Gov. Eric Holcomb has officially called a special session of the Indiana General Assembly for May 14.
Holcomb issued a proclamation Friday and state Republican leaders want lawmakers to focus on four specific bills that have to do with two main issues: school safety and federal tax compliance.
“With sharp focus, I’m confident they can finish this work in a single day,” Holcomb said in a statement.
After a chaotic end to the session in March caused a few of his key bills to die unintentionally, Holcomb said lawmakers need to finish the peoples' business before the next session.
One of Holcomb’s main goals for school safety is allocating an additional $5 million to the Indiana Secured School Fund to provide increased financial support for school safety. Another is to allow school corporations to obtain funding for school security equipment.
Another main goal is to provide Muncie Community Schools with a $12 million loan — a bill that caused a lot of discussion in the assembly this past session.
Holcomb’s goal for federal tax compliance issues is to update the state’s tax code to match the federal tax changes so taxpayers do not have to calculate their taxes twice next year.
Senate Bill 242, House Bill 1230, House Bill 1315 and House Bill 1316 cover these issues.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a release from the House Republicans the assembly will only focus on a handful of critical bills that did not get a vote because they ran out of time before the session ended.
“We are determined to complete our work quickly and efficiently while making sure the legislative process is open and transparent to the public,” Bosma said in the release.
Bosma said he and other party leaders are taking unprecedented steps to allow legislators and the public to review the legislation before the session starts.
Some lawmakers also expressed concerns over the cost of the session, which is estimated to cost $30,000 a day. Many legislators have already announced they will be donating their pay to charity.
House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin, D-Austin, said none of the issues the governor outlined warrant a special session. He added he has doubts about whether or not the Republicans will be able to get their work done in a few days since they could not get their work done on time in March.
“They control both chambers and the governor’s office, and they could not get their work done on time because they were too busy bickering with each other,” Goodin said in a statement from the Indiana House Democrats.
Goodin added transparency means more than just allowing people to read the bills online before the session starts. It means giving the public enough time to understand the bills and lawmakers enough time to fix the bills.
“Some of these bills were changed greatly during the final hours of the regular session, and we were being asked to pass them with little or no time to debate the contents,” Goodin said in a statement.
Goodin was also concerned that no issues surrounding the Department of Child Services will be addressed during the special session.
Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said in a release from the House Republicans that the session will be focused and brief, allowing only bills that were signed by conference committees to be up for consideration.
“All of these bills were properly vetted during the regular session through the legislative process and merely needed an up-or-down vote, which they will get in the special session,” Long said in a statement.