LAWMAKERS BACK TO WORK: Legislative session begins after weather delay

WHITLEY COUNTY — As slick road conditions and below-zero temperatures cause concern, Whitley County government offices remain closed today. However, after the start of the legislative session was put on hold Monday, lawmakers are preparing for the first meetings of 2014 to begin this afternoon. "I am ready to get back to work," said Ind. Sen. Jim Banks. "There are several key areas to address. Education issues are always a big priority. We have a lot of work to do."According to the Associated Press, two issues are already looking to dominate the lawmakers' 10-week meeting — the elimination of a property tax on business equipment and machinery and an effort to place the state's gay marriage ban in the constitution. Gov. Mike Pence will also be pushing education measures, including a proposal to expand vouchers to teachers and preschool-aged children.Other issues are teed up as well. A proposal to crack down on trespassers dubbed by opponents as the "Ag Gag" bill is set for a hearing Tuesday afternoon.