Supermajority leadership in the Indiana General Assembly failed to accomplish their work on the last day of session in March of this year. Now, the governor has called the members of the House of Representatives and Senate to reconvene this coming Monday, May 14, 2018, to approve legislation that failed to pass during the regular session.
So, what should Hoosiers expect to happen during the one-day, “emergency” Special Session? Other than one technical corrections bill, four bills from the regular session will be resurrected. The first order of business on Monday will be for both chambers to suspend a portion of the Indiana Constitution allowing for the legislature to rush bills through. This requires a two thirds vote because the drafters of our constitution intended for bills not to be passed in less than three days to ensure public notice and opportunity for debate, unless there is an emergency. Next, the House and Senate will have to suspend their own rules to allow for legislation to be considered for final passage. The bills will not be heard by their normally assigned committee, there will be no opportunity for public input, no amendments will be considered to improve the bills with the same flaws that caused this special session and debate will be limited since the supermajority wants to conclude all business in one day to put their mess behind them. This is how the proverbial “sausage gets made” in a one-day special session.
You can view copies of the bills that have caused this emergency session by clicking here. A list of the bills with a short summary can be found below:
House Bill 1230 (ss)
Pertains to school safety funding. The language calls for increasing the amount of money that can be granted to schools from the state Common School Fund and the Secured School Fund so public schools and charter schools can increase security measures in the wake of increased school shootings across the country.
House Bill 1242 (ss)
Addresses changes to state and local administration as well as tax collection policies.
House Bill 1315 (ss)
Uses the power of the state to dismantle the locally-elected school board in Muncie. The bill further prohibits the Gary School Board from meeting publicly more than once a quarter. This is an unprecedented attack on voting rights in Indiana. Further, it lays the groundwork for future state takeovers of local school corporations.
House Bill 1316 (ss)
Makes changes to state law pertaining to corporate and personal tax collections as well as funding for institutions of higher education. This bill brings Indiana into conformity with some of the recent changes to the federal tax code, while also separating Indiana from other federal changes, to ensure that some businesses see a reduction in the taxes they owe.
House Bill 1457 (ss) (Technical Corrections Bill)
Technical corrections language is passed each session to ensure that any small oversight in language in the bill-drafting process can be corrected without full approval of the legislature. The bill will also allow for conflicts in language between multiple bills to be reconciled.