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.

Senate committee passes first TANF increase in over 30 years

By: - January 24, 2023

Hoosier families in deep poverty might be getting more help from the state government through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program if senators have their way.  “I hate to say ‘bare minimum,’ but I feel like this is the bare minimum we can do,” Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, said Monday during a Senate […]

Proposed auditor name change aligns with duties but requires further consideration

By: - January 23, 2023

Indiana State Auditor Tera Klutz wants Hoosiers to know: regardless of her title, she isn’t really auditing anything. “I always like to be on the same page with anybody in the room and I feel like I spend a lot of time explaining that I don’t audit governments, I don’t audit tax returns, I won’t […]

Rokita files to correct court “error” finding he violated Indiana law

By: - January 19, 2023

The legal saga between Attorney General Todd Rokita and a doctor who provided abortion healthcare to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim continues after Rokita filed a motion to block the dismissal in order to correct an “error.” A court ruling from that case said that Rokita violated the law during a televised appearance in which […]

Lawmaker proposes removing stigmatizing HIV language from criminal code

By: - January 18, 2023

A bill removing stigmatizing language referencing HIV, drafted in a time of anti-gay hysteria, from the Indiana code needs more work and will be amended before a vote next week.  In contrast to other highly communicable diseases, HIV is one of the only medical conditions singled out in law with punitive enhancements – which advocates […]

Bill regulates school-based health clinics

By: - January 18, 2023

Few schools in Indiana have health clinics to serve the needs of their students on campus, but Sen. Andy Zay said the corporations don’t have any operating guidelines or requirements for parental involvement – something his proposed legislation would remedy.  Just 48 of the state’s estimated 1,770 schools have school-based health clinics but, without regulations, […]

Bill establishes depository for donated cancer, HIV medications

By: - January 18, 2023

Two health-related bills cleared committee Tuesday — one helping redistribute unused prescriptions and another easing eligibility checks on publicly funded children’s health insurance. Whether receiving treatment for cancer or HIV, patients frequently start and stop medications when trying to find the right prescription for their ailment and end up with leftover doses of an old […]

Foster care organization IARCA to get donations from House lawmakers

By: - January 17, 2023

Some young adults who’ve recently aged out of Indiana’s foster care system will get household supplies – and possibly more – from House legislators through a partnership with the IARCA Institute for Excellence. On Tuesday, House leaders for both parties launched the donation drive ‘Fostering Hopeful Futures,’ which aims to create 100 gift baskets for […]

IEDC moves for massive funding increase and flexibility in new state budget 

By: - January 17, 2023

When Gov. Eric Holcomb presented his agenda earlier this month, not everyone was on board.  In particular, some Democrats questioned new dollars for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), a quasi-public agency that isn’t beholden to the same public reporting and transparency rules as other government agencies. “We just continue to give them a blank […]

Legislator takes aim at data privacy

By: - January 13, 2023

Americans have no federally protected data and privacy protections, leaving individuals and companies scrambling to control a huge flow of information that could damage billions of lives. A small number of states have started introducing their own laws to enshrine these protections and Indiana could be next.  “Right now, there is no legislation at the […]

Chief Justice highlights courts’ accomplishments in State of Judiciary

By: - January 12, 2023

The state’s courts play a crucial role in attracting and retaining businesses but need continued support to further expand, argued Chief Justice Loretta Rush in her annual State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday.  The “proud daughter of a railroad man,” Rush likened today’s judicial system to the railroads of yore that brought people together […]

Veterans, service members gather at Statehouse

By: - January 11, 2023

Indiana’s veterans, active duty and reserve service members want two big things from the General Assembly: continued tax benefits and expanded treatment options — including mental health — in their communities.  The few hundred attendees of the Indiana Military & Veterans Legislative Day on Tuesday represented five of the armed forces branches, mostly from the […]

2023 Session: First Day Wrap-Up

By: and - January 10, 2023

The unofficial first day of the 2023 legislative session kicked off with a flurry of activity, including caucus press conferences, a rally to reform marijuana laws and the ceremonial swearing in of newly elected statewide officials.  House Republicans won’t release their agenda until later this week, but their Senate counterparts unveiled a series of priorities, […]