House Rs lay out 2013 agenda
House Speaker Brian Bosma, flanked by other members of the House Republican caucus, said today their top 2013 legislative priorities include enacting a fiscally-responsible budget, improving job training and education in Indiana, particularly early childhood education.
Currently, Indiana does not even require youngsters to go to kindergarten. That’s not likely to change. But Bosma noted that in Indiana, 61 percent of children ages 3 and 4 do not attend pre-school, with only six states having a lower number of students enrolled in such programs. While he gave no specifics on how they planned to address that, Bosma said they would be open to providing vouchers for low-income families to afford pre-school programs.
The legislature has spent the last two sessions in a testy fight over education reforms, including enacting vouchers to let families move their children to private schools if they currently have spent at least a year in a public school. Bosma said lawmakers may consider lifting that public school requirement, so that those who have paid from their own family budgets for private school tuition can qualify for the vouchers.
Not on the agenda: Enacting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage; further abortion restrictions; mass transit; and numerous other issues that have been debated in recent years.
Count, though, on all of them being raised. Bosma said the agenda reflects their top priorities, but that there will be thousands of bills filed and hundreds enacted. He was sure, he said, that there would be a vote on the same-sex marriage ban. The proposed amendment already has passed the legislature once and must pass a second time in either 2013 or 2014 in order to be placed on the 2014 ballot so voters in the general election have the final say.
He also said he expected mass transit, which floundered in the 2012 session when it became entangled in the contentious labor union battles over the “right to work” legislation, to be revisited. Bosma said he has met with advocates of a plan to improve mass transit in Central Indiana and given advice on how to approach the issue in the session that begins in January.
Republicans currently hold a 60-40 majority in the House. That majority is likely to grow in the Nov. 6 elections.
Posted in: Republicans, State House