The nice part about Organization Day is all the gossip and other tidbits of information you get to pick up along the way. So with that said, here we go…
Although all eyes were on House Speaker Brian Bosma Tuesday and his announcement to “get to work” and appointing two Democrats to committee chairmanship, a lot of people may not have noticed the seating arrangements. Traditionally lawmakers are seated by seniority with the freshmen in the back. Not this year. New Republican lawmakers are scattered throughout the chamber and sitting next to more senior lawmakers. The purpose of that, along with a new mentoring program, is help keep the new legislators focused and to minimize the chances they will go up to the podium and say something embarrassing.
Although legislation mandating government reform and consolidation make not make it out of the Statehouse this year, however incoming House Ways and means Chairman Jeff Espich says the locals will be forced to reform because they can expect no financial assistance from the Statehouse.
Espich also tells me that there’s no reason for a referendum on mass transit, saying local governments already have a number of tools (i.e. Local Option Income Tax) at their disposal to raise revenue for mass transit.
IPS is closer to state takeover of its more under-performing schools. The District recently submitted a plan to the Indiana Department of Education however it was thoroughly rejected as not good enough for real reform. If IPS does not get its act together a state takeover could begin next school year.
For anyone thinking State Treasurer Richard Mourdock may be a contender for the U.S. Senate in 2012 by mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Dick Lugar may want to think again. While Mourdock says he’s flattered and wants to focus on his current job as Treasurer his body language tended to show someone who really did not want to deal with the hassle of a campaign. Another reason Mourdock may not run is that his wife doesn’t seem to be too thrilled with the idea either.