- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Latest on activity in the Indiana Legislature, including (all times local):

9:50 p.m.

The GOP-controlled Legislature has approved a plan that will pump about $800 million into fixing the Indiana’s crumbling roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Lawmakers approved the bill late Thursday before adjourning for the year. The measure now goes to Gov. Mike Pence.

The plan taps into the state’s $2 billion budget reserve while shifting some gas tax money that was spent on other priorities back to infrastructure spending.



The agreement would provide about $232 million for improvements to the state’s highways while offering about $585 million to local governments for their own improvements.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said much of the $585 million is from local income tax collections held in state reserve accounts and rightfully belongs to local governments anyway.

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7 p.m.

The Indiana Legislature has approved a bill calling for that will scrap the troubled ISTEP standardized exam that has been administered every year to students.

The House approved the measure on a 77-19 vote Thursday. It also was approved by the Senate and now heads to Gov. Mike Pence.

That measure, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Behning of Indianapolis, would scrap the unpopular test as well as create a panel to study what should replace it.

The bill does not allow Democrats to appoint members to the committee. They criticized Republicans for leaving them out of the process.

Democrats argue education policies approved by Republicans in recent years led to the problems plaguing the ISTEP exam.

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3:30 p.m.

A deal struck by GOP legislative leaders would pump about $800 million into fixing the Indiana’s crumbling roads and bridges without raising taxes.

House Speaker Brian Bosma offered details on the two-year plan for the first time on Thursday.

Bosma said the plan taps into the state’s $2 billion budget reserve while shifting some gas tax money that was spent on other priorities back to infrastructure spending.

The agreement would provide $232 million for improvements to the state’s highways while offering about $585 million to local governments for their own improvements. Bosma said much of the $585 million is from local income tax collections held in state reserve accounts and rightfully belongs to local governments anyway.

1:15 p.m.

Indiana’s GOP-controlled Legislature has approved a bill that would codify into law Gov. Mike Pence’s statewide expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The measure was approved on a 65-35 vote Thursday. It now goes to Pence’s desk.

Indiana’s expansion of Medicaid is called the Health Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0 for short. It has extended health insurance to thousands of people who didn’t previously have it. A waiver granted by the federal government allows the state to charge fees to low-income people for coverage.

Lawmakers also are expected to vote Thursday on a multimillion plan to boost state and local road funding. The deal also is expected to include an extra $42 million for regional economic grants.

Thursday is this legislative session’s planned adjournment day.

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