Indiana lawmakers drawing close on remaining measures

April 23, 2013

The leaders of the Indiana General Assembly said Tuesday they will continue meeting daily with Gov. Mike Pence to hammer out a broad range of issues before the 2013 session ends.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Tuesday they have been working on a wide range of issues with the governor.

"There are a lot of loose ends we all need to come together on and there is a variety of them," Long said. "We're going to meet again today, we're going to meet again tomorrow and that's normal."

Lawmakers are hoping to wrap up work Friday. But they will first have to agree on the shape of the state's next biennial budget, any oversight of the $2.8 billion Rockport coal gasification project, the expansion of school vouchers, the potential expansion of gambling and a handful of other measures.

The Rockport deal — the state previously agreed to buy synthetic natural gas from the plant for 30 years — would be sent to utility regulators for a review of any impact on Indiana ratepayers under a House and Senate compromise, Bosma said.

The addition of table games at Indiana's two racetracks looks increasingly unlikely, but riverboats could still be cleared to put their operations on land, he said. Adding table games to any gambling bill would surely draw a veto from Pence.

"If someone wants to have a gaming enhancement bill vetoed, I would encourage them to have that in there," he said.

Long and Bosma say they are close to approving a budget. A compromise between the House and Senate versions could be distributed to lawmakers as early as Thursday morning.

The three Republicans — Bosma, Long and Pence — have all agreed that the budget should include $500 million in tax cuts, but the final shape of that plan is yet to be seen.

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