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Bosma: Indiana Legislature needs another 'odd couple'

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House Speaker Brian Bosma used the ceremonial opening of Indiana's legislative session Tuesday to call for bipartisanship, even though Republicans now enjoy a supermajority that largely allows them to circumvent Democrats to push through their plans.

The GOP speaker cited his father, Charles Bosma, working across the aisle with Democratic U.S. Rep. Andre Carson's grandmother, Julia Carson, and delivering services for the disabled when they served together in the state Senate in the late 1970s and 1980s. Those two were known as they "odd couple," and Bosma said he'd like to see that concept revived in the current session.

He then ticked off a list of priorities, including funding early childhood education, approving performance-based pay for teachers and schools, and training more science and math teachers.

"Where is the odd couple in this room that will set political differences aside, and concentrate on giving Hoosier families that want early childhood education but can't afford it, the opportunity that most of us in this room enjoy?" he asked the group.

Lawmakers took care of some official business during the informal opening known as "organization day," although the major work won't begin until they return on Jan. 7. The Legislature must draw up a new biennial budget, ponder options with the federal health care law, adjust to a new governor for the first time in eight years and balance all other issues ranging from education to gay marriage.

Indiana's state senators met earlier Tuesday afternoon for a brief session marked by the swearing in of four new members and the formal re-election of Fort Wayne Republican David Long as Senate president pro tem.

The 2012 elections dealt House Republicans a powerful hand, granting them enough seats to push through legislation even if Democrats walk out, as they did in the last two sessions. Since the election Bosma, and the newly-elected Democratic House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, have stuck to a collegial tone.

"Politics is a very difficult business, and the best metaphor is family. Sometimes families bicker, sometimes families argue, sometimes families hurt each other's feelings. But we are a family and we share a vision for Indiana that we're going to articulate," Pelath said.

Just below the surface of Tuesday's celebratory and light-hearted atmosphere were some signs that more bickering is on its way. Education is likely to be a flashpoint again, two years after Republicans approved sweeping changes to the state's education system.

Bosma's introduction Tuesday of families sitting in the House gallery which had received school vouchers prompted hearty applause from Republican lawmakers sitting on one side of the chamber, and silence from Democrats sitting on the other side.

Pelath pointed out that Democrat Glenda Ritz's stunning victory over Republican Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett was a call from voters to hit the brakes on school vouchers, merit pay and other changes. But some Republicans, including Gov.-elect Mike Pence, have argued the decision to turn Bennett out of office had nothing to do with those policies. More than 9,300 families signed up for vouchers for the 2012-13 school year.

"Certainly we would like from the majority party some reflection on the changes that have been made, some realization that the public has not been entirely sold on some of their recent cuts to traditional public schools," Pelath said.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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