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Pence drops controversial JustIN project

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The announcement comes after two days of unsuccessful damage control by the governor and his staff, who said that Just IN was really meant as a clearinghouse for news releases despite terminology in draft documents that suggested otherwise.

The controversy distracted from a big win for the governor, the federal approval of the Healthy Indiana Plan expansion.

And the memo was made public shortly after Democrats in the General Assembly attempted to block funding for it in the Indiana House.

“All across state government in every single agency of our bureaucracy we’re going to have people attempting to create their own news,” said Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington,) “rather than just providing information allowing a free and independent press to do it.”

“I think in this case the best thing is simply to zero out funding,” said Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Minority Leader,) “for something that would endeavor to replace our free and independent media here at the Statehouse.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma expressed sympathy for that amendment but ruled it out of order regardless.

It was a strong message to the governor to pull the plug or watch lawmakers do it later.

Mike Pence got the message.

Two employees assigned to the website will be reassigned within state government.

Pence explained that the current public calendar website will be stream-lined.

“The updated calendar will be fully automated and designed to post all press releases and public meeting notices in real time,” Pence wrote.