The infamous walk-out over a labor bill by Indiana House Democrats during the 2012 session should not be repeated during the next two years. The walk-out was triggered by lack of discussion over the Right to Work bill. Democrats spent five weeks in Urbana, Ill, stalemating the session until their return. The Senate continued to work because there was a quorum even if Democrats walked out, but there was not a quorum in the House without Democrats present.
The controversial decision played into campaign advertising. Whether it affected the election or not is tough to say, but one Democrat targeted for walking out in radio commercials, Peggy Welch, was defeated by her Republican challenger.
In the first issue of the Indiana Farm Bureau dispatch, published during the legislative session, Bob Kraft noted that after the election, Republicans have what's called a super majority in both the House and the Senate in Indianapolis. That means that they can declare a quorum if all Republicans show up but no Democrats, and conduct business as usual.
The Dispatch urged farm families to stay in tune and be ready to get involved in this year's session. With the budget up for debate for the next two years, and with a new governor in the capitol come early January, there will be many issues to watch.
One is the property tax situation for farmland. Unless the legislature takes action, action attempted by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance to increase property taxes on bare farmland that was thwarted this year will return and take effect in 2013.
Indiana Farm Bureau played an active role in stopping the attempt this past session. Some observers are hoping that the legislature will overhaul the entire policy and formula that determines assessment values on Indiana farmland. It's too early to know what type of legislation might be proposed.