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Indiana Senate Passes 'Fail-Safe" Budget Bill

The Indiana Senate has approved a so-called 'fail-safe' bill that would keep state government operating at current levels if the legislature can't agree on a budget by June 30.Senate President pro tem David Long says the measure would simply prevent a government shutdown in the event lawmakers are unable to meet the budget deadline."It is not an abdication of our responsibilities as legislators as some have suggested. Far from it. It prevents those who might see a political advantage of not passing a budget from getting away with such an irresponsible position," Long said.The bill cleared the Republican-led chamber mostly along party lines.Democrats complain that the measure would give Republican Governor Mitch Danielstoo much control over spending and would take pressure off budget negotiations during the special legislative session.The Senate and the Democratic-controlled House have each passed their version of a state budget that will have to be reconciled by conference committee.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.