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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ind. Law - HJR 3: "An example of the older generation attempting to lock in their views and impose them upon my generation"

A great story today by Tom LoBianco of the AP, about the research of one of the young people who testified at the House hearing last week on HJR 3. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Slipped in between the emotional testimony at legislative hearings and arguments from both sides in Indiana's gay marriage battle this past month has been the surprising revelation that Indiana lawmakers have become increasingly more reliant on "locking" down their preferred policies by placing them in the state constitution. * * *

DePauw University student Mickey Terlep has quietly worked the halls of the Statehouse over the past few weeks, delivering research that shows the history of alterations to the state's constitution. He completed the research with fellow DePauw student Leif Anderson.

Carrying a chart of the alterations made to the state constitution since it was written in 1851, Terlep has outlined how changes for many years consisted of conforming with federal amendments (such as granting African-Americans and women the right to vote) or altering the structure of government (such as allowing governors to serve to serve two consecutive terms.)

But a new trend has emerged, Terlep says: Lawmakers are increasingly using the state's constitution to write laws instead of following the traditional process of passing bills through the House and Senate on their way to the governor's desk and eventually the state code.

"This transformation raises the question: 'Why have lawmakers sought to use constitutional amendments as a means for enacting specific public policies?'" Terlep told members of the House Elections and Apportionment Committee last week. * * *

Much like amending the U.S. Constitution, amending Indiana's constitution is a lengthy and arduous process that comes with some permanency. State law already bans gay marriage. Placing that ban in the constitution would protect it from changes by future lawmakers or state courts, but would falter before any U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

"I believe (House Joint Resolution 3) is an example, along with other amendments such as the property tax cap and the right to hunt and fish, of the older generation attempting to lock in their views and impose them upon my generation," Terlep said last week.

ILB: Jon Murray of the Indianapolis Star posted a copy of the chart, "AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIANA CONSTITUTION BY ARTICLE, DECADE AND TYPE OF CHANGE: Leif Anderson and Mickey Terlep, DePauw University, January 9, 2014", here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 26, 2014 06:34 PM
Posted to Indiana Law