their legal fight to have one of the women named as a spouse on her terminally ill partner’s death certificate, a judge ruled today. The Indiana attorney general’s office said it would appeal.

    May 8, 2014

  • Judge says Indiana BMV wrongly pulled ‘0INK’ plate

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer has the right to buy a vanity license plate reading “0INK,” an Indiana judge has said in a ruling that extends far beyond one plate.

    May 8, 2014

  • Zoeller: Let legislatures choose Senate candidates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Senate candidates in Indiana would be nominated by the General Assembly instead of selected by voters in a primary if the state’s top legal officer has his way.

    May 5, 2014

  • Indiana, CDC push for more infant vaccinations

    AVON, Ind. (AP) — State and national health officials are pushing for parents to vaccinate their infants on time in the face of measles outbreaks.

    April 30, 2014

  • Painted bison to celebrate Indiana bicentennial

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Painted bison sculptures and quilted gardens are set to pop up in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.

    April 30, 2014

  • Indiana court upholds dismissal of ethics charges

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss misconduct charges against the state’s former top utility regulator.

    April 29, 2014

  • Board approves Indiana’s Common Core replacement

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has approved new math and English standards to replace the Common Core benchmarks in Indiana’s classrooms this fall.

    April 28, 2014

  • FEMA OKs aid for Vigo County

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by a January storm that brought paralyzing snow and frigid readings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana lacks valid gay marriage ban reason

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge says attorneys defending Indiana’s gay marriage ban haven’t shown any good reason to not recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple, one of whom has a terminal illness.

    April 21, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity