Economy & Finance

2013 Indiana General Assembly Faces New Challenges

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The 2013 Indiana General Assembly will begin the upcoming legislative session with a Republican supermajority in both the Indiana House, with 69 out of 100 seats, and state Senate, with 37 out of 50. Adding to the challenges that go along with a rather lengthy biennial budget session, there will be 25 incoming freshmen eagerly awaiting leadership and direction from their incumbent counterparts, many of which have been in office less than two years.

This all came about after the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions, when Rep. Pat Bauer, minority house leader, led Democraticwalkouts to stop passage of Indiana’s right-to-work law. Republicans not only enacted right-to-work legislation, but also grew their majority by slammingDemocrats in campaign ads for “walking off the job.” After the 2012 fall election, Indiana House Republicans achieved a net increase of nine seats to give them a 69-31 quorum-proof majority. With a quorum-proof majority, Republicans will have sufficient seats to conduct business without Democratic members in attendance, effectively blocking any future walkouts.

Leading the House Republicans for the next two years are Speaker of the HouseBrian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), Majority Floor LeaderRepresentative Bill Friend (R-Macy) and Representative Kathy Kreag Richardson as caucus chairwoman (R-Noblesville). The Senate Republican majority caucus consisting of 35 incumbents and two Senators-elect, re-elected state Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne) as their choice for senate president pro tempore and state Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) as majority caucus chair.

This summer, Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) was removed as House Democratic leader, recently replaced by Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) as minority leader, with Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) elected as minority floor leader.

Concerns have been expressed the majority will try to move some rather controversial pieces of legislation forward, but Speaker Bosma informed the Indianapolis Star their agenda was already set and they would be focusing on maintaining a balanced budget, Hoosiers gaining access to job training, and early childhood education. “I think the track record is one of inclusion and outreach and bipartisanship,” Bosma said. “There’s no carte blanche here. … It’s about doing what’s right.”

Those joining the 2013 Indiana General Assembly representatives from Southwest Indiana include: two new members to the House of Representatives, Tom Washburne (R) and Lloyd Arnold (R); four incumbent House members: Ron Bacon (R), Wendy McNamara (R), Gail Riecken (D), and Suzanne Crouch (R); and one incumbent senator, Vaneta Becker (R).
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