House to (Finally) Debate Township Reform

Missing from the 2009 discussion of local government reform was a true debate in the House of Representatives. That may be remedied this morning.

A year ago, the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee conducted one abbreviated, orchestrated meeting that was intended to — and successfully — shut down the reform debate for that session. This time around, HB 1181 (passed out of committee 11-0 on Monday and featuring a proposed township-by-township referendum) will be on second reading.

Among the proposed amendments:

  • No taxing authority for townships that have excess revenues that exceed 50% of their annual budget
  • Strong anti-nepotism language
  • An ethics provision preventing elected officials from serving on the legislative body of the entity they work for
  • Several amendments from ranking minority committee member Phil Hinkle (R-Indianapolis), including eliminating township advisory boards and giving county councils budget authority. This would make the township referendum, if it goes forward, a vote on the trustee role only

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Later today, the Senate Local Government Committee tackles its own legislation in this area.