(AP) — Indiana's General Assembly jumped to a quick start Monday with
promises from Republican leaders to focus on workforce development and a
request from Democrats to place a moratorium on divisive social issues for
the next two years.
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Republican Senate President Pro Tem David
Long said training Indiana residents for new advanced manufacturing jobs
will take top billing over the next four months.
House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath punctuated the list of Democratic
priorities with a request that lawmakers avoid divisive social issues like
gay marriage and abortion for the next two years. But Bosma rebuffed his
call for a moratorium, saying the term "social issue" is highly
leads a pack of heavily outnumbered Democrats, asked Republicans to show
"enlightened restraint" in the coming months.
"Above all, we
must make sure the power of government does not shift far from the center,
the majority has a duty not to misinterpret the reasons why they were
elected. And I call upon you to show enlightened restraint in your goals,"
he said, in an opening speech to the House.
session will be filled with talks of what should be in the state's next
biennial budget, from a potential personal income tax cut to the
restoration of education spending cut in the last few years. How social
issues will be handled, including an effort to write the state's ban on
gay marriage into the state constitution, remains a looming question.
debate, in particular, has the ability to suck the air out of the 2013
session. Bosma declined Monday to push off the gay marriage battle until
later, but Long has said he's waiting on a legal review of what impact a
Supreme Court ruling would have before deciding whether to take up the
Assembly's other 148 lawmakers plan to begin meeting in committees this
week to vet a wide range of proposals. The Senate education committee will
consider an expansion of the school voucher program and proposals to
increase funding and flexibility for high-performing schools.
await Gov.-elect Mike Pence's first legislative agenda. He laid out the
broad strokes on the campaign trail, but has yet to fill in the details.
Pence takes office Jan. 14.