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Indiana Senate Republicans pick Bray to lead after special session

May 14, 2018

Indiana Senate Republicans selected a new leader to replace outgoing President Pro Temp David Long. The decision came after lawmakers concluded a one-day special session by sending a handful of bills to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Sen. Rodric Bray of Martinsville was chosen Monday Senate Majority Leader during a closed-door meeting of the Senate GOP caucus.

Bray had been Senate floor leader, a position he was appointed to in December. His primary rival in the race was social conservative Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle.

Republicans, who control the chamber with a supermajority, would not divulge what Bray's wining vote tally was.  Bray said he won by a "comfortable margin."

Bray said he didn't anticipate making "wholesale changes" to the Senate's leadership structure. But he added that some "tweaks" will be made.

Sen. Mark Messmer of Jasper was selected as Bray's second in command.

Long announced in February that he was retiring from the Legislature.

The move came after lawmakers concluded the special session by Holcomb several bills he has pledged to into law, including a contentious measure that will further reduce the authority of the Gary school board while allowing Ball State University to take over Muncie schools.

Democrats said the session was an unnecessary face-saving move by majority Republicans who failed to pass several bills in the final moments of this year's regular session in March.

Other proposals sent to Holcomb make some technical changes to the state's tax code while also offering a tax break to the asphalt industry. Another bill sought by Holcomb will make an additional $5 million available for school safety improvements.

The session ended before 3:40 p.m. Monday after the Senate gave final approval to the measures.

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