Today's News

Officials Break Ground on $100 Million Expansion Project in LaPorte

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Governor Mike Pence addresses the crowd on the grounds at Alcoa’s manufacturing facility

Governor Mike Pence helped Alcoa dignitaries break ground Thursday morning on a $100 million expansion project next to its current facility in LaPorte.

The 320,000 square foot addition will enable 329 new workers to produce nickel-based superalloy jet engine parts. It will allow Alcoa to go beyond the structural engine component assembly for business and regional jets to large commercial aircraft. The plant will also increase the company’s capacity to supply engines for narrow-body aircraft, which are the top-selling jet engines in the world.

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Local Representative Appointed to School Safety Interim Study Committee

Senator Jim Arnold

Senator Jim Arnold

The state’s new School Safety Interim Study Committee has a local representative.

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold, who represents most of LaPorte County and several townships in Starke County, was appointed to the committee and he will work with fellow appointees to look at ways to improve safety among the state’s schools and develop best practices for school resource officers hired under the provisions of Senate Enrolled Act 1. The act provides schools with grant funding to hire officers to assist with school safety and security.

Among other committees he’s been appointed to, Senator Arnold will serve on the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee. The committee is charged with studying a variety of issues surrounding the investigation and sentencing of crimes in Indiana, including the criminal code that was approved in April. The law takes effect next year which includes sentencing laws, local corrections programs and the suspension of certain sentences.

Bill Passes Senate to Help LaPorte Homeowners

Senator Jim Arnold

Senator Jim Arnold

A unanimous vote was given by the Indiana Senate on a bill sponsored by State Senator Jim Arnold concerning minimizing property tax debt for LaPorte County residents.

House Bill 1261 would allow eligible LaPorte County homeowners to receive deductions in delayed property taxes for all assessment dates rather than a current assessment date.

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Cellphone Trafficking Bill Passes the Senate

Senator Jim Arnold

Senator Jim Arnold

A bill sponsored by State Senator Jim Arnold passed out of the Senate Thursday.

House Bill 1256 focuses on deterring the trafficking of cellphones into the state’s prisons. If a suspect is caught, the action would be classified as a Class C felony. The individual would also be fined up to $10,000 while inmates found possessing cellphones would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and fined up to $5,000.

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Senator Arnold Sponsors Several Bills Supporting Law Enforcement

Senator Jim Arnold

Senator Jim Arnold

The Indiana General Assembly is nearing its halfway point, and several proposals from the House of Representatives are now moving through the Senate. State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte has sponsored a variety of bills touching on a diverse range of issues, including legislation aiming to support law enforcement.

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Sen. Jim Arnold Focuses Legislation on Veteran Business, Transparency

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte has introduced a number of bills this legislative session on a variety of issues, including price preferences for veteran businesses, better government transparency, and increased public safety.

Senate Bill 271 aims to create opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses to participate in providing purchases and services for state agencies. The bill would require state agencies to have a set goal of veteran-owned businesses contributing at least three percent of purchases for the total dollar amount consumed every fiscal year. The bill would require the Indiana Department of Administration to post on its website and present to the governor and the legislative council an annual report recognizes state agencies that did not meet past fiscal year goals, and would also include the reason for missing the goal and what is being done to correct it.

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IACP Names Senator Arnold Legislator of the Year

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte was named Legislator of the Year by the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police for providing outstanding service to the law enforcement community while serving as a state senator.

Arnold said that there are several issues that are important to him as he has personal experience serving as the LaPorte County Sheriff and 36 years in law enforcement.

Since joining the State Senate in 2007, Sen. Arnold has pushed several legislative initiatives in support law enforcement. In 2009, he successfully sponsored House Bill 1331 which requires all active duty officers be provided torso body armor regardless of local budget constraints.

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State Senator Arnold to Visit 30 Local Businesses

Senator Jim Arnold

Democratic State Senator Jim Arnold will be visiting 30 businesses in 30 days in the next month. Arnold says he wants to meet with local business owners and tour company sites to gain a perspective on current economic conditions.

Business owners in LaPorte County and northern Starke County are encouraged to contact the Senator to set a visit in October by calling (317) 232-9532.

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Senator Arnold Endorsed By Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte was recently endorsed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s non-partisan political action program for his reelection in November. Arnold represents Senate District 8 in the Indiana General Assembly, a district which encompasses the majority of LaPorte County including the City of LaPorte and the eastern part of Michigan City as well as portions of St. Joseph and Starke counties.

The selection decision was made based on Arnold’s voting record and support for issues important to improving the business climate in Indiana. Arnold was first elected to the Indiana State Senate in 2007.

This year, Arnold is serving on the Interim Study Committee on Economic Development. Sen. Arnold serves as the Ranking Democrat of three Senate Standing Committees: Appointments and Claims; Homeland Security, Transportation and Veteran Affairs; and Public Policy. He is also a member of the Elections Committee as well as Pensions and Labor.

Senator Jim Arnold Receives Award From Disabled American Veterans Department

Senator Jim Arnold

The Disabled American Veterans Department of Indiana on Friday named State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte Legislator of the Year in recognition of his support for key veteran and military affairs issues at their annual state convention in Indianapolis. Arnold was previously recognized in April by the Michigan City chapter of the DAV for his dedication and commitment to Indiana servicemen and women.

Arnold said that because of his personal experience as an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force, these issues are particularly important to him. Since he joined the State Senate in 2007, Arnold has supported several legislative initiatives in support of Indiana’s veterans, including House Bill 1178 in 2010 – an act requiring post-deployment health evaluations of returning Indiana National Guardsmen and women to be conducted in person by a trained healthcare provider.

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State Senator Jim Arnold Visits Knox City Council

Senator Jim Arnold

State Senator Jim Arnold visited the Knox City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The reason for the visit was to give the council members and mayor a review of the most recent session of the state legislature.

“We had a total of 815 bills this year that were proposed. Of these 415 bills were proposed in the Senate and 400 were proposed in the house. Out of the total of 815 bills, 175 were sent to Governor Daniels for his signature, and he signed every one of them,” Arnold said.

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State Senator Jim Arnold Recognized by Disabled American Veterans

Senator Jim Arnold

State Senator Jim Arnold was recently recognized by the Disabled American Veterans Local Chapter 23 for his support of key veteran and military affairs issues. The Michigan City chapter noted Arnold’s dedication and commitment to Indiana servicemen and women during the organization’s annual awards dinner.

Since joining the State Senate in 2007, Senator Arnold has pushed a number of legislative initiatives in support of Indiana’s veterans. In 2010, Arnold successfully sponsored House Bill 1178, an act requiring post-deployment health evaluations of returning Indiana National Guardsmen and women to be conducted in-person by a trained healthcare provider.

Three Bills Authored by State Senator Jim Arnold Pass Senate

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold, of LaPorte, authored three bills that have been approved by the full Senate.

Senate Bill 193 improves local government transparency through public financial disclosures. This will requires any candidate running for a local or school board office to file a statement of economic interest. This will disclose personal or professional ties to businesses.

Senate Bill 11 curtails animal fighting contests by imposing greater penalties on spectators. The bill would raise the penalty for attending an animal fighting contest from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

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Right to Work Bill Could be Law this Week

Indiana Statehouse

With the House’s recent approval of the right to work bill drumming up a lot of heat, State Senator Jim Arnold told WKVI that the bill is now on the fast track through the legislative system, and he expects it to land on the governor’s desk by Thursday but first, Arnold says, the bill will be heard today at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate during a Pensions and Labor Committee meeting. Following that, the bill will be voted on again on Tuesday with an opportunity for amendments to be heard on the floor of the Senate.

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Senate Committee Approves Animal Fighting Bill

Indiana Statehouse

The Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters voted to approve a bill yesterday that would raise the penalty for attending an animal fighting contest from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony. Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold, of LaPorte, authorized the piece of legislation, which aims to curtail animal fighting contests by imposing greater penalties on spectators.

Senate Bill 11 would give spectators the same punishment that currently exists for promoters and sponsors.

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State Legislators to Help Author a Bill to Help Pay for Starke County Jail

Starke County Jail

Financing possibilities and informing the public have been topics the Starke County Jail Committee has been working on recently. The committee has discussed holding informational meetings throughout the county to bring the public up to date on various options for rehabbing or building a new jail.

Fires, escapes, and a class action lawsuit have brought attention to the liabilities at the jail. Reportedly the second oldest county jail in the state, the facility has been overcrowded at times throughout the past year.

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Senator Jim Arnold to Seek Re-Election

Senator Jim Arnold

State Senator Jim Arnold this week announced his intentions to seek re-election in Senate District 8 where he has served since 2007. Arnold currently serves as the Caucus Chair for the Senate Democratic Caucus. In his announcement, Arnold said that he is eager to continue to serve the people of La Porte, Starke and St. Joseph Counties at the Statehouse.

Recently changed during the 2011 redistricting process, Indiana Senate District 8 now encompasses the majority of La Porte County including the City of La Porte and the western part of Michigan City. It also includes Western St. Joseph County and Davis, Oregon, Washington, Center and Jackson Townships in Starke County.

“As a former sheriff, public safety issues have been, and will continue to be, a legislative issue of particular importance to me, “Arnold said.

Senator Arnold resides in La Porte, Indiana, along with his wife Lauren. They have seven children and twelve grandchildren.

Starke County Commissioners Hear Update on Jail Committee

Scott Cherry explains Skillman's part in the Starke County Jail project

The Starke County Commissioners were brought up to date on the activities of the Starke County Jail Committee last week. Commissioner Kathy Norem, who heads up the committee, introduced Scott Cherry, Account Executive with the Skillman Corporation, a construction management firm with headquarters in Indianapolis and a regional office in Merrillville.

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Starke County Jail Committee to Consider Number of Prisoners When Planning New Jail

Starke County Jail

As the discussion of a new Starke County Jail has progressed, the question is how many beds the facility should have. In recent months, the county jail has had times when the facility was housing up to 80 prisoners.

When planning for a new jail that could be in operation for 40 years, it is important to consider how many prisoners could be housed at one time.

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State Senator Jim Arnold Reappointed to Study Committees

Senator Jim Arnold

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) upon recommendation by Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville), has reappointed State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) as a member of the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee, the Criminal Code Evaluation Committee, and as a member of several other interim committees and commissions.

Arnold told WKVI News that he is eager to continue the work started last year by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Committee and Criminal Code Evaluation Commission to address Indiana’s rising prison population and hopes the committee will look into lesser sentences for nonviolent offenders.

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