INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Legislators were returning to the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday to begin
this year’s General Assembly session, which will be the first in recent
memory in which the Republican supermajorities do not have an overarching
objective they hope to achieve.
Members of both the
Indiana House and Senate will gavel in during the afternoon to formally
start the session that must end by mid-March. That sets up what could be an
intense 10 weeks dominated by pet issues, social issues, and an effort to
repeal Indiana’s prohibition-era ban on retail Sunday alcohol sales.
“I know everybody
wants something,” Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said recently. He
later added: “It’s not a long session” and “there will just be a lot of
bills that have to wait for another year.”
activists have already attacked Bosma for not taking up a constitutionally
questionable bill last year that aims to ban abortions by defining human
life as beginning at conception. Other more fringe elements, including the
purported Indiana First PAC - led by an Indiana man with ties to the white
nationalist movement - maligned Bosma for being insufficiently conservative
“Crazy people are
going to say what they are going to say,” Bosma said.
pushing for a state hate crimes law and an independent commission for
drawing congressional and legislative election districts. They also plan to
focus on what has been described as a crisis at the Department of Child
Services amid a surge in child welfare cases resulting from the opioid
The agency’s former
chief recently quit, penning a scathing resignation letter on her way out
that accused Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration of service cuts
and management changes that “all but ensure children will die.”
Holcomb has pledged
to conduct a review, but Democrats believe the Legislature should have a
role in that process.
libertarian leaning Rep. Jim Lucas wants to eliminate the state’s licensing
requirement for carrying a handgun. Lucas, a Seymour Republican, also wants
to debate the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana in Indiana. Both
measures are widely opposed by law enforcement groups.