2012 General Assembly Ends Early
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The phrase “sine die” – Latin for “without day” – was stated by Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma in the early morning hours of Saturday, signaling the end of the 2012 lawmaking session.
State lawmakers wrapped up their business early Saturday morning, well before the deadline of midnight Wednesday, March 14.
But, they did not wrap up before passing some major, last minute legislation.
READ REACTION TO THE END OF THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION FROM LOCAL LAWMAKERS HERE.
The most controversial was a statewide smoking ban bill, which passed Friday afternoon. It includes exemptions for casinos, veterans clubs, and a few other places.
“This legislation is about saving lives and saving families from the tragedies of heart disease and cancer and all the other diseases associated with second-hand smoke,” said Sen. Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville).
Governor Mitch Daniels said in his state of the state speech earlier this year he would sign the smoking ban bill.
Other bills earning passage by lawmakers on Friday and Saturday:
Approving another $6 million for victims of the state collapse at the Indiana State Fair.
Giving the green light to $50 tax refunds for Hoosiers.
Phasing-out of the state’s inheritance tax over the next nine years .
Spending $80 million to fund full-day kindergarten from money that was discovered sitting in an account last year.
The 2012 session may be most remembered for the contentious right to work standoff. House Democrats refused to show for much of the sessions opening three weeks in an attempt to kill the law which prohibits unions and businesses from forming agreements to charge fees and dues to non-union employees.
The issue led to crowded, union-organized protests at the Statehouse.
Bosma (R-Indianapolis) didn’t shy away from the right to work’s passage. Instead, he placed it as the highlight of the session.
“We are in the heart of the industrial Midwest and we have received contact from employers in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Canada and overseas, specifically due to the passage of this legislation,” said Bosma following the session. “The passing of this bill will result in stronger employment opportunities for all Hoosiers.”
House Minority Leader Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) wasn’t as enthused about the 2012 session’s outcome. He said the best thing the legislature did this year was adjourn.
In a post-session statement, Governor Mitch Daniels said while full-day kindergarten funding and phasing out the inheritance tax were highlights, there was more to be desired.
“My biggest regret is that we only achieved two of the local government reforms that we sought, but still that marks forward progress and I hope a foundation for future improvements,” Daniels said.
Daniels had made local government reform one of the cornerstones of his second term, which ends this year.
Next year’s Indiana General Assembly could look much different. All of the 100 House seats and half of the Senate’s 50 seats are up for election in November.
Nineteen House members are not running for re-election. Those retiring include Rep. Dave Cheatham (D-North Vernon) and Rep. Tom Knollman (R-Liberty).