Indiana Is Making It Harder for Minorities to Vote, Lawsuit Alleges – Pema Levy Aug. 10, 2017 3:41 PM


A new state law would close hundreds of polling locations in areas with large minority populations.

The Indiana chapter of the NAACP is suing state election officials to block a new law that would shutter hundreds of polling locations in a county with a large number of African American and Hispanic voters. The lawsuit, filed in federal court Wednesday, alleges that the law specifically targets a particular region of the state with a large minority, poor, and elderly population, impeding the ability of those voters to cast a ballot.

The law was signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in May, as Indiana was already increasing voting opportunities in whiter Republican strongholds while decreasing them in areas with more minority and Democratic voters. An investigation by the Indianapolis Star found that since 2008, when Barack Obama won the state, Republican officials have driven up turnout significantly in conservative, suburban areas by increasing the number of early voting locations. At the same time, they have driven down turnout in Democratic, urban areas by cutting the number of early polling stations. In May, the NAACP, its Indiana chapter, and Common Cause Indiana, a progressive watchdog group, filed a lawsuit over the disparity in early voting locations.

This spring, the Republican-controlled legislature added to this trend with the Lake County Precinct Consolidation Law. The law targets a single county that has the state’s second-largest African American population and its largest Hispanic population. Under the law, the county would have to eliminate or consolidate all voting precincts with fewer than 600 active voters as of the 2016 election. (Voters who are “inactive,” meaning that election officials have flagged them as potentially no longer residing in the county, are not counted, even though they are eligible to vote and often do.)

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Indiana Gives $7 Million in Tax Breaks to Keep Carrier Jobs – By  Ted Mann Updated Dec. 1, 2016 3:26 p.m. ET


The move will keep about 1,000 jobs in the state; Trump says companies won’t leave the U.S. ‘without consequences’

The Carrier Corp. plant in Indianapolis.ENLARGE

The Carrier Corp. plant in Indianapolis. Photo: Associated Press

Indiana officials agreed to give United Technologies Corp. $7 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years to encourage the company’s Carrier Corp. unit to keep about 1,000 jobs in the state, according to people familiar with the matter, a deal struck after intense criticism of Carrier by President-elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

The heating and air conditioning company will invest about $16 million to keep its operations in the state, including a furnace plant in Indianapolis that it had previously planned to close and shift the work to Mexico, the people said.

Mr. Trump, who toured the Carrier plant in Indianapolis Thursday with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, said companies aren’t going to leave the U.S. “anymore without consequences.”

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Indiana law backs GOP hopefuls into a corner – By Katie Glueck and Adam B. Lerner 3/31/15 9:58 PM EDT


Mike Pence is pictured. | Getty

Mike Pence just lobbed a grenade into the Republican presidential field.

The Indiana governor’s religious freedom law has ignited yet another controversial culture war debate that has Republican contenders juggling awkward questions about issues they would just as soon not touch.

This time around, the policy issue isn’t same-sex marriage — it’s about nondiscrimination laws and whether they should accompany Religious Freedom Restoration Acts like the one just passed in Indiana.

But regardless, Republicans are getting pummeled over gay rights issues of all sorts — and face the familiar dilemma of whether a conservative stance that makes for good politics in a GOP primary will hurt them in a general election.

A New York Times editorial called Indiana’s law a “cover for bigotry” and said “nobody is fooled” by conservatives’ misdirection as to the law’s purpose. Video of Rand Paul calling homosexuality a “behavior” surfaced on BuzzFeed. And a Democratic governor used the term “bigot” to describe Pence and by extension the potential 2016 candidates lining up behind him, who so far include Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry.

“There’s no rational discussion going on, ideological voters of all types only hear what they want to hear, and [candidates] have to be careful about what they are saying so as not to offend the base in the 15 seconds or 140 characters they might use to engage on the issue,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based GOP strategist who was once a crusader against gay marriage but has since moderated on the issue. “On the other hand, you don’t want to completely stake out a position that creates a problem for you in the general election.”

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/indiana-law-religious-freedom-gay-rights-gop-2016-116564.html#ixzz3W2h0dTY5

Amid Criticism, Indiana’s Republicans To Revisit Religious Freedom Law – MARCH 30, 201511:16 AM ET


Republican leaders in Indiana say they will work to ensure the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, both Republicans, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference today at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, both Republicans, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference today at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Michael Conroy/AP

Republican leaders in Indiana say they will work to ensure the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“This law does not discriminate, and it will not be allowed to do so,” Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long said at a news conference with state House Speaker Brian Bosma.

They said they would “encourage our colleagues to adopt a clarifying measure of some sort to remove this misconception about the bill.” The Associated Press says that the measure “prohibits state laws that ‘substantially burden’ a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of ‘person’ includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.”

As Indiana Public Media reports, the two Republicans said the state’s GOP governor, Mike Pence, was unclear about the law when he appeared Sunday on ABC’s This Week. (Pence spoke of an “avalanche of intolerance that has been poured on our state” but declined to say whether the law makes it legal to discriminate.)

As NPR’s Scott Neuman reported over the weekend, Pence in media interviews said he supports an effort to “clarify the intent” of the legislation while acknowledging surprise over the hostility it has sparked.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act stoked controversy almost from the moment it was passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature and signed by Pence on Thursday. Pushback came not only from Hoosiers and the hashtag #boycottindiana, but also from some of the country’s biggest corporate figures, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle. (Scott has a roundup of the criticism here.)

Pence and other supporters of the measure note that Indiana is not the only state with such a law on the books. But as Scott noted, “Although the law is similar to a federal one and those in 19 other statessexual orientation is not a protected class in Indiana, leaving the door open for discrimination, critics say.”

At today’s news conference, Long said the law “doesn’t discriminate, and anyone on either side of this issue suggesting otherwise is just plain flat wrong.”

Bosma added: “What it does is it sets a standard of review for a court when issues of religious freedom and other rights collide due to government action.”

Democrats want the measure repealed, but Long and Bosma said that was unlikely.

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/30/396361058/indiana-republicans-say-they-will-seek-to-clarify-religious-freedom-law?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=us

Under pressure from businesses, Indiana could clarify controversial religious freedom law


Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at Mar 29, 2015 1.01

  1. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) told the Indianapolis Star’s Tim Swarens that he’s in discussions with legislators to potentially clarify a controversial religious freedom law so that it won’t promote discrimination against LGBT people.
  2. The law, which Pence signed on Thursday, could legally protect employers, landlords, and business owners who discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.
  3. “[T]his law is not about discrimination,” Pence told Swarens. “It’s about protecting religious liberty and giving people full access to the judicial system.”
  4. Businesses and public figures around the country, including Angie’s Listand George Takei, have criticized the religious freedom law as discriminatory. Pence’s comments appear to come in response to that public pressure.
  5. It’s unclear how, exactly, legislators will alter the religious freedom law. Pence later told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, “We’re not going to change the law, okay? But if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is, and what it has been for the last 20 years, than I’m open to that.”

Indiana is one of dozens of states pushing laws that could limit LGBT rights

Indiana’s law is among the latest in a series of measures Republicans are proposing at the state level that could limit LGBT rights.

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http://www.vox.com/2015/3/29/8307393/mike-pence-indiana-religious-freedom-law

Inmates at America’s oldest women’s prison are writing a history of it—and exploding the myth of its benevolent founders. – By Rebecca Onion MARCH 22 2015 7:37 PM


Women feeding chickens at the Indiana Women’s Prison, early 20th century. Courtesy American Historical Association/Indiana Historical Society

Women feeding chickens at the Indiana Women’s Prison, early 20th century.
Courtesy American Historical Association/Indiana Historical Society

Women feeding chickens at the Indiana Women’s Prison, early 20th century.
Courtesy American Historical Association/Indiana Historical Society

In 1873, two Quaker reformers living in Indiana, shocked by allegations of sexual abuse of female prisoners at the state’s unisex institution, pushed the state to fund the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls: the first totally separate women’s prison established in the United States. For years, Rhoda Coffin, who lobbied for the prison and then joined its first board of visitors, and Sarah Smith, the founding superintendent, enjoyed a historical reputation of benevolence. Coffin and Smith, the story went, started an institution that prioritized reform of inmates over punishment. If their approach was invasive and personally constrictive—the institution focusedon reintegrating prisoners into Victorian gender roles, training them (as the prison’s 1876 annual report put it) to “occupy the position assigned to them by God, viz., wives, mothers, and educators of children”—at least this new kind of prison provided safe surroundings and was bent on giving troubled inmates a second chance at life.

Recently, a group of women currently incarcerated at the 142-year-old institution (now called the Indiana Women’s Prison) began to pore over documents from the prison’s first 10 years. They had set out on an ambitious project: to write a history of the institution’s founding decade, one that tells quite a different story from the official narrative. What happens when inmates write a history of their own prison? In this case, the perspective that the group brought to the project took what inmate Michelle Jones, writing in the American Historical Association’s magazine Perspectives on History, calls “a feel-good story” about Quaker reformers rescuing women from abuse in men’s prisons and turned it into a darker, more complicated tale.

The researchers focused their attention on allegations of wrongdoing at the prison, looking at previously discredited testimonies of prisoners who claimed to have been physically abused and at the activities of a prison doctor who had some very Victorian ideas about women and sex. They began to unravel a long-standing mystery: Why didn’t the prison incarcerate any prostitutes in its early years? They presented their findings at academic conferences and publishedpapers in journals. And they did all of it without access to the Internet.

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola’s New Milk – Dan Charles DECEMBER 25, 2014 3:27 AM ET


Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced that it was going into the milk business. Not just any milk, mind you: nutritious, reformulated super milk.

Cows rotate in the milking parlor at Fair Oaks Farms, a large-scale dairy and tourist attraction, near Rensselaer, Indiana.

Cows rotate in the milking parlor at Fair Oaks Farms, a large-scale dairy and tourist attraction, near Rensselaer, Indiana. Dan Charles/NPR

It also invited ridicule. “It’s like they got Frankenstein to lactate,” scoffedSteven Colbert on his show. “If this product doesn’t work out, they can always re-introduce Milk Classic.”

Fairlife milk, shown here on sale in Minneapolis, Minn., in April 2014, is a partnership between Coca-Cola and Select Milk Producers, a dairy cooperative that owns Fair Oaks Farms.i

Fairlife milk, shown here on sale in Minneapolis, Minn., in April 2014, is a partnership between Coca-Cola and Select Milk Producers, a dairy cooperative that owns Fair Oaks Farms.

Courtesy of Alice Seuffert

In fact, the idea for New Milk didn’t come from Coca-Cola at all. It emerged from a huge, high-tech dairy farm in Indiana.

That dairy, called Fair Oaks Farms, doubles as America’s one and only dairy theme park, a bit of Americana that interrupts a monotonous stretch of Interstate 65 between Chicago and Indianapolis.

It grabs the attention of drivers with a series of tank trucks parked broadside like billboards in fields beside the highway. Painted on the tanks are cryptic messages: “We Dairy You To Exit 200.” Then: “We Double Dairy You.” The final tank truck has two huge fiberglass cows mounted on top of it.

The pitch may be goofy, but the farm is serious business. It’s one of the biggest and most sophisticated dairies in the country, and it is home to 37,000 cows, divided among 11 different milking operations.

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/12/25/372664332/inside-the-indiana-megadairy-making-coca-colas-new-milk?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=2051