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 Home’s Chances of Survival in Jeopardy as Legislators Struggle to Craft New Budget

June 24, 2009 - As state lawmakers try to compromise on a new state budget before the current one expires next week, legislative efforts to save the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home could be in jeopardy.

Unable to get a budget passed during the regular legislative session, the governor called lawmakers back two weeks ago for a special session to try to get this issue resolved. A proposed budget approved 52-48 by members of the state's House of Representatives last Thursday, along strict party lines, included language that would keep the ISSCH open at least one more year.

Under the House's proposed budget, the ISSCH would get about $10.4 million for the coming year. The bill also would, among other things, establish a task force to study the feasibility of keeping it open more than one more year.

After passing out of the House of Representatives, the budget bill was forwarded to the state Senate. Last Friday, the Senate's Appropriations committee passed its own proposed budget, which did not include any of the House's language regarding the ISSCH. On Monday, an amended version of the Senate's proposed budget, which still did not include any language about the ISSCH, passed on second reading. The Senate passed this version of the budget 33-17 Tuesday afternoon - again, along party lines .

The proposed budget bill now returns to the House of Representatives. If the House takes no action, the budget bill will die. If it approves changes made by the Senate, the bill will be sent to Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.

If the House does not approve the Senate's version of the budget, but both houses still want the legislation to advance, the bill will be assigned to a conference committee made up of two senators and two state representatives. Each chamber will have one Democrat and one Republican serving on the committee.

If the four committee members are unable to reconcile differences between the House and the Senate, the budget bill will die. If an agreement is reached, however, the bill will return to both chambers for a vote, and it will be forwarded to the governor if both the House and Senate approve it.


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