Bosma Vows GOP Won't Abuse House Supermajority
Speaker: Eliminating walkout option may improve bipartisanship
House Speaker Brian Bosma with the GOP caucus (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
House Speaker Brian Bosma is pledging to work with minority Democrats after the G-O-P gained a walkout-proof supermajority in Tuesday's election.
Redrawn district lines helped propel Republicans to their second straight tsunami in Indiana House races. Republicans defeated three Democratic incumbents on their way to a net gain of nine seats and a 69-31 majority.
Republicans made a two-thirds majority a goal after two straight years of Democratic walkouts to block controversial bills. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) suggests eliminating the walkout option might paradoxically increase bipartisanship, because of the need to ensure Democrats don't feel frozen out. He's pledging to reach out to cooperate with Democrats, while repeating his warning from two years ago that the party will "go around" legislators who set obstacles.
Republicans also hold a supermajority in the Senate, for a second straight legislature.
Bosma doesn't rule out giving a committee chairmanship or two to Democrats, as he did in the last legislature.
The most powerful chairmanship, the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, is vacant for the first time in more than a decade with the retirement of Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale). Bosma says "seven or eight" Republicans have asked to be considered for the post, and says he'll announce his pick by the middle of next week.
Bosma predicts a good relationship with Republican Governor-elect Mike Pence -- he notes the two were law school classmates at I-U-P-U-I. But Bosma's repeating misgivings about the 10-percent tax cut that was a centerpiece of Pence's campaign -- Bosma says legislators will examine it closely to ensure the state can afford it over the long term. He notes the state is already eliminating the inheritance tax and slashing the corporate income tax.