[r63] Messmer Report: Fresh Faces

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, November 5, 2010

The Indiana House was actually the first chamber in the nation to flip from Democrat to Republican on Tuesday night. Republicans now have a higher majority in the chamber than in any year since 1984.

So what does this really mean for the Indiana House?

Being in the majority means much more than being able to count on being able to pass a particular bill.

 In Indiana, it means that the party in power runs operations in that chamber. Most of this happens behind the scenes, in aspects of staffing, operations and logistics- for example, the party in power maintains the House website and operates the live video feed of session.

For this reason, this week has been a flurry of activity for our staff.

But mainly, I believe that having Speaker Brian Bosma back at the helm will mean consistency, predictability, openness and possibilities for Hoosiers.

It will mean consistency and predictability for the way session is run-in everything from scheduling to timeliness.

It will mean open flow of information between majority and minority parties, leading to more and more creative possibilities.

Bills and ideas won't be bottled up because of partisan, petty politics. As Speaker Bosma says, "We will let the democratic process work."

Until the debate can begin, however, we have some housekeeping to do.

Here's an interesting fact: in Indiana, a person who has been elected but not yet sworn in is actually known as a "legislator-in-embryo."

These as-yet 'unborn' representatives hit the ground running this week, with a full 'caucus' on Wednesday to officially meet each other, followed by a press conference held by Speaker Bosma.

For the next two weeks there will be plenty of activity at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, as our staff changes and prepares new offices and materials.

Tuesday, November 16, which is known as Organization Day-mostly because it's the day we organize ourselves and gather all the tools we'll need to start session.

We'll gather once again in Indianapolis for a brief session, and spend some time 'moving in' to the new space we'll have (since we're adding extra members to the caucus).

This is also the first day that legislators may file drafts for new bills. If successfully carried through the legislative process in the spring, these will become state law.

As I watch these new members arrive triumphantly at the Statehouse, I'm tremendously excited for them and I can't help but think back to the first time I walked up those limestone steps as a freshman legislator- just two short years ago.

However, unlike the past two years, I believe that House Republicans are now poised to make good, creative changes to governing in Indiana. We are going to carefully craft a budget, make sure our kids are getting the most education they can from every dollar, and continue leading the nation in job creation.

It's going to be very exciting, and I can't wait to get started.