Whitney Downard

Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.

Budget, housing testimony seeks more for the poorest Hoosiers

By: - March 31, 2023

The Senate committee responsible for drafting the state’s budget heard over four hours of public testimony Thursday, as leaders negotiate how to spend more than $43.3 billion over the next two years. The House version of the budget included an unprecedented increase in education vouchers, which amounts to roughly a third of the overall K-12 […]

Little agreement on provisions aimed at reducing medical costs

By: - March 30, 2023

Senators and health care stakeholders alike seemed unable to find much agreement Wednesday on how to address Indiana’s health care costs, or even how to measure and compare those costs to neighboring states.  Lobbyists from hospitals, insurers and employers presented lawmakers with reams of data in a health committee full of conflicting takeaways. Questions from […]

House committee trims down Senate health care process bill

By: - March 29, 2023

A Senate proposal with multiple provisions to ease the health care process looks a lot simpler following a flurry of House committee amendments. As passed by the Senate chamber, Senate Bill 400 included an alternative licensing path for students who don’t match with a residency and revoked a dental compliance fee – the latter of […]

Faith leaders call for full mental health funding

By: - March 28, 2023

In 2008, Marcella DeLavallade-Amos’ son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and DeLaVallade-Amos needed help managing his mental health. “I was told that the protocol is to call 211 for police to come in for a mental health wellness check. In 2012, I did just that,” DeLavallade-Amos said at a Tuesday press conference. “They shot my son […]

medical authority

Bill eliminating parents’ authority over medical decisions heads to governor

By: - March 27, 2023

A bill restricting the authority of parents over medical decisions for their transgender children advanced to the governor’s desk Monday after passing the House in a 65-30 vote. In addition to the mental health impacts upon transgender youth, Democrats like Rep. Carey Hamilton decried the bill as one in a series of culture war issues […]

Benjamin Harrison site hosts “Future Presidents of America” summer camp

By: - March 27, 2023

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis will host its annual Future Presidents of America summer camp this year, one of several presidential sites across the country.  The program, designed for youths between the ages of 13 and 16, will cultivate the qualities that make for great presidents and develop confidence, civil literacy and good […]

Will transgender bill overshadow other health care efforts?

By: - March 27, 2023

Going into the 2023 legislative session, it was clear that health care costs would top the list of priorities for the General Assembly but the anti-transgender health care bill for minors appears to be overshadowing those efforts. While lawmakers have filed dozens of bills aiming to reduce health care costs — ranging from reforming prior […]

Critics question legislative process for two environmental Senate bills

By: - March 24, 2023

Environmental activists decried the legislative process for two bills Thursday, saying they clearly benefited some of the state’s most powerful while harming the average Hoosier.  “It’s shocking the extent to which the monied special interests are controlling the legislative process right now and dictating the outcomes,” said Kerwin Olson, with the Citizens Action Coalition. “We […]

State’s poorest renters hurt most by affordable housing shortage, report says

By: - March 24, 2023

Sixty-one percent of Hoosiers in extremely low-income households can’t find an affordable rental, instead spending more than half of their income on housing with little left for food or other necessities, according to a newly released analysis.  The report from Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable […]

Senators question bill to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control

By: - March 23, 2023

A bill that would allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control to Hoosiers saw some opposition in a Senate health committee after easily passing the House last month. Supporters contend that many Hoosiers live in areas with physician shortages but nearly all live within a few miles of a pharmacy. Slightly more than half of Indiana […]

Despite pushback, bill advancing Indiana’s carbon sequestration projects moves forward

By: and - March 22, 2023

A bill that seeks to propel Indiana’s ongoing carbon sequestration pilot project was approved Tuesday by lawmakers in the House, signaling momentum for what has so far been a divisive measure. Senate Bill 451 is part of a years-long effort to move forward the construction of carbon capture and sequestration projects, while also giving special […]

House passes ban on gender-affirming care for minors

By: - March 21, 2023

A House health committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would ban gender-affirming care for minors over the pleas of parents, doctors and transgender youth. “My child is 16 and I can tell you before he started in hormone therapy he was withdrawn, he didn’t have friends… there was a point when he didn’t leave the […]