INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels scored a big win in the state Senate with the final passage of bill that creates merit pay for teachers. It's one of a number of developments as lawmakers enter the final week of the 2011 session.
The merit pay proposal is a key element in the education reform package pushed by Daniels. It's now on the way to the governor's desk after a 36 to13 vote. The bill calls for annual teacher evaluations that rely on test scores with raises tied to performance.
Meanwhile, toll roads will be a big part of the governor's legacy but an effort to permit Daniels to create new toll roads was turned back this afternoon. Faced with numerous questions, Senator Tom Wyss withdrew the bill to make changes.
And in a state Senator committee room a so-called "birther" proposal may have died. Both Republicans and Democrats failed to show for a scheduled vote on the measure that could challenge Barack Obama's citizenship. Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger) was asked if Senators stayed away to kill the proposal. "Yeah," he said. "I think a lot of people think it's more of a federal matter anyways."
And back on the Senate floor a proposal to ban synthetic marijuana known as "spice" passed 49 to1. Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says It's meant to create a law that, "Is one of the better, more stronger, well written bills dealing with spice in the country." The spice ban is is headed to the governor's desk.
Still to be dealt with are issues that include redistricting, the state budget, new abortion restrictions and more. Midnight Friday is the deadline to avoid a special session but House Speaker Brian Bosma says it may even be possible for lawmakers to finish early.
Carmel High School took over the Colts Complex for a night Thursday.
Avon Police Department and Avon Community School Corp. are investigating photos sent from female students to male students, police officials said.
Matt Painter has Purdue on the upswing, and they head into Saturday's Crossroads Classic clash with Butler on a 3-game winning streak. The goal? Win the school's first game in the elite doubleheader.