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Special Session to Start May 14, Likely End the Same Day

Republicans plan to revive bill handing control of Muncie schools to Ball State

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The special session legislators knew was coming has now been scheduled.

Governor Holcomb has officially called a special session for May 14 for legislators to clean up business left unfinished at last month's deadline. He says "with sharp focus," they should be able to get everything done in one day. House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long are vowing to do exactly that, with Bosma declaring the House will stay in session as late as necessary to pass the five bills on the agenda.

One of those bills, a Ball State takeover of the Muncie Community Schools, goes beyond the emergency loan Governor Holcomb called for. Republican legislators have been insistent that the Muncie schools have squandered or ignored past attempts to help them balance their books, and need immediate and drastic action. Bosma and Long say Holcomb's given his personal assurance he'll support the takeover.

The proposal also abolishes the school board in Gary, where a state-appointed manager already has broader-than-usual power to make changes. The bill was perhaps the most hotly debated of this year's session, and Democrats are blasting the resurrection of what House Minority Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin) calls a "heinous" measure. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) rips both the bill and the planned process for passing it as undemocratic.

Republicans will allow no amendments on the five bills in an effort to ensure the session lasts just one day. Each day of a special session costs the state $30,000. 

Along with the Muncie takeover, legislators will resurrect bills freeing up more money for school security and aligning Indiana's tax code with the federal tax changes which took effect in January. Bosma says all three bills were thoroughly discussed, and says there's no need to start from scratch. Legislators had finalized the wording of the bills, and the Senate passed all but the Muncie bill before running out of time.

Legislators will follow the same no-amendment process for a second tax bill with two minor changes, and on the annual bill to fix typos in the bill which did pass.

Goodin argues legislators shouldn't be returning at all. He says even the tax code alignment could be done retroactively next year. The Indiana Chamber says businesses will run up millions in extra tax preparation costs if they have to recalculate everything for the state tax return after filing their federal form.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis, left) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) (Photo; Eric Berman/WIBC)

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