Not even eight hours after adjournment sine die, legislative leaders were already contemplating whether the worldwide economic situation and social-distancing issues causing event cancellations could force a special session.
It was a fortuitous decision by legislative leaders heading into January to seek adjournment sine die by March 11 or 12.
As legislation entered the final days of committee deliberations, solons frantically sought to insert key provisions into bills perhaps only tangentially related. In some cases, amendments became the principal focus of the new bill, just like, for example, a former 500 winner salvaging a part-time ride with a small team.
House Speaker Brian Bosma is turning control over to Rep. Todd Huston, who isn’t wedded to policies of the past simply because they were justified when enacted and once worked.
The legislative process is a puzzle-solving exercise, dependent upon precisely positioning those pieces. The committee to which a bill is assigned might portend a fast-track or slow death. Even a “good” bill could find itself behind the legislative eight-ball should several other major bills be scheduled for a hearing, and simply die from lack of time.
One senator says calls and emails from constituents have outnumbered contacts on any other bill this session.
Each year, one item seems to arise unexpectedly—innocently or intentionally—that seems to consume, as Statehouse denizens observe, all the time and calories.
Perhaps it is no surprise that Bosma decided to step down as speaker soon, then resign his House seat yet this spring.
The demise of the promising Indiana Future Caucus is unfortunate, because no one else seems destined or determined to take the lead on issues critical to Hoosiers going forward.
As the first two weeks of the session pass, expect a transition in legislative focus to health care concerns—raised in loud choruses to lawmakers in conversations back home. Unlike
Legislators returned Jan. 6. Even though, as of that morning, only 11 House bills had been filed, committee hearings were underway in earnest (especially in the Senate, where the file list topped 200 bills).
Much of the 2020 legislative work will be directed to helping shape (and immunize against) election debate and making a head start on some of the tougher, long-term issues that will be ripe for resolution in 16 months.
So what made this session—which, from the outside at least, looked much like sessions of the past—more enjoyable for lawmakers?
While the General Assembly filled some holes in the law discovered by the increasing use of such services as Airbnb, rental scooters and peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, nothing was done to examine the framework behind some of these popular new concepts.
Pro tip to the new kids on the block: Throw everything you’ve learned about lawmaking in your first session to date (or in fourth grade civics!) out the back door of the Statehouse, buckle your seat belts, and prepare for a ride like you’ve never experienced before.
Ratcheting down an already depressed forecast will make the final week of the session an exercise in cost-cutting and priority-shifting.
Virtually no bill is ever “simple.” And the more an advocate protests about its being so, the more complicated or controversial it tends to be.
House Republicans opted to hash out the hate crimes legislation in a private caucus—just like their Senate counterparts did.
The inter-chamber dynamics are fascinating, but there’s no time for petty politics in shaping this budget.
It seems as though the courts have been more involved in privacy and tech issues than lawmakers have been.