Governor says ‘education session’ was a success, admits religious freedom was a sore spot

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 30, 2015) - As the 2015 Indiana legislative session came to an end, state lawmakers had mixed reviews on the session’s results.

In December, the governor declared 2015 would be the “education session.” However, there was a lot more than just education that came from the Statehouse.

“I’m very pleased with this session of the Indiana General Assembly,” said Pence during a press conference Thursday.

Pence proclaimed victory. Every agenda item he laid out at the beginning of session--education reform, a balanced budget amendment, even $50 million for the state’s bicentennial celebration--are all now on his desk, awaiting his signature.

But even for the governor, it was crystal clear: this was not a session that came without major hurdles.

“As governor of the state, I wish I could’ve foreseen the controversy that would’ve ensued,” he said.

“Quite frankly, we’re not going to remember this session for any of those things that he tried to do, it’s going to be remembered as the RFRA session,” said State Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D – Anderson).

With the session complete, Democrats took the opportunity Thursday to blast the governor and state Republicans for their handling of the religious freedom controversy that led to national backlash.

“The supermajorities and the governor cannot manage Indiana’s economy and that is painfully evident and we cannot ignore RFRA as being a primary cause,” said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D – Michigan City).

But by and large, the Democratic agenda never even made it to the floor.

What did?

Other news makers, like bailing out Indiana’s struggling casino industry, and repealing the common construction wage.

“It was clear that the common wage process was broken, it wasn’t working. Whatever we intended it to be originally, it wasn’t working anymore,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R – Fort Wayne).

Another big headline during the session was whether or not Indianapolis would get a new soccer stadium. That bill died in committee Wednesday over concerns that the stadium could not be paid for.

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