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January 8, 2014

Polar vortex slows statehouse

State legislators barely reach quorum to open 2014 session.

(Continued)

“They seemed okay, given what the Colts did to the Chiefs,” Stemler said.

Other lawmakers arrived early. State Sen. Ron Grooms, also of Jeffersonville, left his house Saturday after hearing the winter storm warnings.

“It was 54 degrees when I left home,” Grooms said. “By the time I got to Columbus (an hour north) it was snowing.”

Many lawmakers who didn’t make Tuesday’s opening are from northwest Indiana, an area hit by a triple-whammy — a 14-inch snowfall Sunday, a plunge to sub-zero temperatures Monday, with more snow forecast today.

While the wild weather delayed legislators, it didn’t deter opponents of one the hottest issues to come — an amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Staff and volunteers with Freedom Indiana, a coalition of amendment opponents, delivered 6,000 letters to the General Assembly’s mailroom Tuesday, asking lawmakers to vote against the measure that would lock in the current ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution. Lawmakers may vote early in the session.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Statehouse have expressed support for the amendment. But Freedom Indiana spokeswoman Megan Robertson — a former GOP campaign manager — said lawmakers are persuadable.

“My experience with legislators is that they want to be good representatives of their constituents,” she said. “So if their constituents reach out to them, they’re going to listen to them.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden

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