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Statehouse buzzes as lawmakers return; ‘Now we’re out of the gate!’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tuesday was Organization Day at Indiana’s Statehouse, and lawmakers ceremoniously kicked off the 2018 legislative session.

The building was full of the buzz of people and vibrant energy.

State Rep. Gregory W. Porter, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said, “It’s a starting point. Now we’re out of the gate!”

Think of it as an administrative day to get everything, filed legislation and ideas, organized for the 2018 session. The Legislative Services Agency said it is expecting hundreds of bills to be introduced in the House and Senate in the session.

State Sen. Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said, “One thing I hope we get accomplished is having an agenda that works for everybody.”

The 120th General Assembly will be a short session for the 150 lawmakers.

State Sen. Victoria Spartz is brand-new to the Senate, sworn in Oct. 12. The Republican from Noblesville said, “It’s good! I guess it’s kind of nice to be new.”

Born in Ukraine, Spartz came to the United States 17 years ago in 2000. A mom of a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, the former chief financial officer of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office said she never thought she’d get into politics. One of her goals is to streghten Indiana’s workforce.

“I understand how important that is,” she said. “That’s how you empower people, educate people, give good jobs. Actually careers.”

Spartz was officially recognized at the ceremonial first session on the Senate chamber floor.

Over on the House floor, two other new lawmakers were introduced Then Speaker of the House Brian Bosma set the tone for the upcoming legislative session. The Republican from Indianapolis said, “We have an opioid crisis we’re dealing with, we have education initiatives that need attention and, frankly, we have some more downsizing of government that can be done.”

The session starts Jan. 3.