Lawmakers work late to wrap up 2014 General Assembly

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Lawmakers worked late Thursday night trying to pass several new laws.

The General Assembly approved a pilot program to send low-income children in five counties to preschool. The government will pay $10 million and the private sector $5 million into the fund. Governor Mike Pence will decide what five counties will participate.

The state also took a big step toward uniform child care regulations.

"It will put child-to-staff ratios into the rules for registered ministries and day cares," Sen. Greg Taylor said shortly after the vote.

Lawmakers also voted to spend $400 million over the next two years to add lanes to Interstates 65, 69 and 70. But in a year where locals are struggling to fill potholes, there is no money earmarked to help.

"Connersville just yesterday declared a financial state of emergency," said Sen. Terri Austin of Anderson on the House floor. "Surely we can find it in our hearts, heads and pocketbook and find some money for local units over government because we can't all live in Indianapolis."

Lawmakers also elected to cut the corporate income and state banking tax while allowing local governments to decide if they want to cut the business equipment tax.

"We cannot stop. We cannot go backward. We have to work to develop our plan. We have given ourselves time to do this if we keep paying attention and doing it right," Sen. Luke Kenley of Noblesville said.

No matter what was accomplished this year, this session will always be remembered for what lawmakers didn't do when they failed to ratify a gay marriage ban into the state constitution.

The mass transit bill, which allows six central Indiana counties to decide by referendum if they want to use tax money to raise money to pay for it, is also going to the governor for consideration.