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.

Election bills top today’s legislative roundup

By: and - March 21, 2023

Lawmakers tackled numerous topics Monday, highlighted by key election bills and a measure that could slow the retirement of coal-fired power plants. A third bill creating a new misdemeanor crime if a person doesn’t move away from police activity also was debated. A Senate committee approved a flurry of election changes Monday, all authored by […]

Data shows mental health, education declines for Hoosier kids

By: - March 16, 2023

According to the Indiana Youth Institute, the kids are not alright.  The Hoosier State continues to lag behind its peers when it comes to child wellbeing, ranking 28th overall – just one place ahead of its ranking last year. But it has made strides in reducing the number of foster children in the state.  “Just […]

Indiana abortions drop significantly, despite pause on statewide ban

By: and - March 15, 2023

Abortions in Indiana spiked in the months following the Dobbs ruling, but the number of procedures happening across the state has since dropped nearly 50%, according to newly released state data.  The first three months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Indiana clinics submitted an average of 1,048 terminated pregnancy reports each […]

Three utility-related bills pass the House

By: - March 14, 2023

Three bills sponsored by Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, could soon move to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for a final signature after passing the Indiana House on Monday. Two of the bills – one establishing utility receiverships and another increasing the cap on pay that trustees on utility boards can earn – received no opposition, passing […]

Indiana unemployment rate remains at 3.1%

By: - March 13, 2023

Indiana’s unemployment rate stayed at 3.1% for the second month in a row, according to a release from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The 3.1% rate is a slight increase from January 2022, when unemployment hit 2.4%. However, Indiana’s unemployment rate is still lower than the national average, which fell from 3.5% in December […]

Indiana’s part-time legislature is full-time work for some

By: and - March 13, 2023

Indiana has a part-time citizen legislature but roughly two dozen lawmakers indicated on the latest statement of economic interest forms filed in January that the legislature is their sole employer and reported no outside work. Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, said she applied for many jobs outside of the General Assembly but several employers saw her […]

Report finds family caregivers provide $10.8 billion in unreimbursed care in Indiana

By: - March 10, 2023

An estimated 790,000 Hoosiers provide more than 740 million hours of care to their elders as family caregivers, a service which the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) values at more than $10.8 billion. Most Americans are unprepared for long-term care as they age, relying heavily upon family caregivers to provide the support and assistance […]

Rokita targets medical providers giving care to transgender minors

By: - March 7, 2023

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Tuesday inserted himself into the debate over gender-affirming care for minors – though recent testimony documented that surgeries on children don’t occur in Indiana.  He said there have been “a series of disturbing reports” nationally alleging such procedures and sent letters to several Indiana medical facilities demanding more information […]

Bill creating 25-foot “buffer zone” between police and bystanders advances

By: - March 7, 2023

A Republican-led Senate corrections committee voted along party lines, 5-2, to advance a bill that would create a 25-foot “buffer zone” between law enforcement and bystanders. House Bill 1186 previously passed a House committee with unanimous approval – though some Democrats flipped their votes when the bill appeared before the full House Chamber, where it […]

House lawmakers create home kits for former foster youth

By: - March 7, 2023

Roughly 150 foster youth living independently for the first time will soon get a little help from House lawmakers. Following the donation of over 3,200 items, legislators gathered Tuesday to pack bags of household supplies for foster youth across the state – including kitchen towels, spatulas, dishes and more. The event, co-hosted with the IARCA […]

Budget alters salary calculations and public health allocations

By: - March 7, 2023

The House version of the proposed budget contains a few interesting stand-alone items outside of the K-12 funding boost that heavily favors vouchers and ongoing support for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  Smaller changes could have big impacts for lawmakers, as the bill’s language would change the formula used to calculate pay raises for many […]

First Lady Jill Biden visits Valparaiso

By: - March 7, 2023

Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso welcomed First Lady Jill Biden and other federal officials Monday in a visit highlighting the “affordable pathways to good-paying jobs” at the institutions for higher learning. Biden greeted students and faculty, specifically those involved in renewable energy and technology programs. Both high school and college students had the opportunity […]