Lawmakers prepare for upcoming 2015 session

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By Matt Smith

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 4, 2015) — Lawmakers will return to the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday for the start of the 2015 session.

It’s a budget year and that equates to priorities and votes with big implications.

With four months to debate and pass laws, a lot is brewing politically and legislatively.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence has said he wants 2015 to be an “education session.”

Lawmakers face a number of pressing issues.

Republicans, who control the Statehouse, want to change how public schools are funded.

It could mean less money for urban school districts and more for suburban districts across Indiana.

At the same time, a number of lawmakers have said they want to increase overall funding for education. The question lawmakers will face is where the additional money will come from.

Another piece of legislation by Sen. Jim Buck, a Republican from Kokomo, would allow the governor to select the state superintendent, as opposed to being elected.

If passed as written, the law would go into effect in 2021.

Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has publicly clashed with Pence’s office, which also prompted the governor to ask lawmakers to allow the state board of education to select its own chairperson, essentially stripping Ritz of her power.

Other potential pieces of legislation include another debate over Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana, several socially-conservative measures including a religious freedom provision and ethics reform.

House Speaker Brian Bosma has previously said ethics reform was a top priority.

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