Indiana General Assembly

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Indiana General Assembly

Seal of Indiana.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 15, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   David Long (R)
House Speaker:  Brian Bosma (R)
Majority Leader:   Brandt Hershman (R) (Senate),
William Friend (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Vi Simpson (D) (Senate),
Linda Lawson (D) (House)
Members:  50 (Senate), 100 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art 4, Indiana Constitution
Salary:   $22,616.46/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
25 seats (Senate)
100 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Indiana Legislature has control
The Indiana General Assembly is the state legislature, or legislative branch, of the state of Indiana. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the Indiana House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Indiana State Senate. The state legislature meets in the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

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


Article 4 of the Indiana Constitution establishes when the General Assembly 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. The session must adjourn by April 29 in odd numbered years and March 14 in even numbered years.[1]

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

Bills may be pre-filed in the Senate thirty days prior to the start of the session.[2] House filing begins on the opening day of the session.[3]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly is projected to be in session from January 1 through March 1.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly will be 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 General Assembly was in session from January 4 through March 14.

Major issues

Main issues included "Right-to-work" legislation, a statewide smoking ban, a tax raise to finance a mass transit system, and eliminating the state's inheritance tax.[5] The issue at the heart of the matter was "right-to-work" legislation that Republicans long said would be their top priority in 2012. The legislation sought to ban companies and unions from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to pay union dues. Republicans argued the move would bring jobs to the state while Democrats said it would lead to lower wages.[6]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 5 through April 29.

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. [7]

Clerical error

On June 30, the state's largest agency, the Family and Social Services Administration, was accidentally eliminated, due to a major clerical error during the drafting of legislation related to the Family and Social Services Administration. The Administration helps more than a million people access Medicaid and food stamps in Indiana.[8]

According to the AP, "Senate Bill 331 was intended to repeal a provision already in law that would have automatically eliminated (the Family and Social Services Administration) - called a sunset. The sunset language was set for June 30. The bill that repealed the sunset provision went into effect July 1, so technically, FSSA was eliminated minutes before the bill intended to save it went into effect."[8]

The mistake was noticed days after the new law went into effect, and caught many welfare recipients and legislative leaders off guard. On July 7, Governor Mitch Daniels signed an executive order on Thursday, July 7, to correct the mistake.[8]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

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

Ethics and transparency

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.[9]



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.[10]


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.[11]

When sworn in

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

Indiana legislators assume office the day after their general election.

Role in state budget

Main article: Indiana state budget

By January of every other year, the General Assembly of Indiana receives an biennial budget proposal from the Governor. The biennial budget proposal is for the next two fiscal years, which begin on July 1st. The Legislature then revises this budget over the course of the next couple of months. The General Assembly votes on a budget. For a budget to pass, a majority of legislatures must vote in support of it [12]

Indiana's General Assembly has failed to pass balanced budgets, having to draw upon reserves in the process. Indiana saw 1st Quarter FY 2010 state revenues drop $254 million, 8%, below forecast as announced by [Mitch Daniels|Gov. Mitch Daniels] on October 8, 2009. State budget officials estimate the FY 2010 budget could have a $1 billion deficit by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2010 if the trend continues. "Thank goodness we have built up reserves. And thank goodness we didn't spend them, or lots of them, as some people wanted to do," said Gov. Daniels. The state ended the last fiscal year with $1.3 billion in reserves. About $300 million of those reserves are slated to be used in the current budget.[13]


The Indiana State Senate consists of 50 members elected to 4-year terms without term limits. Each member represents an average of 129,676 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[14] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 121,610.[15] The Lieutenant Governor, currently Becky Skillman, presides over the senate while it is in session and casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. The current Senate Pro Tempore is Sen. David Long of Fort Wayne.

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

House of Representatives

The Indiana House of Representatives consists of 100 members elected to 2-year terms without term limits. Each member represents an average of 64,838 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[16] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 60,805.[17]

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 29
     Republican Party 71
Total 100

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


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

Indiana State Senate: 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.

Indiana State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Indiana State House of Representatives for seven years while the Democrats were the majority for 13 years. During the final three years of the study, Indiana was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives 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 have 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

External links