Indiana legislative hurdles await GOP super majority
The effort to get more young Indiana children into preschool, and the controversial issue of health care, are just two of the big issues Indiana lawmakers will have to tackle at the beginning of 2013.
The challenges that confront the 118th General Assembly are obvious. It starts with the crafting a two-year budget.
"There are challenges on the budget front, needs for our schools. We have a lot of unknowns as far as the Affordable Health Care Act," said Sen. David Long.
The Indiana Senate re-elected Fort Wayne Sen. David Long as President Pro Tem. The House followed suit, re-electing Brian Bosma as speaker.
"With 25 new members elected to this body in the past election and half of our colleagues with less than two sessions under their belt, those of us in leadership roles have our work cut out for us," said Bosma.
Speaker Bosma has already outlined his priorities that include the budget and more emphasis on early childhood education. Republicans do have super majorities in both the House and the Senate which means all they have to fear is themselves.
"People did vote for Democrats. Some Democrats did win on Election Day and they need to remember that," said Robin Winston, Democratic analyst.
Winston says the election was about moderation. Republican Peter Rusthoven says it's about accountability.
"It means that if Democrats decide they don't like what is going on, unlike in previous years they can't take their ball and go home. Well, they can, but now it does not make any difference," said Rusthoven, referring to the Democratic walkout over right to work legislation which Indiana eventually passed.
"When Brian Bosma was in the minority, he said, 'Always remember in the minority you have a responsibility to stand up for what you believe in,' and the majority should respect that," said Winston.
So the era of the Republican super majority in the Indiana Statehouse begins in January.
Also, on Wednesday, Gov. Daniels will announce how much Hoosier taxpayers can count on as a tax credit.