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home : most recent : statewide implications December 11, 2018

4/11/2018 6:55:00 PM
Governor expects to call Indiana General Assembly into special session in mid-May

Dan Carden, Times of Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb has yet to set a date for calling the General Assembly into special session, nearly a month after several key measures died awaiting final votes at midnight March 14 when the regular legislative session expired.

The Republican recently told reporters he expects to decide later this month when the special session will begin.

Holcomb explained that he's looking at the week of May 14 because lawmakers previously were advised by legislative leaders to be available then to return to the Statehouse to approve any necessary technical corrections to new laws before they take effect July 1.

"It'll be mid-May," Holcomb said. "Shortly, I'll hone in on an exact day."

The governor is optimistic the Legislature promptly will act during the special session on measures that were pending when the 10-week regular session ended — and "do it as efficiently as we possibly can."

In particular, Holcomb wants lawmakers to approve added funding for school safety initiatives, a $12 million loan for the cash-strapped Muncie Community Schools and a plan to harmonize Indiana's tax laws with recent federal tax changes.

"The leadership has expressed that we can get the business done in a day or so, and I concur with that," Holcomb said.

The House and Senate have to suspend numerous procedural rules to approve legislation in a single day.

Specifically, two-thirds of the members in each chamber must agree to bypass the committee process, as well as the Constitutional requirement that legislation be considered in each chamber on three different days.

Republicans control 70 of 100 House seats and 41 of 50 Senate seats, and therefore should have no trouble suspending the rules even if Democrats — many of whom dispute the need for a special session — oppose the motion.

During the special session, lawmakers will be free to file any proposals for new laws they believe Indiana needs.

However, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, has said only the few measures that were on the verge of passing during the regular session will be eligible for a vote in the special session.

He plans to identify those proposals well before the special session convenes so Hoosiers know exactly what will be considered.

This will be the first Indiana special session since 2009 when lawmakers came back for nearly three weeks in June to negotiate a state budget amid a property tax crisis and national economic downturn.

The most recent special session in a non-budget year, similar to this year, was 2002. The last time Indiana saw a special session when Republicans controlled the House, Senate and governor's office was 1987.

Related Stories:
• 5 proposals to be considered at May 14 General Assembly special session now online
• General Assembly special session: Testimony to be allowed on school bill

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