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Gov. Mitch Daniels Endorses Romney

From the Associated Press

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is endorsing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Daniels, once thought to be considering a presidential run of his own, says he’ll do whatever he’s asked to help the former Massachusetts governor defeat President Barack Obama.

Daniels consistently declined to endorse Romney before his lock on the GOP nomination was secure. He’s also mentioned as a possible choice for vice president.

The Romney campaign initiated that search this week.

Prior to his election as Indiana governor, Daniels served as director of the Office of Management and Budget in President George W. Bush’s administration. He’s also a former advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

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Daniels: Changes Planned in Response to Stage Collapse

From the Associated Press

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is outlining a handful of changes the state is taking following last year’s deadly state fair stage collapse.

Daniels says he has ordered the state Department of Homeland Security to begin reviewing temporary outdoor structures like the stage rigging that collapsed Aug. 13.

He also said firings at the state fair commission could be a part of an overhaul he’s now considering. He did not say whether that included State Fair director Cindy Hoye.

An independent investigation released last week found the state fair had no clear chain of command for deciding when to evacuate fans. A separate probe found that the rigging which killed seven people and injured close to 60 people was not built to withstand the 59-mph winds that knocked it down.

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Indiana High Court Says Daniels Can Appoint White’s Successor

From the Associated Press:

The Indiana Supreme Court has cleared the way for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to appoint ousted Secretary of State Charlie White’s replacement, dashing Democrats’ hopes of taking the politically powerful statewide office.

The court voted unanimously today to overturn a Marion County judge’s decision ordering the state recount commission to certify 2010 runner-up Vop Osili as the state’s top elections official.

Democrats argued that White’s candidacy was invalid because he was improperly registered to vote. They said his Feb. 4 conviction on voter fraud charges proved their point.

The commission contended that the criminal case and the civil case were unrelated and the court should not overturn an election. It argued that since White was removed from office for a conviction, he should be replaced by the governor.

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Battle Over White’s Replacement Likely Headed To State Supreme Court

The felony conviction of former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has Democrats and Republicans going to battle over who should replace him if the judge upholds the verdicts.

White was found guilty last weekend of voter fraud and other counts related to his voter registration for the 2010 Republican primary, and was forced from office.

Prosecutors say White lied about his address in order to protect his council seat in the Fishers community.

White says he plans to ask the judge to reduce his convictions to misdemeanors at sentencing later this month, which would allow him to resume office.

IUPUI political science professor Brian Vargus says it’s unlikely the judge will grant the request, and the state Supreme Court will likely determine who holds the job next.

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Daniels Announces Bonuses For State Workers

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that the state will award bonuses to most government workers to recognize their cost-saving efforts over the past several years.

Most workers will get one-time bonuses of $500, $750 or $1,000 based on their performance over the last year.

State Auditor Tim Berry reported yesterday that the state ended the year with about $1.2 billion in cash reserves, thanks in large part to the efficiency efforts of state workers.

Daniels said that the rest of the state’s surplus is likely to be socked away rather than spent to replenish cuts to education and health care made over the last year.

“This national economy is staggering. Everybody now sees what we’ve been seeing for a long time, which is that this is a very anemic recovery with a lot more clouds,” he said.

Indiana state employees got a small pay raise in January. There were no pays hike for three years prior to that because of lagging revenues.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

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Now Out Of 2012 Race, Daniels Says He’ll Stay Active In Debate

From the Associated Press:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says he will continue to promote fiscal conservatism and influence the 2012 presidential debate from the sidelines now that he’s decided not to run for the office himself.

Daniels, in his first public appearance since announcing he wouldn’t seek the GOP nomination, said he’ll try to keep the campaign’s focus on fiscal conservatism through speaking engagements and promoting the book he is writing.

He said he isn’t sure whether he’ll endorse another candidate.

Daniels spoke after attending a meeting of the Indiana Education Roundtable. He announced last weekend that he wouldn’t run because he was concerned about the impact the race would have on his family. He says speculation that he could be a candidate for Vice-President is “far-fetched” and the chance of the issue being raised “next to zilch.”

Daniels says he hasn’t given any thought to a cabinet job if Republicans win back The White House.

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House Vote Set On Indiana Education Bills

From the Associated Press:

Indiana lawmakers are set to vote tomorrow on two sweeping education bills: One aimed at spurring more charter schools and another to create the most expansive private school voucher program in the country.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma says he expects both bills will be put up for a final legislative vote tomorrow morning. They’re part of Republican Governor Mitch Daniels’ aggressive education agenda, and both are expected to pass the GOP-ruled House.

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Indiana Immigration Bill Among Measures Awaiting Final Action

Indiana state lawmakers return to the Statehouse today for the final two weeks of the General Assembly.

Measures still awaiting final action include the state budget, charter school legislation, a redistricting proposal and an immigration bill.

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David Appointed To Indiana High Court

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has appointed Boone Circuit Judge Steven David to the state Supreme Court.

David was one of three finalists for the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Theodore Boehm.

He told reporters that he’ll bring a simple judicial philosophy to the high court.

“Every day is another opportunity. We can fix almost anything. I tell kids that, I tell adults in the criminal justice system, ‘you can improve, you can do better,'” he said.

It will remain an all-male court, as Daniels did not select the only woman among the three finalists. He says he would have liked to appoint a woman but David’s breadth of experience made him the best choice for the post.