Newly muscled House Republicans meet for first time with walk-out-proof majority

Bosma pledges to include tiny Democratic minority

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Republicans are relishing their newfound power at the Statehouse. 

The party picked up enough seats in the House Tuesday to achieve a supermajority, which means they'll be able to keep working even if Democrats walk out again. 

The nine-seat gain gives them the biggest majority in that chamber in years, although it's dwarfed by the 90 seats Democrats held during the depth of the Great Depression.

There are so many freshmen that House Republicans wore name tags to make things easier on the first day.

Supermajorities are exciting for their members in the beginning, but they often dissolve into bickering when members become over-ambitious and try to accomplish too much at once.

But Speaker Brian Bosma said he isn't concerned about that.

"There's a steady hand at the wheel," said Bosma. "And I think I've illustrated in the last two years that we're going to focus on the majors."

Governor-elect Mike Pence said he isn't worried either and hopes to move forward in a bipartisan fashion.

"I look very much forward to working with members of both political parties in the House and the Senate to move forward on our agenda," Pence said.

One thing Tuesday’s election might have derailed is a plan to turn the State Superintendent of Public Instruction office into an appointed position.

Bosma acknowledged that it might look like a power grab for the big Republican majority to try and get rid of the only statewide Democrat, newly elected superintendent Glenda Ritz.

"It might have the appearance of a supermajority in each house reaching out to the single statewide elected official and trying to essentially eliminate that office," said Bosma. "So it may be a little bit more difficult to have that discussion now."

And Pence might have to negotiate with his own side over one of his biggest items, a 10 percent income tax cut.

Bosma said Republicans will have to see if that's sustainable when they've already committed to eliminating the inheritance tax.

Senate Republicans also caucused Wednesday and re-elected David Long of Fort Wayne as President Pro Tem.

And Senate Democrats chose Tim Lanane of Anderson as Minority Leader to replace Vi Simpson, who gave up her seat to run for lieutenant governor.

House Democrats will caucus Thursday.

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