INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday that he is calling lawmakers back
to the Statehouse for a special session that will begin May 14, aimed at
completing a handful of Republican priorities that died in March during a
chaotic finish to this year’s regular session.
Holcomb said he
wants lawmakers to focus on passing tax measures, a school safety funding
bill and legislation that would give Ball State University control of Muncie
lawmakers back to take action on the critical issues of school safety and
federal tax conformity,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “And,
with sharp focus, I’m confident they can finish this work in a single day.”
takeover bill, in particular, elicited howls of complaint from Democrats
during the regular session. They argued the GOP-dominated Legislature was
further meddling in local school affairs without giving time for a takeover
plan approved just last year to produce results.
Holcomb has called
for a more narrowly tailored version of the bill, which would give Muncie
schools a $12 million loan. But it’s far from certain that GOP lawmakers
will go along with that, notably powerful House Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Tim Brown, who made the measure a priority.
In addition to
allowing for Muncie schools to be taken over, his bill would have further
reduced the authority of the Gary school board. Both districts were
previously overseen by local officials who mismanaged money. The measure
would also have provided a framework for dealing with other school districts
with financial troubles.
announcement comes ahead of a planned Friday morning news conference by
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long during which they
will detail their plans for the special session.
every level of state government, including the Legislature, where they do
not need Democratic votes to pass legislation. Still, in the final days of
this year’s session, bickering Republicans failed to come to terms on their
priorities, blowing past a statutory deadline to adjourn.
One major issue
Republicans won’t be addressing during the special session: widely reported
problems with the state’s child welfare agency.
Advocates say the
state’s beleaguered Department of Child Services is underfunded, overworked
and struggling to handle a surge of child welfare cases brought on by the
said any DCS-related issues that arise from a report to be issued in June by
a consultant “will be able to wait until 2019.”
In December, the
agency’s well-respected former director resigned, penning a blistering
resignation letter that accused Holcomb’s administration of service cuts and
management changes that “all but ensure children will die.”