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Monday, April 17, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - "Micromanagement could spread to Indiana: Home-rule helicoptering"

Supplementing this ILB post from April 13th, some quotes from a long Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial today:

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that states are trying a new approach to curbing the powers of local governments.

Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania, the Journal reported, are considering “broad-based approaches to block city ordinances, rather than fighting cities on specific issues like minimum-wage rules. Arizona has already enacted such a rule.”

Given the general legislative hostility toward what used to be known as “home rule,” it's not too early to worry about whether Indiana could be far behind.

“Proponents say these wide-ranging bills are a way to get ahead of a flurry of local actions around the country, such as a plastic-bag levy in New York City, a paid sick-leave requirement in Philadelphia and ride-sharing regulations affecting companies such as Uber,” the Journal reported. Advocates say the new omnibus approach will help states smooth the regulatory environment for businesses. Detractors say it's about power and politics.

The lure of interceding on decisions better left to municipalities is a temptation to which Hoosier legislators frequently succumb.

Last year, the legislature turned aside from weightier matters to head off an effort by environmental activists to ban plastic bags in Bloomington. Now, cities in Indiana are forbidden even to limit or tax the use of such bags. Also in 2016, Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, shepherded through a bill to smooth the way for Uber and other ride-sharing services. That the measure overrode local ordinances in places such as Fort Wayne didn't seem to matter.

This year, the Senate and House are working to finalize a bill that would stop municipalities from prohibiting Airbnb-style short-term rentals and sent a proposal to prevent localities from regulating the size and placement of cellphone companies' transmission towers to a summer study committee. * * *

Win Moses Jr., a Democrat who's seen the issue as a Fort Wayne mayor and as a state representative, said Friday it's been at least two decades since the legislature routinely honored the home-rule concept. Since then, finding compromise between the need for statewide predictability and the rights of communities to determine their own rules has been difficult.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 17, 2017 10:33 AM
Posted to Indiana Government