INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana lawmakers are set to begin their four-month legislative session,
facing a tight state budget picture and a possible contentious debate over
adopting a state hate crimes law.
The Indiana House
and Senate will meet Thursday afternoon at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to
start a session thatís scheduled to last until late April.
Republican-dominated Legislature must draft a new two-year budget to fund
school districts, universities and state agencies such as the troubled
Department of Child Services.
Indiana is one of
just five states without laws specifically against crimes fueled by biases
regarding race, religion and sexual orientation. Conservative legislators
have blocked adoption of such an Indiana law for several years, although
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb says it is long overdue.