The 2013 Session of the Indiana General Assembly kicked off today with an attempt by Democrats to limit the agenda.
There will be no Democratic walkouts this year like the ones we saw in 2011 and 2012. That’s because there are only 31 Democrats and and that means the 69 Republicans can conduct business without them. Facing the GOP super majority, new Democratic Leader Scott Pelath gave a formal speech to launch the session. In it, he called for a two year moratorium on social issues. “People deserve a break from the political exploitation of their fears and emotions as we work to rebuild our economy,” said Pelath.
It’s a pre-emptive strike because lawmakers will have the opportunity to vote on a bill to create a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. Republican Eric Turner is the author. He has no plans to back off. “Leadership will decide whether we do it this year or next year,” said Turner following the Pelath speech. “We have some latitude but I think it will be on the ballot in ’14.” That’s a reference to the statewide referendum that would result from legislative approval.
Both majority leader Bill Friend and House Speaker Brian Bosma sent the message that there will be no moratorium. “We aren’t declaring a moratorium on anything,” said the Speaker. “That’s not been my normal custom to make those kind of decisions on behalf of the body.”
It’s something Scott Pelath knows but the power of persuasion is the only power he has at the moment and so he’s using it. “Above all, we must make sure that the power of government does not shift far from the center,” he said.
The so-called “long session” of the General Assembly could be a very long one for Democrats.
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