Political Notebook

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The third-reading amendment

A rarity on the House floor became all too common Monday night – third reading amendments.

House Speaker Brian Bosma likes to wax poetic about how committees are the workhorse of the legislature, and that is where the real work on bills needs to be done.

Small amendments on second reading are expected, too.

But third-reading amendments require unanimous consent for the body to hear, and usually are only technical in nature.

On Monday night – the last night to pass bills from the House to the Senate – Republicans needed not one, not two, but three substantive third-reading amendments to try to get bills passed.

That’s pretty shocking when you consider Republicans have 69 members and only 51 are needed to pass a bill.

One tax bill by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, failed to reach a constitutional majority of 51 to either approve or defeat it. So he came back late that evening with a third-reading amendment stripping out the local tax language that many didn’t like.

Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, was in jeopardy of not being able to pass a bill affecting turnaround academies and rewriting the state’s accountability rankings. So he offered a third-reading amendment that stripped out massive portions of the bill and left many confused about what was left.

It was ultimately defeated even in a pared-down form.

Another bill on residential leases also was amended before passage.

Bosma said Tuesday that the amendments were more substantive than he is comfortable with.

“I was not thrilled,” he said. “I don’t anticipate that the rest of session.”

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