Republicans strengthened their control of the Indiana General Assembly in the November election. A closer look shows the Indiana House seeing many new members taking seats this session, while the Indiana Senate becomes more male-dominated.
The Indiana House has 69 Republicans and 31 Democrats, giving Republicans a two-thirds supermajority so they can act on legislation even without Democrats present. That denies Democrats the boycott option they used during the 2011 and 2012 sessions to protest right-to-work legislation and other GOP-backed labor and education bills. Going into the election, Republicans had a 60-40 majority.
Republicans maintained their Indiana Senate supermajority by keeping their 37 seats. Democrats have 13 senators. The state Senate has long been a stronghold for Republicans; Democrats haven't had held a majority in the chamber since the 1970s.
The House has 25 freshmen, 19 of whom Republicans and six of whom are Democrats. Eighteen Republicans are returning for their second terms, giving the House a 43 percent turnover in just two elections. The Senate has three new Republicans and one new Democrat. GOP Sen. Rodric Bray of Martinsville replaces his father, Richard Bray, who retired after 38 years as a House or Senate member.
The House has 23 women — 11 Republicans and 12 Democrats. That's two more women than served in the House last session. The Senate has eight women — five Republicans and three Democrats. That's three fewer female senators than last session. Those gone include Republican Majority Leader Connie Lawson of Danville, who was appointed secretary of state, and Democratic Leader Vi Simpson of Bloomington, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. Sen. Beverly Gard of Greenfield also left.
The House has eight black and two Hispanic members. One of the Hispanics is a Republican. The Senate has four black members, all Democrats. Those numbers are unchanged from last session. The election results, however, gave the House Democrats just 14 white men among their 31 members.