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IN: Mental health takes hit in state budget cuts

The Post-Tribune:

A state commission listened Tuesday to pleas about how Indiana's $1 billion revenue shortfall impacts some of its most vulnerable citizens -- mentally ill adults.

IN: Daniels will request new stimulus money for schools, Medicaid

The Courier Journal:

Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday he’ll request that federal officials send Indiana more than $434 million in newly approved stimulus funds for schools and Medicaid, even though he opposed the legislation.

IN: Unemployment benefits extension can aid economy

The Post-Tribune:

After 14 years driving a school bus for different companies, Sanders Bailey lost his job in early January.

IN: State Accused of Cutting Aid to Food Stamp Users

For at least a decade, potentially thousands of Indiana's neediest adults have seen some of their state aid payments slashed simply because they receive food stamps — a practice that advocates and legal experts say is a clear violation of federal law.

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Restrictive Voter ID Law

In a disappointing turn of events, Indiana’s Supreme Court ruled 4-1 in favor of the state’s voter ID law, overturning last year’s decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals that deemed voter ID requirements unconstitutional partly because it treated those casting absentee ballots differently from those at voting booths.  But in the end, the Indiana Supreme Court majority opinion stated, “It is within the power of the legislature to require voters to identify themselves at the polls using a photo ID.”

Preventing Loss of Medicaid Drug Rebate Funds for States

While the new Affordable Health Care law provides a variety of funding opportunities for states, one provision in the health law that could shift billions of dollars from cash-strapped states to the federal government.  Under the National Medicaid Drug Rebate Program created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, drug manufacturers are required to enter into agreements that provide rebates for Medicaid purchased drugs, establishing a 15% minimum level of rebates.  Up until now, the rebates were divided between the states and the federal government.  But under the new health reform law, a significant portion of the rebates will go solely to Washington beginning this year.

Private Prison Firm Exploiting Broken Immigration System

Who benefits from hyping criminal enforcement as the solution to the immigration issue? 

As a Service and Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign highlights, one key player profiting off the nation's broken immigration system is the private prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).  CCA operates and profits significantly from private prisons across the country, many of which house immigrants in detention, a kind of legal limbo in which immigrants are imprisoned while their cases are being considered, or who are in the process of being deported.

2010 Legislative Session Roundup: Indiana

Dealing with a $309 million mid-year budget gap and unemployment hovering above 9 percent, the 10-week Indiana legislative session primarily focused on budgetary and economic issues.  Lawmakers reached a bipartisan agreement to only consider bills with minimal to no cost, but still considered a broad range of bills, from property tax caps to energy efficiency initiatives.