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Lawmakers eye early finish after contentious start

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Indiana state lawmakers could go home early after toughing out a grueling battle over right-to-work legislation this year.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma told House members Thursday he and Senate President Pro Tem David Long were planning to wrap things up by March 9. The 2012 session is formally scheduled to end by March 14.

Bosma said lawmakers were "emotionally drained" following the battle over right-to-work legislation that dominated the first half of the session. He also expects the move could save roughly $10,000 in costs that would have otherwise gone to pay staff and expenses paid daily to lawmakers.

"Everyone is a little more emotionally drained" after the right-to-work debate, Bosma said Thursday.

Right-to-work dominated the House from the start of the 2012 session, Jan. 4, until the end of the month, when it finally approved the legislation. In the intervening weeks House Democrats boycotted the House eight days to block the measure, hundreds of union protesters chanted in the hallways almost daily and House Republicans levied $1,000-a-day fines on the absent Democrats.

And while Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the right-to-work legislation Feb. 1, the issue is far from over as the Indiana Supreme Court weighs the fines for Democrats and unions plot to put the issue center stage for November's statewide elections.

The top issues left on lawmakers' plates this session are paying for full-day kindergarten, restructuring automatic tax refunds, closing a teacher pensions funding gap and overhauling local government, Bosma said.

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  • TOP ISSUES LEFT ?!?!?
    How about including the passage of a broadly supported state smoking ban legislation as a top issue remaining? Clearly indianapolis can't seem to get a comprhehensive one done on its own...Lead us memebrs of the statehouse and don't put this issue off another year.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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