Author

Casey Smith

Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

College faculty overwhelmingly opposed to bill seeking to end “viewpoint discrimination”

By: - February 15, 2024

Faculty from higher education institutions across Indiana descended on the Statehouse Wednesday to speak out against a contentious bill that would increase lawmaker oversight of state colleges and universities and push speech in the classroom toward “intellectual diversity.” Sen. Spencer Deery, R-West Lafayette, has called his Senate Bill 202 a “reform” effort intended to reverse […]

Indiana literacy overhaul bill advances as worries rise over provision to retain more third graders

By: - February 15, 2024

House lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that seeks to remedy Indiana’s literacy “crisis” despite mounting pushback against a provision that could require thousands of students to repeat third grade. Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger, would require schools to administer the statewide literacy test — IREAD — in second grade, […]

House lawmakers advance bill to speed up replacement of lead water lines

By: - February 14, 2024

A Senate bill that seeks to more quickly replace lead drinking water pipes across Indiana advanced in the opposite chamber on Tuesday with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 5 — a priority measure for Senate Republicans — would expedite the replacement of thousands of lead service lines, and at a lower cost. Specifically, the legislation requires […]

Indiana Supreme Court

Indiana high court weighs Rust’s challenge to appear on primary ballot in U.S. Senate race

By: - February 12, 2024

Whether U.S. Senate hopeful John Rust can appear on Indiana’s primary ballot is now up to the state’s supreme court justices. Rust, running to succeed U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, is challenging a law prohibiting candidates whose last two primary votes don’t match the party they wish to represent. Rust’s two most recent primary votes were […]

textbook

Indiana officials say they want more information about what fees schools are charging families

By: - February 9, 2024

Indiana’s K-12 schools are spending more than state leaders expected on student textbooks — and some are still sending bills to students’ families — prompting lawmakers to request additional information about what’s being expensed. The questioning comes a year after the General Assembly dedicated $160 million in the current state budget to eliminate textbook and […]

More bills seek to limit mandatory inspections for Indiana septic systems

By: - February 8, 2024

Among the bills awaiting additional action from Indiana lawmakers in the back half of the legislative session are two measures that seek to further limit inspection mandates for residential septic systems. Republicans said the bills are meant to “clean up” and “clarify” existing state policy. But critics worry that fewer inspections could increase the number of […]

Rokita’s office begins updates to “Eyes on Education” portal with responses from Indiana schools

By: - February 7, 2024

After pushback from a dozen Indiana school districts, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office is making changes to its new “Eyes on Education” portal that publicizes alleged examples of “indoctrination” in Hoosier schools. The office said Wednesday it is in the process of “updating” the portal to include responses and clarifications from different districts. Rokita […]

Bill further rolling back Indiana wetland protections is first to land on governor’s desk

By: - February 7, 2024

Republican state lawmakers quietly fast-tracked a contentious bill that will further strip protections on some Indiana wetlands. It’s the first piece of legislation to head to the governor’s desk this session. The Senate approved the measure 32-17 on Tuesday — with eight Republicans joining the opposition. It’s not clear where Gov. Eric Holcomb stands on […]

Rokita’s new ‘Eyes on Education’ portal prompts pushback from Indiana school officials

By: - February 6, 2024

A new dashboard unveiled Tuesday by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office makes public more than two dozen allegations of “potentially inappropriate materials” in Hoosier schools, like critical race theory materials and gender identity policies.  But numerous local officials told the Indiana Capital Chronicle they weren’t made aware of the complaints and contend the allegations were […]

Lawmakers push bills across the finish line to meet deadlines

By: and - February 6, 2024

Crucial legislative deadlines this week mark the end of the first half of the 2024 session and lawmakers made last-minute pitches to get their lingering bills to the other chamber on Monday. After this week, the Senate will consider House bills while the House works on Senate priorities. Some of the final bills attracted lengthy […]

Obscene, or just objectionable? Here’s how Indiana schools are tackling library book complaints.

By: and - February 5, 2024

Also by Arnolt Center staff Marissa Meador, Sarita Smith, Haley Ryan, Ryan Murphy, Caroline Geib, Lizzie Wright and Lily Marks “Garbage in, garbage out.” That’s what a Rome City resident thought of Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” The complaint filed with the East Noble School Corporation told administrators the book […]

‘Questionable’ content, ‘graphic’ imagery lead to book bans at Indiana school libraries

By: and - February 5, 2024

Also by Arnolt Center staff Marissa Meador, Sarita Smith, Haley Ryan, Ryan Murphy, Caroline Geib, Lizzie Wright and Lily Marks From addiction and apathy to fantasy and poverty, a handful of books have been banned or moved to other schools following complaints. An investigation by the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism and the Indiana Capital Chronicle […]