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.

Higher court strikes injunction on gender-affirming care, reinstating health care ban

By: - February 27, 2024

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday struck down an injunction that allowed transgender Hoosier children to access gender-affirming health care while federal court proceedings continued. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the law banning such care after Republican lawmakers passed it in 2023. It now immediately takes effect. The underlying case is ongoing as parties […]

bills session

Senate approves child care proposal as House punts on health care merger oversight

By: and - February 27, 2024

Committees additionally advanced bills limiting land ownership by certain "foreign adversaries" and protecting election workers from threats and injury.

State health department IDs first measles case in five years

By: - February 23, 2024

The Indiana Department of Health reported its first case of measles in five years Friday, a rarity due to the widespread availability of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles is a highly contagious virus characterized by white spots inside the mouth followed by a rash. The first symptoms usually include a fever, cough, […]

1,600 children impacted by key Medicaid cut

By: - February 23, 2024

Just over 1,600 disabled children receiving services through the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) made up a significant portion of the unexpected expenses that caused a $1 billion Medicaid shortfall — the first time the agency has publicly identified the number of children benefiting from an attendant care program that paid their parents. In […]

Bill sets up cosmetology apprenticeship as licensing alternative to beauty school

By: - February 22, 2024

Dozens of beauticians, barbers and stylists flooded the Statehouse Wednesday, urging senators to take action on a House bill establishing a cosmetology apprenticeship program but the crowd was evenly split when it came to their views.  Lawmakers appeared more unified than testimony, approving the proposal on a 6-2 vote, with two of the committee’s Democrats […]

Banking contracts bill squeaks by in Senate vote

By: - February 21, 2024

A bill allowing financial institutions to change contract terms on customers without explicit acceptance narrowly passed the Senate Tuesday on a 28-21 vote and now moves one step closer to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1284 is a response to two recent legal cases in which justices sided with Hoosier consumers over banks and credit […]

Dog breeders, pet stores bill clears Senate

By: - February 20, 2024

A bill establishing care standards for dog breeders and pet stores that would simultaneously strike local ordinances banning dog sales moves back to the House after passing through the Senate on a 31-18 vote on Monday.  Contentious pet store, ‘puppy mill’ bill reemerges at the Indiana Statehouse Sen. Blake Doriot, the chamber sponsor, described the […]

Child well-being ticks up in latest KIDS COUNT Data Book

By: - February 20, 2024

Hoosier children are doing a bit better than they were last year, according to a national ranking of child well-being from the Annie E Casey Foundation — rising from 28th overall to 24th in the country in the latest release.  The Indiana Youth Institute broke down the individual ranking categories in a presentation of its […]

Committee advances state disaster relief bill; promotes veteran resources

By: - February 19, 2024

A bill from the Senate to reform the State Disaster Relief Fund flew out of a House committee Monday following a lengthy discussion on an unrelated bill promoting veterans’ services in private businesses.  Sen. Cyndi Carrasco detailed the growing number of expensive disasters straining Hoosier homeowners and emphasized the need to increase payouts from the […]

Breaking down budgets: COVID-19, Medicaid shortfalls and economic uncertainty

By: - February 19, 2024

Over the last several years, COVID-19 and its economic aftershocks have broken budgets one way or another as states scrambled to stabilize during fiscal upheaval. Indiana missed the target in 2020 after it delayed tax collections only to be inundated with federal assistance in the following years, ending back-to-back periods with billions of dollars in […]

Gubernatorial candidate Braun releases public safety plan

By: - February 19, 2024

After more than a year in the governor’s race, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun released his public safety plan last week, part of his “Freedom and Opportunity Agenda,” calling for salary increases for public safety officers and a tough-on-crime approach.  “Nothing is more important than the safety of Hoosiers. As governor, I will put forward a […]

Second Gentleman Emhoff comes to Indiana for NBA All Star Weekend

By: - February 14, 2024

As thousands of basketball fans inundate Indianapolis this upcoming weekend for the NBA All-Star Game, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will be making his own appearance in the Hoosier State as part of the celebration’s calendar of events. On Saturday, Emhoff will join both a basketball clinic and fireside chat as part of the WNBA’s Her […]