Republicans, Democrats set new tone in General Assembly

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are getting along.  If you think that's not news, then you haven't been paying attention for the last couple of years.

A spontaneous standing ovation in the Indiana House Tuesday was prompted by a unanimous vote. It came on a bill authored by the GOP House Speaker, Brian Bosma and co-authored by the Democratic Minority Leader Scott Pelath. 

"The Speaker and I, I think, generally agreed that we wanted to work on something together of significance," said Pelath.

It matters because Democrats walked out of the legislative session for extended periods in each of the last two years in the effort to block controversial legislation.  Those Democrats chose Pelath to replace longtime leader Pat Bauer in the off season and the Republicans won a super majority in the 2012 election.

And now, the two leaders are appearing with members of the National Guard to explain that their bill is designed to help employers match up with trained workers with an emphasis on unemployed veterans. Twenty percent of post 9/11 veterans in Indiana are unemployed. 

It's a large problem, but the lack of unity in the House was a large problem, too.  "We've been through a rough past few years on a myriad of different issues," said Pelath, "and thought it would be good for the institution if we could identify something that would matter and that both parties would broadly support."

The goal is to see the applause inside the Statehouse repeated by voters outside the Statehouse.

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