Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

House and Senate move on despite walkout

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011

Article submitted by the Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Indiana Senate held its first public hearing on the state's next two-year budget Monday, and the House of Representatives sent a series of bills to committees for informal hearings.

It was the beginning of an effort by majority Republicans in both chambers to continue their work despite House Democrats remaining in Urbana, Illinois.

House Speaker Brian Bosma assigned 193 bills that have passed the Senate to House committees.

Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), held the first of what will be several days of testimony on a spending plan expected to total about $28 billion over two years. They are hearing testimony without a bill. The state budget is one of the bills that is caught in the House Democrat walkout. The Senate is hearing testimony based on the budget as it passed out of Ways & Means over a month ago.

Rep. Bill Crawford of Indianapolis, left Urbana and testified before Senate Appropriations in Indianapolis Monday afternoon.

He shared concerns and asked the Senate members to keep them in mind:

* The education funding formula
* Mass Transit cuts
* Charter Schools

Nothing Republicans do can be sent to Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk to be signed into law until it passes both the House and the Senate in the exact same form.

Votes can’t happen, however, unless the chambers have two-thirds of their members present. And that constitutionally mandated quorum can't be established in the House unless at least six of the 39 boycotting Democrats return.

Key deadlines are looming:
* State law requires the legislative session to end by April 29.
* After that, Daniels would have to call a special session.
* The state’s budget expires June 30. If no new spending plan is passed, state government would enter a partial shutdown on July 1.