NDIANPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): The Indiana General Assembly reconvenes Tuesday, kicking off a 16-week session likely to be dominated by education and budget issues.
Legislators expect to have an extra one-point-two-billion dollars to work with in the new two-year budget and House Speaker Brian Bosma says more money for schools will be a top priority, but he cautions that's an average increase of less than three-percent a year. Bosma also vows he won't dip into the state surplus, saying that would be a “terrible mistake.”
Bosma says leaders of the Republican legislature are in sync with Governor Mike Pence on the agenda for the session, after some tense relations in Pence's first year in 2013. Bosma attributes the early difficulties to Pence's adjustment to a more “functional” legislature after 12 years in Congress. Bosma says he and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) have met regularly with Pence over the last few months.
Along with the budget and Pence's education agenda, House Republicans are planing legislation that will address domestic violence, infant mortality, and heroin and methamphetamine traffic.
In addition, Bosma and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) will co-author an ethics reform bill to more clearly define conflicts of interest.