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Attorney General objects to Democrats’ efforts to obtain state position

(Indianapolis)  — The Indiana attorney general’s office says it has objections to a legal move by Democrats to put their 2010 secretary of state candidate, Vop Osili in office following Republican Secretary of State Charlie White’s conviction on voter fraud charges. Soon after White’s conviction, Governor Mitch Daniels appointed the office’s top counsel, Jerry Bonnet, as interim secretary of state. Last Saturday morning, White was found guilty on six of seven felony counts, leading to the immediate removal from office. But White’s lawyer said he will work to have the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. If that happens, White would be allowed to return to office. A sentencing hearing has been set for February 23 in Noblesville.

Judge orders the return of fines

(Indianapolis)  — A Marion County judge has ordered Indiana House Republicans to return fines levied against House Democrats over their five week walkout during the 2011 session. Marion County Superior Court Judge also issued a preliminary injunction temporarily stopping the majority party from collecting $1,000-a-day fines levied against Democrats in this year’s boycott over right to work legislation. The state’s highest court agreed last month to review  whether the legislature can fine lawmakers and force the state’s auditor to withhold those fines from paychecks. House Democrats boycotted the House this session and five weeks last session in an effort to stop the passage of the controversial right-to-work legislation. Democrats’ boycott hampered Republicans efforts to do business prompting Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma to levy fines against Democrats who walked out. Last week, Governor Mitch Daniels signed the right to work bill into law making Indiana the 23rd state to ban employment contracts that force workers to pay union fees or join unions. Attorney General Greg Zoeller said earlier this week that the state will ask the Indiana Supreme Court to review the judge’s decision.

Ballard reviewing council smoking ban

(Indianapolis)  —  Mayor Greg Ballard is still weighing his options when it comes to a smoking ban that has passed the City-County Council.  Ballard wanted the ordinance to include an automatic exemption for private clubs and veterans halls, while the measure that passed allows those organizations to continue to allow smoking if members vote to approve it.  The ordinance passed 19-to-nine, and if Ballard vetoes it, the council will need to get 20 “yes” votes to override.

 State Fair stage collapse report out today

(Indianapolis)  —  The first official report about what happened at the Indiana State Fair to cause stage rigging to fall last August before the Sugarland concert will be released today.  The Indiana Department of Labor will announce the results of the probe by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the Statehouse.  Seven people were killed and dozens more were hurt in the tragedy.

Officer accused of groping a minor

(Indianapolis)  — An investigation has begun in the prosecutor’s office after an accusation was made against a Marion County Jail guard. A 12-year-old girl claims Ryan Radez, 29,  touched her her during a concert in Super Bowl Village last Friday night. Radez  has been charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct after an Indiana State trooper  questioned him at 10 p.m. According to police reports, the girl identified  Radez as the person who “groped” her while they were in the crowd watching a band on the main stage at Georgia and Pennsylvania streets. A spokesperson from the prosecutor’s office says no charges have been filed against Radez yet while an investigation is ongoing. Radez has been suspended with pay while the sheriff’s office conducts an internal investigation.

Figures released in Super Bowl counterfeit sweep

(Indianapolis)  — Operation Fake Sweep officials say the number of scammers peddling counterfeit  Super Bowl 46 merchandise has risen since last week. Federal and local law enforcement alongside NFL investigators seized a total of $5.12 million worth of counterfeit NFL merchandise. Police said almost 23,000 items of counterfeit Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League merchandise and clothing were among the bogus items discovered. In total, police said the operation took 73,273 phony items with a worth of $6.69 million. Approximately 386 websites were also seized in the sweep with 16 websites illegally streaming live sporting telecasts over the Internet, including NFL games.

Poll results released on sales tax for internet retailer

(Indianapolis)  —  Survey results released yesterday by The Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness say 69% of state residents think it’s unfair that businesses like do business without charging a sales tax. Governor Mitch Daniels and Amazon have recently reached an agreement where the retailer will collect sales tax, but delays the move until 2014.  Governor Daniels said in January when that agreement was struck that it gives the federal government time to come up with a national solution.

Trucking firm shut down

(Indianapolis)  — A local trucking company has been shut down after 26 roadside inspections found multiple safety violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says U&D Service Inc. posed an “imminent hazard” to public safety after federal investigators and Indiana State Police found the company employed drivers who did not have commercial driver’s licenses and did not speak English. Some U&D trucks also were found to be overweight. The shutdown order came after the inspections occurred from last November through the end of last month.  The company can resume business if it submits an approved plan showing it can abide by federal and local laws.

Pacers gain another win 

(Indianapolis)  —  The Indiana Pacers used 25 points from Darren Collison to earn a five-point win over the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.  Danny Granger scored 12 points for Indiana in the fourth quarter.  Indiana goes on the road tonight to play the Atlanta Hawks.