Indiana State Senate

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Indiana State Senate

Seal of Indiana.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Partisan control:   Republican Party
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 6, 2015
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Sue Ellspermann (R)
Majority Leader:   Brandt Hershman (R)
Minority Leader:   Timothy Lanane (D)
Members:  50
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Indiana Constitution
Salary:   $22,616/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (25 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (25 seats)
Redistricting:  Indiana Legislature has control
The Indiana State Senate is the upper house in the Indiana Legislature. It consists of 50 members, each representing a district that is identified by a number. The Senators serve four-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Half of the Senate is up for re-election every two years. Each member represents an average of 129,676 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 121,610 residents.[2]

The session of the Indiana State Senate begins the first Tuesday after the first Monday every January. In odd numbered years, the Senate must meet 61 days, though not consecutive, and adjourn no later than April 30. The sessions in the odd numbered years are called a "long" session. In even numbered years when elections are held, the Senate must meet for 30 days (not consecutive) and adjourn no later than March 15. The sessions in the even numbered years are a called "short" session.

As of May 2015, Indiana is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Indiana General Assembly, Indiana House of Representatives, Governor of Indiana


Article 4 of the Indiana Constitution establishes when the Indiana General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 9 of Article 4 states that the General Assembly will begin its regular session on the Tuesday following the second Monday in January of each year. However, Section 9 allows the starting state for the session to be changed by law. This has happened in Indiana in 2010, as the General Assembly's session convened on January 5th instead of the constitutionally designated date, which was January 12th.

Section 9 also gives the Governor of Indiana the power to call special sessions of the General Assembly.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the General Assembly was in session from January 6 through April 29.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2015 legislative session included an increase in education funding, funding for roads and bridges, Sunday alcohol sales and funding last year's criminal code overhaul.[3]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly was in session from January 6 through March 14.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, elimination of the state tax on business equipment and education reforms, including whether or not Indiana should continue participating in "Common Core."


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 7 through April 29.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included education funding, utility bills, riverboat gambling, and regulation of how much pseudoephedrine individuals can buy annually.[4]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through March 14.


In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 5th to April 29th.

Session highlights

In the 2011 session, the Indiana legislature reduced the corporate income tax from 8.5 to 6.5 percent, spread over four years.[5]

Budget surplus

At the end of the 2011 fiscal year in July 2011, the Daniels administration revealed a $1.2 billion surplus.

The state's unexpected extra income came from the administration's ability to make deep budget cuts, along with higher than anticipated tax revenues. The budget cuts raked in nearly $460 million more than the $597 million the state had originally aimed for last July. Tax collections also contributed to the surplus, bringing in $204 million more than it had projected, with $195 million coming from income taxes.[6]

Despite the optimism, not everyone in Indiana viewed the surplus positively. House Minority Leader Pat Bauer claimed that the administration's report was "gimmicky," referring to cuts that were made to health care and education. The state school system reportedly bore much of the budget cutting burden since July 2010, returning $325 million from the $6.9 billion that it was allotted in the previous budget.[6]

David Patterson, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 62, said that "demonized" state employees should receive some of the surplus, in part because they had to work harder to account for the many eliminated positions.[6]

After the surplus was revealed, Daniels stated that the extra money would be put into savings, rather than trying to fix the past and reverse previous cuts.[6]

Hoosiers nearly made off with their own piece of the surplus, but the numbers fell just shy. The amount necessary to trigger automatic tax refunds is 10 percent or more of general spending. The $1.2 billion landed just short of that, at 9.1 percent.[6]

"Governmental streamlining"

In a blunder that state policy website Stateline wryly called "a stunning feat of governmental streamlining," legislators accidentally abolished Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) at the end of June 2011 due to a clerical mistake in a bill meant to save it.

The Administration, which "manages Medicaid and other major programs for Indiana's poor, elderly and disabled," was scheduled to "sunset," or cease operations, on June 30.[7] Lawmakers passed a bill to extend the agency's operations; the law, however, went into effect on July 1, meaning the FSSA was allowed to disappear a day before it was scheduled to be saved. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) subsequently issued an executive order on July 7 allowing the agency to continue operations.

Daniels's executive order will hold until legislators can correct their mistake or until he issues an annual order. According to gubernatorial spokeswoman Jane Jankowski, the agency was previously run by executive order before it was codified into law.

Democratic and Republican legislators blamed each other for the mix-up; the GOP claimed that a five-week walkout by Dems led to a time crunch for the legislature's bill drafters, while Democrats accused their rivals of failing to pass their agenda in a timely manner.[8]


In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 5th to March 12th.

Role in state budget

See also: Indiana state budget and finances
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The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[9][10]

  1. In May of the year preceding the beginning of the new biennium, budget instructions and guidelines are sent to state agencies.
  2. In August, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor
  3. Hearings are held with state agencies from September to November.
  4. Public hearings on the budget are held from September to March.
  5. The governor submits his or her budget to the state legislature in February.
  6. The legislature typically adopts a budget in April, effective for the fiscal biennium beginning in July. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.

There are no constitutional or statutory provisions mandating that the governor must submit or the legislature must pass a balanced budget. Budget deficits may be carried over to the next biennium.[10]

Indiana is one of only six states in which the governor cannot exercise line item veto authority.[10]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Indiana was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[11]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[12] According to the report, Indiana received a grade of A- and a numerical score of 94, indicating that Indiana was "leading" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[12]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Indiana was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[13]



See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on May 6, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 7, 2014.


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate were held in Indiana on November 6, 2012. A total of 25 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was February 24, 2012 and the primary date is set for May 8, 2012.

This chamber was mentioned in a November 2012 Pew Center on the States article that addressed supermajorities at stake in the 2012 election. Supermajority generally means a party controls two-thirds of all seats. While it varies from state to state, being in this position gives a party much greater power. Going into the election, Republicans in the Indiana Senate had a solid majority and looked to gain a supermajority.[14]

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senator were held in Indiana on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was February 19, 2010 for Republicans and Democrats, and June 30 for Independents and other candidates. The primary election day was on May 4, 2010.

Elections were held in 25 of Indiana's 50 senate districts, with incumbents running in 22 of the races.

The partisan breakdown of the Senate before and after the election was as follows:

Indiana State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 17 14
     Republican Party 33 36
Total 50 50

In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in state senate elections was $4,046,473. The top donors were:[15]


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 6, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $4,518,011. The top 10 contributors were:[16]


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 2, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,289,748. The top 10 contributors were:[17]


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 4, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $3,820,464. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 7, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $3,243,894. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


See also: Indiana State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Indiana State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 2, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,124,931. The top 10 contributors were:[20]


To be eligible to serve in the Indiana State Senate, a candidate must be:[21]

  • A United States citizen at the time of election
  • Have resided in the state for at least two years and in the senate district for at least one year before the election
  • Be at least twenty-five (25) years old upon taking office;
  • Registered to vote in the election district the person seeks to represent not later than the deadline for filing the declaration or petition of candidacy or certificate of nomination


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

Whenever there is a vacancy in the Senate, the state committee of a political party must appoint a replacement. The appointee selected by the state committee is contingent upon the approval of the state party chairperson. A special election is only allowed if the vacant seat is left by an independent.[22]


Redistricting is handled primarily by the General Assembly. Should it fail to enact a redistricting plan, the five-person Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission is then tasked with redrawing legislative boundaries.

2010 census

Census figures for Indiana were released on December 21, 2010. The state's population grew 6.6 percent to almost 6.5 million. The redistricting process began the week of April 11, 2011. Although the deadline of April 29 only applied to congressional districts, Republicans insisted on a speedy process, to the dissatisfaction of Democrats who argued that the plan reduced competition and posed a disadvantage to minorities. With the signature of Gov. Mitch Daniels on May 10, 2011, Indiana became the third state -- after Iowa and Louisiana -- to complete its entire redistricting process.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Indiana legislature are paid $22,616.46/year. Additionally, legislators receive $152/day per diem tied to the federal rate.[23]


Indiana legislators created a 401(k) plan for themselves in 1989, becoming the first in the nation to do so. Lawmakers who took office after April 1989 were ineligible for the traditional pension plan, receiving the individual retirement account instead.

Legislators pay 5% of their annual salary into the 401(k). In 2007, they voted to include per diem allowances, expense payments and leadership stipends into the calculation, thus raising their retirement accounts.[24]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Indiana legislators assume office the day after their general election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 10
     Republican Party 40
Total 50

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Indiana State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Indiana State Senate.PNG


The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate. [25][26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Indiana State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Sue Ellspermann Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate David Long Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant President Pro Tempore Patricia L. Miller Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Brandt Hershman Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Randy Head Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Brent Steele Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader James Merritt, Jr. Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Caucus Leader Rodric D. Bray Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Caucus Leader Jim Tomes Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Ryan Mishler Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Travis Holdman Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Timothy Lanane Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Jean Breaux Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader Jim Arnold Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Earline Rogers Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Caucus Leader Frank Mrvan Electiondot.png Democratic

Current members

Current members, Indiana State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Frank Mrvan Electiondot.png Democratic 1998
2 Lonnie Randolph Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
3 Earline Rogers Electiondot.png Democratic 1990
4 Karen Tallian Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
5 Ed Charbonneau Ends.png Republican 2007
6 Rick Niemeyer Ends.png Republican 2014
7 Brandt Hershman Ends.png Republican 2000
8 Jim Arnold Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
9 Ryan Mishler Ends.png Republican 2004
10 John Broden Electiondot.png Democratic 2000
11 Joe Zakas Ends.png Republican 1982
12 Carlin Yoder Ends.png Republican 2008
13 Susan Glick Ends.png Republican 2010
14 Dennis Kruse Ends.png Republican 2004
15 Liz Brown Ends.png Republican 2014
16 David Long Ends.png Republican 1996
17 Amanda Banks Ends.png Republican 2014
18 Randall Head Ends.png Republican 2008
19 Travis Holdman Ends.png Republican 2008
20 Luke Kenley Ends.png Republican 1992
21 James Buck Ends.png Republican 2008
22 Ronnie Alting Ends.png Republican 1998
23 Phil Boots Ends.png Republican 2006
24 Pete Miller Ends.png Republican 2012
25 Timothy Lanane Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
26 Doug Eckerty Ends.png Republican 2010
27 Jeff Raatz Ends.png Republican 2014
28 Michael Crider Ends.png Republican 2012
29 Mike Delph Ends.png Republican 2005
30 Scott Schneider Ends.png Republican 2009
31 James Merritt, Jr. Ends.png Republican 1990
32 Patricia L. Miller Ends.png Republican 1983
33 Greg Taylor Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
34 Jean Breaux Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
35 R. Michael Young Ends.png Republican 2000
36 Brent Waltz Ends.png Republican 2004
37 Rodric D. Bray Ends.png Republican 2012
38 Jon Ford Ends.png Republican 2014
39 Eric Bassler Ends.png Republican 2014
40 Mark Stoops Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
41 Greg Walker Ends.png Republican 2006
42 Jean Leising Ends.png Republican 2008
43 Chip Perfect Ends.png Republican 1978
44 Brent Steele Ends.png Republican 2004
45 Jim Smith Ends.png Republican 2010
46 Ron Grooms Ends.png Republican 2010
47 Erin Houchin Ends.png Republican 2014
48 Mark Messmer Ends.png Republican 2014
49 Jim Tomes Ends.png Republican 2010
50 Vaneta Becker Ends.png Republican 2005

Standing Senate Committees

The Indiana Senate has 23 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Indiana
Partisan breakdown of the Indiana legislature from 1992-2013

Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Indiana State Senate. The Indiana State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final three years of the study, Indiana was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Indiana, the Indiana State Senate and the Indiana House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Indiana state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Indiana state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Indiana had a long period of divided government between 1992 and 2004 until the arrival of a Republican trifecta in 2005. Indiana reverted back to divided government between 2007 and 2010 before reverting yet again to a Republican trifecta in 2011. The state has never had a Democratic trifecta. Indiana’s highest SQLI ranking came in 1995 (12th) under divided government, while the state’s lowest SQLI ranking came in 2009 (34th), also under divided government. The state’s greatest leap in the ranking occurred between 1994 and 1995, where Indiana rose seven spots. Its greatest decline in the ranking occurred between 2003 and 2004, where the state dropped seven spots.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 29.25
  • SQLI average with divided government: 20.82
Chart displaying the partisanship of Indiana government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

State profile

Indiana's population in 2014 was 6,596,855.

Indiana's population in 2014 was 6,596,855 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 1.7 percent increase from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 181 in 2010, exceeding the national average of 87.4.

Indiana experienced a 3 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, exceeding the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[27]


Indiana fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 23.2 percent of Indiana residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.

The median household income in Indiana was $48,248 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 15.9 percent poverty rate in Indiana during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[27]

Racial Demographics, 2013[27]
Race Indiana (%) United States (%)
White 86.3 77.7
Black or African American 9.5 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 1.2
Asian 1.9 5.3
Two or More Races 1.8 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 6.4 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[28][29]
Year Democratic vote in Indiana (%) Republican vote in Indiana (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 44.8 55.2 51.1 47.2
2008 50.5 49.5 52.9 45.7
2004 39.6 60.4 48.3 50.7
2000 42.0 58.0 48.4 47.9

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[30]

See also

External links


  1., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  3., "4 Issues To Watch In The Upcoming State Legislative Session," January 3, 2015
  4., "Legislators sort key issues of the General Assembly's 2013 session," April 28, 2013
  5., "States balance budgets with cuts, not taxes," June 15, 2011(Archived)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Bloomberg Business, "Indiana ends budget year with $1.2B surplus," July 14, 2011
  7. Evansville Courier & Press, "Indiana governor revives agency mistakenly canceled," July 10, 2011
  8. Stateline, "Clerical error eliminates Indiana's largest state agency," July 11, 2011
  9. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  11. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  13. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  14. PEW Charitable Trusts, "In Legislative Elections, Majorities and Supermajorities at Stake," November 2, 2012
  15. Follow the Money: "Indiana Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  16. Follow the Money, "Indiana 2008 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Indiana 2006 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Indiana 2004 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "Indiana 2002 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  20. Follow the Money, "Indiana 2000 Candidates," accessed July 18, 2013
  21. Indiana Elections Division, "2010 Indiana Candidate Guide," accessed December 16, 2013
  22. FindLaw, "Indiana Code," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute Indiana Code §3-13-5-0.1)
  23., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  24. USA Today, "How state lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," April 16, 2012
  25. Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus Leadership
  26. Indiana Senate Republican Caucus Leadership (dead link)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  28. Indiana Secretary of State, "Elections Results," accessed April 14, 2015
  29. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  30. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014