State lawmakers reconvene for 2010 short session

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Indianapolis - The Indiana Senate and House of Representatives will reconvene Tuesday afternoon and the 2010 short session will go until March 14. During that time, lawmakers have a lot of issues to work on.

A proposal to pass permanent Property Tax Caps:

If it passes for the second time this session, voters would make the final decision by referendum in November.

Budget adjustments:

The budget already passed last session, but some democrats may try to look for funds to restore some cuts to public education. Republicans don't want more spending or new taxes as revenues continue to fall shorter than expected. Republicans would also like to delay increases in the unemployment insurance tax.

Ethics Legislation/Lobbying Reform:

This issue will be proposed by both parties.

Sexting Legislation:

Some are looking for proposals to protect kids and teens in a world of fast advancing technology.

Republican Senator Jim Merritt will file a "sexting" bill that would make texting sexually explicit messages and photos illegal.

"We do not have this in the code whatsoever. Texting, sexting, is a new phenomenon, it's a national phenomenon. What we're trying to do is say to the child, do not sext," Merritt said. "It would be a juvenile violation if a minor would send another minor a sext message, and if that person forwards it on, that would also be a juvenile act."

Penalties would be left up to a juvenile court judge. Senator Merritt says other similar sexting bills will likely be filed as well and he would like to eventually see adults included under the law too.

Creating Jobs:

Creating work for unemployed Hoosiers will also be a topic of discussion, but finding the money to fund those jobs will be a challenge.

House Democrat Mary Ann Sullivan from Indianapolis supports clean energy legislation that would help create more "green jobs" She says the jobs especially in the solar and wind industry could help compete with other manufacturing-dependent states.

"We're perfectly positioned as a state for those industries, we already have the infrastructure, we already have the skilled workforce, it's ready to do that kind of work, so for me, it's a no-brainer," Sullivan said.

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