State lawmakers, Governor return to work, start 2015 session

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 6, 2015) - The snow couldn’t stop hundreds of Indiana lawmakers from starting their 2015 session Tuesday.  The state house was packed as business got back underway.

The start of the session was mostly ceremonial, but lawmakers used it as an opportunity to push their 2015 agendas.

The day began with a morning reminder from Governor Mike Pence of his legislative priorities.

“This needs to be an education session,” he told reporters during a press conference.

It’s no secret, the Governor has one principal agenda item this year; reforming the state’s education system.

“In the category of funding our priorities, our first priority of this budget that we’ll be presented will be expanding opportunities for our youth,” he said.

Fixing the funding formula and the broken relationship between the state Board of Education and the state Department of Education were both on that list as well.

Work resumed in the senate chamber as well, where Senate President Pro Tem, David Long spoke on the year ahead.  He acknowledged that he would not support a senate proposal to hike the minimum wage from 7.25 to $10.10.

“The cost of living in Indiana is dramatically lower than say a state like California and they’ve raised their minimum wage but you know we have a much different environment here in Indiana,” he said.

In the house chambers, Speaker Brian Bosma and Minority Leader Scott Pelath addressed their colleagues where again, education reform took center stage.

“Let our budget reflect we are funding them separately, cutting them separately and reviewing them separately 18 only then can the people judge if we are on the right path of every Hoosier reaching his or her god given potential,” said Pelath.

Another popular topic was a senate bill proposed that would allow the Governor in 2016 to run for re-election in Indiana and for President, simultaneously.

The Governor said he was unaware of the proposal until he read about it in the newspaper and referred to it as “a well-intentioned distraction.”