The Indiana Senate definitely plays nicer than the House. Instead of zingers flying fast and furious, there was predominately a civil tone to today’s activity. I lost track of how many times a variation of the word “respect” was used by both parties. Quite frankly, it made for some very boring talks.
Still, when it came time for the Senate to vote on its version of the budget bill (SS 1001), the outcome was predictable – much like the House action last week – and had a distinct partisan flair to it.
The Senate passed SS 1001 33-17; the catch being that one Democrat – Sen. Frank Mrvan of Hammond – voted for it, while Republican Vaneta Becker of Evansville voted no.
The so-called budget contingency plan (SS 1) – in case an actual budget fails to pass by June 30 – moved from the Senate on a 32-18 vote (Republican Jean Leising of Oldenburg opposed it).
During today’s proceedings, Senate Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said his goal was to have the Senate vote on a finalized budget by no later than June 29. Of course, in order to do that, the House must play nice. Think they can?
The latest: Gov. Daniels issued a plea to the House Democrats to avoid a conference committee and to take a vote on the Senate version of SS 1001. The statement from the governor:
“The Senate compromise, while significantly different from either of my two proposals, protects taxpayers within the limits I’ve requested and I would sign it. I know there are many House Democrats who would prefer a budget that keeps Indiana in the black to one that takes us into bankruptcy, and we invite them to join this compromise now and bring the special session to a successful close. Mr. Speaker, please just free your followers to vote their conscience and let’s go home.”