GOP House, Senate majorities feeling super

2012-11-11T00:00:00Z 2013-11-19T17:55:24Z GOP House, Senate majorities feeling superDan Carden, (317) 637-9078
November 11, 2012 12:00 am  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | There's nothing they can't do.

With Republicans controlling 69 of 100 seats in the Indiana House, 37 of 50 seats in the Senate and Republican Mike Pence in the governor's office, GOP lawmakers have free reign to propose and pass any law they choose when the 2013 legislative session starts in January.

The remaining Democrats in either chamber can't even halt action by walking out, because the Republican supermajorities are bigger than the minimum number of representatives and senators needed to convene and vote on legislation.

It's a good time to be a Republican lawmaker.

And yet, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Thursday he isn't planning to run roughshod over Democrats but wants to work with them in a bipartisan manner.

"We have colleagues on both sides of the aisle that are valuable resources, and we will reach out to the willing and include them in discussions and in the process," Bosma said. "We'll do what's right for the state and let the politics shake out themselves."

Bosma said he realizes no majority is permanent, no matter how large. He noted that in 1933 Democrats held 90 House seats and Republicans just nine.

"My conduct will be the same as it was when I was a leader of a caucus of 47 and as a leader of a caucus of 60," Bosma said.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, believes Bosma will have a tough time keeping all of his new, ambitious members in line.

"When the people grant you a mandate, overreach is always a danger," Pelath said. "It will be our duty to remind the public when we think they are doing that."

However, Pelath also said Democrats will cooperate with Republicans on legislation if they believe a proposal will help Hoosiers, especially on jobs.

In the Senate, Democrats have been in a superminority position for so long that Senate Republicans just call themselves the "Senate Majority" and no one in the Statehouse is confused.

Democratic Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said the minority party has an important role to play in the Senate, even if it can't necessarily stop what it considers to be bad law.

"There is another side to all of these issues and you make sure those issues are thoroughly discussed and that the public is educated as to exactly what is going into the various components of public policy," Lanane said. "It's an awesome responsibility when you think about it."

The 118th General Assembly will meet Nov. 20 for Organization Day, featuring the formal swearing-in of members and the first day proposed legislation can officially be filed.

The regular legislative session begins Jan. 7 and must adjourn by April 29.

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