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Monday, March 07, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "State to locals: You can't do that. Or that." The illusion of home rule

Brian Eason of the Indianapolis Star had a good, long, front-page story in the Sunday edition on the illusion of home rule in Indiana. It begins:

First it was a ban on setting a local minimum wage or regulating guns. Then came prohibitions on paid sick leave and housing regulations.

Now, it's worker schedules and plastic bags.

Lately, it seems, whenever an Indiana city even thinks about passing an ordinance that the General Assembly disagrees with, state lawmakers strip local officials of the authority to do so.

To some, the erosion of local authority is nothing short of an attack on local democracy. To others, the practice known as pre-emption is a necessary protection against a patchwork regulatory environment that they fear will hurt businesses.

But the crippling financial toll of state-mandated property tax caps and the fallout from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act have political and business leaders on both sides of the aisle increasingly asking the questions:

Should overwhelmingly rural lawmakers dictate public policy in the country's 14th-largest city? Should smaller, but more progressive cities such as Bloomington be micromanaged by a legislature whose ideological bent is increasingly at odds with the concerns of urban residents?

"I think you ought to be able to have a greater opportunity to decide what type of local government you want, and what type of services you want provided," said Matt Greller, executive director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. "Take a look at Indiana — it is remarkably different in one part of the state vs. another."

The article is really worth reading in detail.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 7, 2016 01:07 PM
Posted to Indiana Government