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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ind. Law - House republican caucus "has been consumed' by the gay marriage issue since the start of the session

So reports Tom LoBianco in this just posted AP story. More from the long story:

House Speaker Brian Bosma has spent months working behind the scenes to approve an amendment banning gay marriage while publicly keeping the measure at arm's length, promising that it would run its normal democratic course in the Statehouse. Until last week.

Bosma's public revelation that he was ready to change the makeup of the House Judiciary Committee in order to advance the measure showed just how much pressure is being applied outside the public eye to ensure the proposed ban advances.

Bosma has spent hours inside private meetings of the Republican caucus pushing the amendment. Routine meetings of House committees have been thrown off track as rank-and-file Republicans have tried to figure out when the marriage debate would hit the full House.

The first hint that things might not go according to plan came last Monday, after the House Judiciary Committee heard close to four hours of testimony. Committee Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, ended the committee without holding a planned vote, amid speculation that a handful of wavering Republicans could spike the measure.

The prospect that the amendment might be defeated inside a single House committee finally drew Bosma out into the spotlight.

"I've said one person shouldn't make the decision; we've got to figure out if a couple people ought to make the decision for all Hoosiers," Bosma told The Times in Munster last week. "The speaker, of course, has the power to move bills and has complete autonomy over committee membership."

Later in the story:
[H]is statement that he was willing to substitute members of the judiciary committee was stunning proof of how much power Indiana's speaker would consider exercising.

His more assertive public stance is hardly news to the members of the House Republican Caucus, which has been consumed by the issue since the start of the session.

Meetings of the caucus -- routine and private affairs where most of the toughest decisions are made before lawmakers return to public view -- have become incredibly tense, according to a person with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on condition of anonymity because of their private nature.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 19, 2014 04:08 PM
Posted to Indiana Law