Bundled against the cold, a pedestrian crosses South Western Avenue in Marion, Ind. (Jeff Morehead/Chronicle-Tribune/AP)
Potential temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero delayed what is expected to be a substantive legislative session in Indiana.
The frigid forecast led Gov. Mike Pence to declare all state government offices closed on Monday, postponing the start of the session, according to the Associated Press.
When the session does begin, one of the biggest headlines will be over whether lawmakers approve a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The state legislature already approved the ban once in 2011, but to amend the constitution it must be approved three times: twice by the legislature, with the votes separated by an election, and then finally by voters. If the amendment is approved again in the legislature, which Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations’ statehouse reporter Brandon Smith predicts it will, voters will be asked to consider the question in November.
A business property tax cut is a top item on Pence’s agenda.
“However we go about it, we should not shy away from recognizing the burden of this tax on new investment and growth for businesses in those communities,” he said in a December speech to the business community.
The tax generates roughly $1 billion, according to a late December report from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. It’s elimination could result in higher taxes for homeowners and workers, the report found.
The legislature will also put the finishing touches on a new criminal code, debating whether to expand Medicaid, debating multiple infrastructure polices, considering whether and how to fund a pre-kindergarten program and also weighing whether to accept Common Core for the state’s education standards, according to local reports.
2014 Indiana General Assembly preview — Indy Star
State lawmakers face packed agenda — NWI Politics
Four Issues To Watch In The 2014 Legislative Session — Indiana Public Media