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Date Changes for Indiana Food Stamp Recipients

Food stamp recipients in Indiana will have a different schedule next year. A new state law changes the dates recipients receive their monthly benefits, beginning with a one-month transition in January 2014. This does not affect the amount recipients receive, but the day on which benefits are applied to their Hoosier Works EBT, Electronic Benefits Transfer, cards. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration says having distribution days spread throughout the month will mean fewer shoppers on those days, making shopping easier for SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, clients and easing the demand on grocery stores and other food sellers, allowing merchants to better maintain adequate stock throughout the month.
Here is the news release with details:
INDIANAPOLIS (December 9, 2013) -- The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is informing  the more than 926,000 SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  recipients in Indiana about important changes that will impact them starting in January. The changes are the result of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 530, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013, and will change the dates recipients will receive their monthly benefits beginning with a one month transition in January 2014.
The amount of recipients’ SNAP benefits is NOT changing – but the day on which benefits are applied to their Hoosier Works EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards will change.
Payment dates for SNAP depend on the first letter of the client’s last name, and benefits have previously been made to clients during the first 10 days of each month. SEA 530 dictates that, starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
However, to phase in the change, in the month of January 2014 only, SNAP clients will receive half of their benefits on their current date and the other half on their new date.
FSSA has developed a website to explain the date change at www.SNAP.IN.gov .There is also a chart (see below) showing clients’ current date and future date, based upon the first letter of their last name. In addition, on the website clients can gain a clearer picture of exactly how SEA 530 will impact them and their families by typing in their last names to determine their exact payment dates.
Having distribution days spread throughout the month will mean fewer shoppers on any of those days, making shopping easier for SNAP clients and for all food shoppers. Additionally, spreading distribution days will also ease the burden on grocery stores and other food sellers, as well, as those merchants can spread demand throughout the month.
This chart and the example below demonstrate the distribution of benefits for SNAP clients and how they will change:

First letter of SNAP recipient’s last name
A or B
C or D
E, F or G
H or I
J, K or L
M or N
O, P, Q or R
S
T, U or V
W, X, Y or Z
Old deposit date
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th 
10th
New deposit date
5th
7th
9th
11th
13th
15th
17th
19th
21st
23rd

Here, for example, are dates for a client with the last name “Smith:”
            December 2013 benefits - issued December 8, 2013
            January 2014 benefits – half issued January 8, 2014 and half issued January 19, 2014
            February 2014 benefits – issued on new date of February 19, 2014
In addition to the website, www.SNAP.IN.gov , FSSA has undertaken several different communications to inform SNAP clients of this important change. Those include:
  • FSSA has assembled – and been sharing information with – a team that includes the Indiana Association of United Ways, Indiana 211, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (a group representing food pantries around the state), the Indiana Retail Council, the Indiana Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores and various individual retailers.
    • These organizations and retailers have begun posting and sharing information about the changes in their various locations.
  • Each SNAP recipient has received at least two mailings announcing the change.
  • FSSA has launched a statewide advertising campaign including radio advertising as well as ads on and inside city buses.
  • FSSA has created two videos to be used as public service announcements and to raise awareness of this important change in social media.
  • SNAP clients will receive a voice recording alerting them to this change, via telephone, sometime between December 14 and December 16.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to low and no income people and families living in the United States. It is a federal aid program administered by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, distribution of benefits occurs at the state level. In Indiana, the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is responsible for ensuring federal regulations are initially implemented and consistently applied in each county. Approximately 926,000 Hoosiers from approximately 418,000 households across Indiana – or nearly one-sixth of the population of Indiana – receive SNAP benefits.
More information about SNAP is available at  http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm            ...
 

Crash Closes WB 30 Near Valpo

Traffic-Alert
We're getting word this morning (approx. 750am) that westbound US 30 is closed at the Porter County Airport near Valparaiso due to a three-car crash.  No other information is available at this hour....
 

Saving on Heating Costs in the Bitter Cold

As snow and bitter cold have Hoosiers turning up the thermostat, state officials say there are ways to keep heating costs down. Anthony Swinger with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says a home energy audit can help you reduce use and better manage the bills. He also says many consumers are eligible for a free assessment from Energizing Indiana.  "They'll send someone out, do a walk-through, spend some time with you and actually show you where in your home you can make improvements that can really help and add up," Swinger said.  Other tips include a clean furnace filter, checking your insulation, setting ceiling fans to turn clockwise at a low speed, and using a programmable thermostat – turning down the temperature when you are at work or sleeping.
More information at energizingindiana.com 
Swinger says another easy way to save money is to seek out the “energy vampires” in your house, also referred to as standby power.  "We're talking about a cell phone charger that's plugged into the wall, but no phone is plugged in at the other end," Swinger said.  "Or another small appliance that you might keep plugged in, that doesn't really need to be plugged in, but it is using energy to some degree. "  He also says most Indiana natural gas and electric utilities offer budget billing programs, which all customers to pay specific amounts each month.

...
 

Police Investigate Carjackings in Merrillville

In Merrillville, police are investigating two alleged armed carjackings occurring within about an hour of each other Sunday, the first around 5 pm in the 300 block of East 60th Drive and the second around 6 pm in the 1000 block of East 61st Place. Authorities say two East Chicago teenagers, both 17, who were allegedly in the first vehicle when it was found in Hammond Sunday night face auto theft and other charges, denied knowing of the carjackings. Police say they continue to search for suspects....
 

Police Warn of 'Porch Pirates'

When packages start arriving on porches in the Region during the holidays, unfortunately police say they also start getting stolen.  "Obviously Christmas time a lot of people are shopping online, a lot of packages are being delivered with their gifts to residences," said Porter County Sheriffs Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower. "We just want to remind residents to make sure that they or somebody else or a neighbor is going to be home when that package is delivered."  He said most companies now have tracking over the computer, so you can see when it's going to be delivered,within an approximate time range, and set it up to where you're going to be home, or a relative or a neighbor can be home to get that package as soon as it arrives. Sgt. LaFlower also says requiring a signature for delivery is a way to keep packages from being stolen.  Police say thieves look for big packages that are sitting on the porch of a residence or they follow an actual truck around and pick up packages afterwards.
...
 

Sentencing for Former Councilwoman Delayed to Jan

Sentencing for former longtime Gary city councilwoman Marilyn Krusas has been rescheduled. Krusas, who served on the city council for more than a decade, pleaded guilty in April of this year to felony tax evasion, and resigned from the city council that same month. Krusas was accused of failing to file tax returns since 1991 and failing to pay taxes on a 232-thousand dollar inheritance. Sentencing, which has been rescheduled multiple times this year, was most recently set for December 12. The new sentencing date is January 8th....
 

Purdue Calumet Breaks Ground for Athletics Complex

Groundbreaking 2
 
Purdue University Calumet celebrates an historic day in its rising sports program with the Monday, December 9, 2013 groundbreaking of an outdoor athletics facility at nearby Dowling Park.

Thanks to generous support by the City of Hammond and Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr., development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex, announced originally in 2011, is commencing.

Dowling Park r

The complex (above photo) will be developed in phases. The $5+ million first phase features construction of artificial surface soccer, baseball and softball fields. Subsequent development calls for the addition of six tennis courts; walking path; and a plaza area to include restrooms, concessions/refreshments area, press box, athletic training facility and service/storage/utility buildings.
 

Development of the athletics complex is part of a wide-ranging partnership between Purdue Calumet and the City of Hammond. While the City takes the lead in funding the complex, Purdue Calumet is directing its support toward city and regional economic development and cultural initiatives. Those initiatives include emerging commercialization and manufacturing centers, as well as engaging with the downtown Towle Theater to advance performing arts and ethnic activities.
 

Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park,” McDermott said. “Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”
 

Plans call for the soccer, baseball and softball fields to be completed by next August for use by Purdue Calumet teams during the fall season of the 2014-15 intercollegiate athletics year. Further planning has yet to be finalized.
 

“The development of a truly viable outdoor complex for our expanded athletics program is one of several components that, when ultimately combined, will produce a stronger, richer and more appealing Purdue University Calumet,” Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “It is exciting to be able to take this next step of development, thanks to the support and vision of Mayor McDermott and our corporate partners.”
 
Those corporate partners include Fifth Third Bank, Community Hospital, Albert’s Jewelers, PepsiCo and The Times Media Company.
 

McDermott views the athletics complex as another mutually beneficial opportunity to advance Hammond. “This complex is the latest in a series of improvements and investments in which Purdue Calumet and the city have collaborated for the betterment of Hammond,” the mayor said. “The pending commercialization and manufacturing centers also offer great potential, as does the relationship established with the Towle Theater. Working together, we can achieve even more!”
 

In addition to university men’s and women’s soccer squads beginning play at Dowling Park next fall, baseball and softball teams also likely will play a limited number of games before competing in a full schedule during spring 2015. All athletic facilities will be available for use by the city when Purdue Calumet activity is not scheduled.
 

“The mission of Purdue University Calumet athletics is to guide and support our students in their quest to achieve academic, athletic and social excellence,” Purdue Calumet Athletics Director Rick Costello said. “The Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex will enable us to continue to recruit outstanding student athletes. Quite simply, new athletic facilities will allow our athletics program to compete for excellence now and in the future.”
 

Dowling Park is located in Hammond’s Hessville section, one mile southeast of campus, east of Kennedy Avenue and just north of Interstate 80/94. Purdue Calumet fields 12 varsity sports programs.
 

In addition to men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and softball, Peregrines teams compete in men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and men’s golf.
 

Comments of . . . Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex Corporate Partners

Mayor McDermitt at groundbreaking

(Purdue University Calumet alumnus and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center immediately following the ground breaking of Purdue University Calumet's outdoor athletics complex in Hammond/Dowling Park in the Hessville neighbor of Hammond, on Monday, December 9, 2013) 
 

“Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park. Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”
Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. Mayor, City of Hammond
 

“Fifth Third Bank is proud to expand its ongoing partnership with Purdue University Calumet to include sponsorship of the Peregrines’ softball field. This is a great evolution of our work together, and we look forward to seeing it come to life by hosting students, athletes and residents of Northwest Indiana.”
Craig Pratt Market Executive, Fifth Third Bank of Northwest Indiana
 

“Community Hospital and Purdue University Calumet have had a strong partnership for many years. We are proud to expand the relationship and help support the new outdoor sports facility serving student athletes in our region.”  
Donald P. Fesko, FACHE Chief Executive Officer, Community Hospital
 

“Albert’s Diamond Jewelers and the entire Halpern family are excited and honored to be part of the beginning of what we know will be an incredibly beneficial addition to Purdue Calumet and our entire community. As the adage goes, diamonds last forever; we’re proud to be part of a bigger diamond here today and an even bigger piece of forever.”
Josh Halpern President & Co-Owner, Albert’s Diamond Jewelers
 

“PepsiCo is honored to be the exclusive beverage partner for Purdue University Calumet. We are thrilled to be a part of the groundbreaking events for the new Dowling Park and look forward to engaging in many more student and athletic initiatives in the upcoming years.”
Kevin Desmond, Sr. Sales Manager, PepsiCo Foodservice
 

“The Times is proud to support this unique partnership between Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond. It is a testimony of how varying parts of our government can work together for the good of all. I am pleased to salute Purdue Calumet, Mayor McDermott and the City of Hammond for setting an example of productive cooperation.”
Chris White Publisher, The Times Media Company
 

(photos:  courtesy of Jay Stevens)

...
 

New Bridge Dedication in Hammond Monday

Lt. Governor
In perhaps the shortest ever bridge dedication of its kind, hastened by a below freezing temperature and even colder wind chills, the new Indianapolis Avenue bridge that links Hammond with East Chicago, was dedicated Monday afternoon.
 
Jim Pinkerton, Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation Northwest District started the dedication promptly at 12:30 p.m. introducing the line-up of guests including Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, Representative Ed Soliday. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond City Council members and other local officials.
 
Lt. Governor Ellspermann (above photo) was the first to address the assembled crowd of construction and steel workers, local government officials and media, saying "the project demonstrates great cooperation between INDOT, local officials and economic development officials." Ellspermann said the new bridge meets two needs, "safety and efficiency" but also by improving the bridge's elevation over the switch yard, will facilitate future expansion in the area.

Bridge plaques

(photo: L to R; East Chicago mayor Anthony Copeland, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, Indiana Lt. governor Sue Ellspermann and 4th District Represenative Ed Soliday)
 Before introducing the two mayors to speak Pinkerton unveiled two memorial plaques (above photo) that will be placed on each side of the bridge.

Mayor Tom McDermott
Mayor McDermott (above photo) went on to thank INDOT, the contractors working on the project to finish the bridge ahead of schedule thereby less inconveniencing businesses that depend on the traffic flowing between the two cities. Acknowledging the project was "pushed" along by Governor Pence's office, the mayor of East Chicago and himself McDermott said, " we make great things happen in a short amount of time." 

 
 Two mayors at bridge
East Chicago Mayor (above photo with Mayor McDermott) spoke next said "...this bridge represents the...glue that combines the two cities together." Mayor Copeland said that he and Mayor McDermott are, "...stand here united as mayors saying that we know the economic costs that could have been suffered." Copeland symbolically said that crossing over the bridge will reunite the two communities that were severed while the work was being done, "...our communities will always stand as one and this bridge is a testament to that."
Rep Ed Soliday

Just before the actual ribbon cutting, 4th District Representative Ed Soliday (above photo) praised the cooperation of the state saying, "...we've been able to get over $400 million more dollars this year to do projects just like this." Representative Soliday said that infrastructure is, "the key to our economy, key to great communities like East Chicago and Hammond."

 Ribbon Cutting blur
(above photo:  the ribbon cutting of the new nine span bridge in Hammond on Monday, December 9, 2013)
 
According to INDOT, the 1200 foot long new Nine Span Bridge was completed ahead of scheduled and opens to traffic today. The expedited reconnection of this link between the cities of Hammond and East Chicago is vital, as the Nine Span Bridge is one of the busiest north-south routes in the region. More than 20,000 vehicles a day use the bridge. 
 
 
The original Nine Span Bridge, constructed in the mid-1930s, was one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Portions from the iconic structure were saved and stored for future use on a trail project or other low traffic thoroughfare, if a community is interested in the next ten years. 
Dunnet Bay Construction of Glendale Heights, Illinois was awarded the $18 million contract for both the bridge's demolition and the building of the new span..
 
For Nine Span Bridge demolition and construction pictures, videos, and more visit INDOT’s social media channels at http://www.YouTube.com/IndianaDOT, www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest, and www.Twitter.com/INDOTNorthwest
You can listen to the entire bridge dedication ceremony by selecting the News Audio On Demand link at: http://www.regionnewsteam.com

(photos/provided by Jay Stevens)
...

 

Five Arrested and Charged with Robbery and Burglary

Shawn Sobolewski
(Photos Courtesy of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office; Above:
Shawn Sobolewski. Below: Brandon Montano)
Brandon Montano
A total of five suspects have now been charged for their alleged involvement in two separate robberies and burglaries that occurred in LaPorte County in mid-May and July. The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office announced today 34 year old Shawn Sobolewski, 20 year old Brandon Montano, 18 year old Jonathan Surber and 16 year old Bryan Parish, all from Michigan City, are charged in the May 17th burglary and robbery in the 56-hundred West block of County Road 300 North. Authorities report Parish will be charged as an adult, and along with Montano, also faces a charge of criminal confinement
Jonathan Surber
(Above: Jonathan Surber. Below: Bryan Parish)
Bryan Parish
Meanwhile Sobolewski, Montano, Surber and 18 year old Jeremy Montano, are charged in the July 4th robbery and burglary that occurred in the ten-thousand West block of County Road 200 South near Westville. Authorities in each burglary, the victim was confined and robbed.
Jeremy Montano
(Above: Jeremy Montano)...
 

Deer Saved from Icy Des Plaines River Dies

Rescuers in Illinois attempted to save a deer that had fallen through an icy river. ABC News reports that for about an hour rescuers braved the icy waters to carve out a path in the Des Plaines river as the buck struggled to stay a float... "So we break up the icy and try to guide it back." It was unable to get to shore, and had to be pulled to land with a rope. It later died. Tri-State Fire Protection District Chief Michelle Gibson says they've never done an ice rescue quite like that for an animal before. But asked if they would send humans into icy waters again to rescue an animal... "We would do it again in a heart beat."...
 

Two DeMotte Men Arrested in Controlled Bust/Buy

Two DeMotte men were arrested on Sunday and charged with dealing a methamphetamine. The Jasper County Sheriff's Office reports at approximately 5:30pm, the Sheriff's Drug Interdiction and Investigation Unit conducted a controlled buy/bust, in the DeMotte area, at a pre-determined location. The suspect, 18 year old Dean Pigg, arrived as a passenger in a vehicle and allegedly exchanged methamphetamine for a substance he believed to be “Spice” a synthetic drug. After the exchange police stopped the vehicle, driven by 40 year old Paul Justice, and both Pigg and Justice were taken to jail....
   

P3 Deal Terms Presented to Gary Airport

GaryChicagoAirportLogo
Terms to improve the economic landscape of the Gary/Chicago International Airport were presented today. Marketing & Communications Liaison with the Gary/Chicago International Airport, James Ward III says no decision has been made, but once the documents and terms have been reviewed a meeting will be set in the next couple of weeks.
The proposed terms were negotiated by the Ad Hoc committee with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., of Virginia, and include an investment of 25 million dollars in the first three years and a minimum 30 percent goal for local workforce participation as well as performance incentives for revenue growth, including profit sharing with the airport and the City of Gary. For more information, visit http://garychicagoairport.com/pdf/News%20Release%20GYY%20TERMS%20120913.pdf...
   

Two Abandoned Horses Adopted Together

horses
(Photo Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office)
Two horses that were abandoned last month at 241st Avenue in Schneider near the LaSalle State Fish and Wildlife Area have been adopted together. The Lake County Animal Adoption Center made the announcement today that the two horses, who were discovered on November 3rd very malnourished are now thriving. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich would like to thank the community for their overwhelming response to this issue and the willingness to adopt these two animals....
   

IL Senator Kirk Recovering from Gall Bladder Surgery

Republican Senator Mark Kirk is recovering at an Illinois hospital after undergoing surgery this morning for stomach pains.  ABC News reports Senator Kirk's office says the junior Senator from Illinois was admitted to a hospital in Illinois Saturday morning after complaining of stomach pains. Doctors determined Kirk had gall stones, and needed to have his gall bladder removed. He underwent successful surgery this morning. His doctor expects a quick recovery. In 2012 Kirk suffered from a stroke. He returned to the Senate a year later. ...
   

New Leaked Documents Reveal NSA Spying on Gamers

Did the National Security Agency spy ... on gamers? New documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal American and British spies went looking for potential terrorists who were playing online video games. ABC News reports they weren't going to be content looking for needles of information in haystacks of emails and phone call metadata so American and British spies also went looking for terrorists in the fantasy land of online video games - like World of Warcraft and Second Life. This latest revelation from classified documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says intelligence officials worried bad guys could exist as avatars or elves and talk to each other in code. But the documents don't say they actually found any terrorists in these potentially target-rich environments. ...
   

US Marshals Fugitive of the Week: Michael Saunders

Michael Saunders
(Photo Courtesy of the US Marshals Service)
A 33 year old man wanted by the Lake County Sheriff's Department for child molestation is this week's US Marshals Service, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force “Fugitive of the Week.” Michael Saunders is described as a black male, six-feet tall, with black hair and brown eyes who has been known to reside throughout northwest Indiana with ties to Gary, Hobart and Lake Station. 
Anyone with information on Michael Othell  Saunders  and his whereabouts may contact task force investigators by calling toll-free (888) 805-6119 or by texting “capture” to Tip411 (847411). All tipsters will remain anonymous....
   

Pence Announces Cost-Saving Measures

Gov Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence today announced the state will take a number of cost-saving measures in light of the November revenue report, which shows state revenue is 141 million dollars lower than projected this fiscal year. The state will require agencies to hold back an additional one-point-five percent of their appropriations, sell the state plane, delay planned expenses for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and require a two-percent reserve on university operations and line items, which will reportedly save an additional 57 million dollars this fiscal year. The measures come on top of previous steps to preserve the state's structural surplus, which have already saved the state 116 million dollars.
The November revenue report and commentary from Budget Director Brian Bailey have been posted on the State Budget Agency webpage. The report can be found here.
The full list of cost-saving measures can be found here....
   

Gary Councilman Charged with Failure to File Tax Returns

Charges and a plea agreement were officially filed today against a Gary City Councilman. 42 year old Ronier Scott, of Gary, has agreed to plead guilty to two-counts of willfully failing to file income tax returns for the 2008 and 2009 calender years. The charges were filed as a result of an investigation by the IRS and Scott could face up to a year in prison if convicted. Scott represents Gary's 6th District. ...
   

Wanted Subject Arrested in LaPorte

marcus koehn new
(Photo Courtesy of the LaPorte Police Department)
A man previously listed as the LaPorte Police Department's “Wanted Person of the Week” in November was arrested over the weekend. LaPorte Police today announced 28 year old Marcus Koehn, was taken into custody without incident at 11:12 pm Friday night after a search warrant was obtained for an apartment at County Acres Apartments Complex in LaPorte. Koehn was wanted on a warrant through LaPorte Police for felony theft, and misdemeanor battery and invasion of privacy. He was also wanted by the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office on charges of battery and failure to appear. A 22 year old woman, whose apartment Koehn was found in, was also taken into custody and charged with felony assisting a criminal....
   

Region School Joins Ind Challenge of Obamacare

The Indiana Attorney General's Office today announced two dozen other school districts, including one in the Region, are joining a lawsuit filed by the state against the Internal Revenue Service, challenging the multi-million dollar tax penalties the IRS could potentially impose under the employer mandate of Obamacare. Fifteen schools and the state filed the federal suit October 8th. East Porter County Schools are among the 24 additional districts joining the lawsuit. Reiterating the initial complaint, the now 39 schools and the State allege the IRS exceeded its legal authority under the Affordable Care Act, the federal healthcare restructuring law that Congress passed in 2010.
News Release from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller:
INDIANAPOLIS – Another 24 school corporations have joined the lawsuit the State of Indiana and 15 schools filed against the Internal Revenue Service, challenging the multi-million-dollar tax penalties the IRS potentially could impose against state and local governments in 2015 under the “employer mandate” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Plaintiffs today filed an amended complaint in federal court listing 24 additional schools that joined the lawsuit since the original group of 15 schools and the State filed it October 8.
Reiterating the initial complaint, the total 39 schools and the State allege the IRS exceeded its legal authority under the ACA, the federal healthcare restructuring law that Congress passed in 2010.  The IRS this year issued a regulation that has the effect of charging large financial penalties in all states against large employers who do not offer health insurance to those working more than 30 hours per week as full-time employees.  The lawsuit alleges the IRS regulation contradicts specific ACA wording Congress passed, which had authorized the IRS to impose employer-mandate penalties only in those states where state-established health-insurance exchanges exist.  Indiana is one of 27 states that opted not to create a state exchange, meaning the federal government runs an exchange for Indiana residents.
Under the employer mandate, the potential penalty for large employers for non-compliance is $2,000 per employee for all full-time employees in the organization.  The State of Indiana is employer to approximately 28,000 executive branch workers.  In the lawsuit, the State is represented by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.
“Before being subjected to draconian IRS tax penalties, the State and 39 schools ask the federal court whether they are under federal taxing authority like private-sector employers.  The objective of this case is to defend fundamental state authority to structure our government workforce to provide services; and individuals’ access to health insurance never has been the focus of the suit,” Zoeller said.
The amended lawsuit asks the federal court to issue an injunction blocking the IRS and other federal agencies from applying the unauthorized regulation and penalties against the school corporations and State as government employers.  Plaintiffs also ask the federal court to issue a declaratory judgment finding the IRS regulation as applied to State government and schools is unconstitutional and void under the Tenth Amendment.
“Our State should be protected as is constitutionally guaranteed from federal government overreach under our American system of federalism, and the participation of so many school corporations in the challenge reflects mutual concern that this principle has been undermined by the IRS’s actions,” Zoeller said.
The 24 additional school corporations who joined the lawsuit in the amended complaint filed today are:
Area 30 Career Center Education Interlocal, Greencastle, Ind.
Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation, Knightstown, Ind.
Cloverdale Community School Corporation, Cloverdale, Ind.
Daleville Community Schools, Daleville, Ind.
Eastern Howard School Corporation, Greentown, Ind.
East Porter County School Corporation, Kouts, Ind.
Eminence Community School Corporation, Eminence, Ind.
Fayette County School Corporation, Connersville, Ind.
Greencastle Community School Corporation, Greencastle, Ind.
Monroe Central School Corporation, Parker City, Ind.
Nettle Creek School Corporation, Hagerstown, Ind.
Northeastern Wayne School Corporation, Fountain City, Ind.
North Putnam Community School Corporation, Bainbridge, Ind.
Northwestern School Corporation, Kokomo, Ind.
North West Hendricks School Corporation, Lizton, Ind.
Old National Trail Special Services Cooperative, Greencastle, Ind.
Salem Community Schools, Salem, Ind.
Shelby Eastern School Corporation, Fairland, Ind.
South Gibson School Corporation, Fort Branch, Ind.
South Putnam Community School Corporation, Greencastle, Ind.
Taylor Community School Corporation, Kokomo, Ind.
Union School Corporation, Modoc, Ind.
Western School Corporation, Russiaville, Ind.
Western Wayne Schools, Pershing, Ind.
The original 15 school corporations who were plaintiffs along with the State in the initial complaint October 8 are:
Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, Martinsville, Ind.
Perry Central Community Schools, Leopold, Ind.
Benton Community School Corporation, Fowler, Ind.
Community School Corporation of Eastern Hancock County, Charlottesville, Ind.
John Glenn School Corporation, Walkerton, Ind.
Monroe-Gregg School District, Monrovia, Ind.
Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, Mooresville, Ind.
North Lawrence Community Schools, Bedford, Ind.
Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County, Fairland, Ind.
Shelbyville Central Schools, Shelbyville, Ind.
Southwest Parke Community School Corporation, Montezuma, Ind.
Vincennes Community School Corporation, Vincennes, Ind.
Madison Consolidated Schools, Madison, Ind.
South Henry School Corporation, Straughn, Ind.
Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated School Corporation, Hanover, Ind.
The 39 school corporations are represented by Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, while the State is represented by the Attorney General’s Office.
No court dates have been scheduled yet in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.  No response has been filed yet by the federal defendants, which include the IRS and its acting commissioner Daniel Werfel, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and the U.S. Department of Labor and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez....
   

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