INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence signed into law 223 of the 224 legislative proposals approved this year by the Indiana General Assembly, and allowed the remaining measure, scuttling the state's energy-efficiency program, to become law without his signature.
On one hand, it's not surprising to find a Republican governor and House and Senate Republican supermajorities agree on the policy direction the state should take.
But vetoes by Indiana governors are rare even when different parties control the legislative and executive branches of government, mostly because the Indiana Constitution assigns the governor a weak formal role in the law-making process.
Under the Constitution, all legislation approved by a majority of representatives and senators goes to the governor, who decides whether to sign it into law, veto it or take no action, in which case it becomes law without his signature after seven days.
Following a governor's veto, all it takes for the Legislature to override that decision and enact a law without his consent is a simple majority in both chambers that first approved the measure.
That's different from Congress where it takes a near-impossible-to-obtain two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto. By contrast, the threat of a veto or an actual veto by an Indiana governor, like the three issued last year by Pence, doesn't carry the same weight.
In addition, Pence lacks the line-item veto power enjoyed by 43 other governors who can strike specific, unwanted lines from a proposal while signing the rest into law.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn even has amendatory veto authority that enables him to rewrite entire sections of legislation, subject to reapproval by the General Assembly.
Due to his limited post-passage powers, Pence can't simply sit back and wait for legislation to advance to his desk if he wants to have any influence over what it's going to say.
So he chose to publicly announce his policy goals in December before lawmakers even began meeting. Then he worked behind the scenes during the 10-week legislative session to ensure he got at least part of what he wanted.
On 20 of his 24 agenda items, he claims he did.
Here's a look at some of the major new laws enacted this year:
Business tax cuts -- Senate Enrolled Act 1 reduces the corporate income tax rate from 6.5 percent next year to 4.9 percent by 2021, and gives counties options to eliminate the business personal property tax for some or all companies.
Road funding -- House Enrolled Act 1002 allows Pence to spend up to $400 million in previously set-aside money on state highway projects, likely including the Illiana Expressway and extra lanes on Interstate 65.
Preschool -- House Enrolled Act 1004 establishes a $10 million preschool voucher program to pay for early learning classes for at least 1,400 low-income 4-year-olds in five to-be-determined counties.
South Shore -- Senate Enrolled Act 367 closes a Lake County tax loophole and redirects the $4 million in annual savings to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to help pay for expansion of the South Shore Line to Dyer.
Criminal code -- House Enrolled Act 1006 completes a six-year rewrite of Indiana's criminal code that's intended to save money by better matching crimes to appropriate punishments and allowing low-level felons to serve their sentences in county jails or community corrections programs.
Education -- Senate Enrolled Act 91 requires the State Board of Education rescind its adoption of the Common Core educational standards used by 45 other states and replace them with new, Indiana-only college- and career-ready standards.
Guns -- Senate Enrolled Act 229 permits licensed firearms carriers to have guns in school parking lots, so long as the weapons are kept out of sight in a locked vehicle.
Rental inspections -- House Enrolled Act 1403 permits landlords meeting certain qualifications to exempt themselves from municipal rental property registration and inspection requirements.
Adoption -- House Enrolled Act 1222 provides for a $1,000 state adoption tax credit, on top of the federal adoption tax credit, to help cover expenses for Hoosiers who adopt a child.
Day care -- House Enrolled Act 1036 mandates child care facilities meet state standards for safety, staff ratio, play time, nutritious snacks and employee training to continue receiving federal Child Care and Development Fund voucher payments.
Hemp -- Senate Enrolled Act 357 authorizes Hoosier farmers to grow hemp for industrial purposes — such as rope, apparel, food and fuel — if approved by the federal government.