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Week One Of 2015 Legislative Session Opens Budget Talks

Legislators focused on budget talks as the 2015 session opened at the statehouse in Indianapolis.

Indiana’s 150 senators and representatives gathered in Indianapolis this week to begin the 2015 session, one in which they’ll write a new two-year state budget.

The Pence administration kicked off the budget writing process this week with the unveiling of the governor’s budget proposal. It includes $200 million more in K-12 education funding over the next two years.

But Democrats criticized that figure, noting that $41 million goes specifically for a charter school funding increase. They say a growing chunk of K-12 money is diverted away from public schools to the state’s voucher program.

Pence’s proposed budget also includes $300 million for new road construction and a $1 million per year increase in domestic violence funding.

In the Senate, a bill concerning the governor’s political future appears to have died a quick death at the opening of the new session.

Legislation proposed by Senator Mike Delph, R-Carmel, would allow Pence to run for governor and president on the same ballot. Pence called it a “well-intentioned distraction” and both House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, declared their opposition to the idea.

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