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Indiana Lawmakers Approve Budget On Final Day Of Session

The 2011 Indiana General Assembly has ended with passage of a $28 billion budget and other bills on the session's final day.The spending plan approved by the Republican-controlled legislature includes more overall funding for education and the replenishing of the state's budget reserves to just over $1 billion.The session included many legislative victories for Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, who's considering a run for president in 2012.   They include an education package that will create more charter schools and the country's largest voucher program that will allow some public school students to attend private school.Legislative business in the House ground to a halt in late February when Democrats fled the state in protest of the Republican legislative agenda.    The boycott lasted five weeks, and ended with Republican concessions on some legislation, including a contentious right-to-work bill that GOP leaders agreed to shelve for the session.Daniels is expected to announce soon whether he'll seek the Republican presidential nomination.

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