GOP introduces Statehouse agenda

2012-10-04T18:00:00Z 2012-10-05T12:24:07Z GOP introduces Statehouse agendaBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
October 04, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced Thursday a Republican governing agenda focused on jobs and education, but he also said legislation on social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, will likely be heard during the 2013 legislative session.

"There are 150 independently elected leaders here and I absolutely guarantee you that we'll see what might fall under the social issue category," Bosma said. "They'll be introduced;, it'll be up to committee chairmen whether it has a hearing, and if it reflects Hoosier values it will probably proceed."

Bosma said he "wouldn't be shocked" if a pending constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and civil unions is among the social issues acted on by the Legislature.

Lawmakers must reapprove the proposed amendment banning gay marriage that they supported in 2011 to send the question to voters in 2014.

Bosma's honesty on expected social issues legislation contrasts with Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence who, after 12 years of championing social issues as a member of Congress, has refused to say whether he'd sign or veto such measures if elected governor.

The Republican speaker also threw cold water on Pence's plan to reduce the state's individual income tax rate to 3.06 percent from 3.4 percent, a 10 percent reduction. Bosma said he's "uncertain" whether that or the tax cuts proposed by Democrat John Gregg will become law.

"Our team has a long-term vision, not a campaign-oriented vision, for how we budget," Bosma said. "Any tax cut has to be sustainable."

The General Assembly's main task when it convenes in January is to hammer out the state's spending plan for the 2014-15 budget period that starts July 1, 2013. 

Bosma said if Republicans keep their House majority after the Nov. 6 elections he'll ensure the state reduces wasteful spending and the budget remains balanced without gimmicks.

House Republicans also will lift restrictions on private school vouchers, promote early childhood education and partner with companies to ensure Hoosiers have the education and training businesses need to fill open jobs, Bosma said. He doubts a land-based casino in Gary or a total smoking ban will become law.

Democratic Leader Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, said jobs and education have been the primary concerns of House Democrats for years.

"We will be delighted to have House Republicans join us in debating and passing initiatives that will help improve our state in these areas," Lawson said.

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