General Assembly Convenes

Indiana state lawmakers are heading back to work on Monday when the Indiana General Assembly convenes.

With the House and Senate divided, this session is sure to be full of debate!

Some of the top issues include education, health care and property taxes.

Lawmakers agree though that the only task that must be completed by the end is a balanced budget.

This year with Democrats in control of the house they plan to examine Governor Daniel's past or present plans.

“He's got two more toll roads plans he wants to do and they will get a lot of hearings a lot of exposure and a lot of debate,” says House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend.

A plan sure to be under fire includes Governor Daniels plan to increase cigarette taxes to fund health insurance for the working poor.

“What is going to be debated is are we at 25 cents or at 2 dollars? Is there going to be a ceiling on this tax and what is realistic and what's not?” asks State Representative Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville.

And both Republicans and Democrats will look at whether the state can afford all day kindergarten.

“That would probably be the top priority of any new education program full day kindergarten but like I just told you our regular programs may be cut,” says Bauer.

Governor Daniels is pushing a plan to privatize the Hoosier Lottery to raise money for higher education.

Democrats have discussed raising minimum wage.

Republicans are expected to push for a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.

Both parties hope to pass some type of property tax reform.

“We have to try and keep property taxes lower and that's a tough balance ahead,” says Bauer.

While Democrats carry a narrow majority in the house, Republicans still hold the power in the Governor's office and Senate.

Either way both parties must pass a budget to carry through for the next two years.

The last day of General Assembly is April 29th.

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