INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Census Bureau delivered its data on Indiana's population to state lawmakers last week, but it will take about two more weeks before the redistricting process is under way.

That, said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, is because it takes time for the Legislative Services Agency to translate the census block data into Indiana precincts.

Once the information is in the state's system, lawmakers will have until the end of April to complete the map-making process.

"It will be a fast process. I think that's a little concerning. We'll have essentially eight weeks or less to pass House, Senate and congressional districts," Bosma said.

He said he has talked with Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, about holding joint House-Senate redistricting hearings across the state.

He said there also will be hubs in the northern, central and southern parts of the state where Hoosiers can try their own hand at redistricting. Bosma said because the state's redistricting software requires a license, it can't be posted online.

Exactly how the redistricting bill will work its way through the legislative process isn't yet clear, either, because the deadline for House bills to pass over to the Senate and vice versa will have passed by the time lawmakers can start on the process.

"It appears to have been handled different ways in different years, so we've got a pretty clean slate really, but we are piecing together what happened in the last three decades," he said.

House budget coming

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said he's "not certain exactly when it will be," but that he will unveil his budget proposal this week.

It will not deviate much from the two-year, $27.8 billion spending plan that Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration has proposed, he said.

"We're bound by the amount of money that we have. We're going to spend the same money that he does, we're not going to raise taxes, and we're going to live within our income. The changes that you can make are pretty minimal, really," Espich said.

Still, he said, he has a few "what I would call improvements to the governor's proposal," and those will be included in the budget bill that emerges from his committee.

Daniels called for the flat-lining of most state spending. But he wants to direct more dollars into Medicaid and pension accounts, while cutting higher education funding by 3 percent, or $37 million per year, and eliminating some optional Medicaid services, as well.

School start date

A proposal not to allow Indiana's public schools to start the academic year before Labor Day has failed in the General Assembly.

A deadline passed on Thursday for the state Senate to reconsider the bill after a 25-23 vote against it last week didn't result in a Senate majority on either side.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, argued it makes sense to start school after Labor Day because families would have more summer vacation time together. Supporters also say schools could pay less to cool classrooms in August and that recreational and tourism businesses would be helped by more time without school that month.

Opponents say decisions about school calendars should be left up to local elected school boards.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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