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.

Committtee considers anti-monopoly bill for health care entities

By: - January 17, 2024

The House Public Health Committee had a busy Tuesday morning, unanimously advancing four bills related to mammograms, dentistry, mental health services and the Indiana Department of Health.  But the largest and most wide-ranging bill wasn’t called for a vote, with Rep. Brad Barrett, the committee’s chair, saying he wanted to hold the bill to allow […]

Lawmakers seek to locally define decorum for public meetings

By: - January 16, 2024

The city of Winchester, Indiana, has less than 5,000 residents but one glaring problem in the eyes of local elected officials: people purposefully disrupting government meetings and deliberately disregarding decorum. Mayor Bob McCoy detailed a December 5, 2022, meeting in which attendees were “so out of hand” that he adjourned the meeting early and chaos […]

Judge rules in favor of South Bend in 25-foot “buffer zone” lawsuit

By: - January 12, 2024

A federal judge on Friday rejected a request to block an Indiana law establishing a so-called “buffer zone” around law enforcement during official duties, a measure that includes both the public and the press. Under House Enrolled Act 1186, law enforcement officers were granted a 25-foot buffer zone from bystanders around police activity. This came […]

Court issues injunction against law involving humanitarian driver’s licenses

By: - January 12, 2024

A federal district court on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction rebuking House Enrolled Act 1050, passed during the 2023 legislative session, which created a pathway for individuals on humanitarian parole to obtain the legal forms of identification — but only for those from Ukraine. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana and the National Immigration […]

Bicameral Democrat agenda targets child care, drug prices and more

By: - January 12, 2024

Indiana Statehouse Democrats from both the Senate and House came together Thursday afternoon to release a bicameral agenda prioritizing child care accessibility, capping drug costs and more in 2024.  “This was a way to show — to the state of Indiana and everyone else — that we’re going to work on this agenda together,” Senate […]

Senate Republicans prioritize literacy, health in five-part agenda

By: and - January 11, 2024

A bill to require earlier interventions for students struggling with literacy is top-of-list for Indiana Senate Republicans, who unveiled the 2024 agenda Thursday morning. Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger, would require IREAD testing to begin a year earlier, in second grade, and allow those who pass at that stage to be […]

Senators advance omnibus health care, dental bill

By: - January 11, 2024

DeLayne Lefevre has two dental practices serving thousands of patients in Madison and Delaware counties. Her patient, whom she called Jim, needed dentures and extractions but his specific Assignment of Benefits (AOB) with his insurance company didn’t allow direct payment to Lefevre. “I agreed to allow Jim to pay once his insurance carrier sent him […]

Judiciary committee wrestles with age verification for pornography and parental rights

By: - January 11, 2024

Legislation introducing barriers to minors attempting to access adult content passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously Wednesday, over the concerns of legal advocates and some legislators.  Separately, legislation making it easier for parents to sue over government action also moved forward. Senate Bill 17 would require that “adult-oriented websites” hosting adult content — […]

IBLC targets fair housing in 2024 agenda

By: - January 10, 2024

The 14-member, all-Democrat Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) announced its agenda for the 2024 legislative session Wednesday, with a focus on making housing more accessible, affordable and equitable for Hoosiers. “The ability to have a house to call your own is an integral part of the American Dream,” East Chicago Rep. Earl Harris, the IBLC’s […]

Holcomb delivers last, reflective State of the State address

By: - January 9, 2024

Term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered his eighth and final State of the State to the General Assembly Tuesday, detailing the accomplishments of his administration and previewing milestones yet-to-come.  “A year ago, I promised you that I would work harder than ever, to continue to improve the prospects for every person that calls Indiana home. Today, […]

U.S. Rep. Pence to step down; fourth Hoosier to exit Congress

By: - January 9, 2024

Another Hoosier will exit Congress at the end of the 2024 term after U.S. Rep. Greg Pence announced his departure on X Tuesday — creating a fourth open Indiana seat. “In 2017, I ran for Congress because I was Ready to Serve Again. As a former Marine Office, I approached the job with purpose. After […]

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon announces retirement, creating an open seat in 2024 election

By: - January 8, 2024

U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon announced Monday he will retire from Congress this year, freeing up another congressional seat for Indiana politicians in the 2024 election cycle. “Scripture teaches us, ‘For everything there is a season, and it became clear to me over the Christmas holiday with much discernment and prayer that the time has come […]