State lawmakers discuss pre-K, mass transit negotiations

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INDIANAPOLIS (March 7, 2014) – With just one week left in this week’s legislative session, lawmakers are busy working on several key issues ahead of next Friday’s deadline.

In the video above, state Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, and state Senator Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, discuss the issues of mass transit, pre-K education, and business taxes, among others.

State lawmakers are still considering the measure which would create a pilot voucher program for preschoolers, though some wonder whether lower revenue numbers will mean the pilot program won’t go forward this year as the governor had hoped.

The original version of House Bill 1004 called for such a pilot program, giving vouchers to 1,000 preschoolers in high poverty homes.

The Senate Education Committee threw out that idea and replaced it with a study program.

Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem David Long told reporters that lawmakers were looking at an “alternative concept” on the bill that might involve more than just a study committee.

But after the state released lower-than-expected revenue numbers on Friday, some legislators expressed doubts about lawmakers’ ability to pay for new initiatives this year.

You can read more about this month’s revenue report on the state budget agency’s web site, which showed the state collected $54 million less than expected last month.

Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement about the February revenue report:

“Due to severe winter weather that affected Hoosiers all across the state, this revenue report was not unexpected. Our administration is confident that we will be able to manage budgetary resources in a way that preserves Indiana’s fiscal integrity.”

But some lawmakers said they were worried it could be part of a bigger trend.

In the video below, Gov. Pence and Senate appropriations chair Luke Kenley discuss the revenue report issued Friday.

Pence was also asked about a lawsuit filed against him Friday in southern Indiana on the issue of same-sex marriage.