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Speaker Huston Pledges Steps Forward After Racial Tensions In House

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said his chamber needs to take steps forward after the “step backward” last week that culminated with lawmakers having to be physically separated from each other.

Black Democratic lawmakers were booed and heckled by some Republicans after raising concerns about what they saw as discrimination in a piece of legislation.

Huston said he’s “embarrassed” by what happened.

“I’m committed today to increase focus on maintaining decorum, civility and professionalism in this institution,” Huston said.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said the legislature needs to be better. And he encouraged his members to do their part.

“Reach out today or tomorrow and introduce yourself to someone on the other side of the aisle that you haven’t met yet," GiaQuinta said. "Give them a fist bump or an elbow bump, and pledge to do your best to find common ground on legislation.”

GiaQuinta said there are more conversations needed with Huston about ensuring decorum.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.