Township Bill Boosted, Passed by Senate

In a real victory for reforming Indiana’s township government, the Indiana Chamber and allies worked vigorously to improve SB 512 and successfully passed that revised version. As introduced, SB 512 eliminated townships (which is preferred), but to get the bill passed from the Senate Local Government Committee it was greatly watered down.

The day before the final vote before the full Senate, two favorable amendments were added and one bad amendment was defeated. As the amended bill was up for the final vote, the prospects for victory were not good. During the past few weeks, many township officials and their lobbyists (paid for with taxpayers’ dollars) were at the Statehouse in force to apply pressure on their legislators to oppose the bill. With the Daniels’ administration’s team and members of the Chamber-led coalition, we successfully swayed at least five votes to get to the final tally of 28-22 to pass the bill. 

The Chamber wishes to thank Sen. Lawson for her hard work and leadership on getting this bill passed. Senator David Long (R-Fort Wayne) provided leadership of the Republican caucus, where all of the supporting votes came from. We know there are several Democrat senators who would have supported this bill, but were unfortunately not permitted to vote that way.

Indiana Chamber board members and other citizens who contacted legislators to help swing several crucial votes played a critical role in the outcome. Senate Bill 512 is one of the keystone local government efficiency bills from the Kernan-Shepard Commission recommendations. We will work diligently to keep it moving in the House and bring it to a successful conclusion at the end of the session. 

0 thoughts on “Township Bill Boosted, Passed by Senate

  1. The African American Republican Council of Marion County is sponsoring a Marion County Township Consolidation Community Forum at Ivy Tech Community College, Auditorium, Room 438, 50 West Fall Creek Parkway, N. Dr. on Staurday, March 7, 2009, 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

    Confirmed panel: Rep. Phil Hinkle [R], Sen. James Merritt [R], and Sen. Jean Breaux and Sen. Greg Taylor. Channel 13 news reporter, Steve Jefferson will moderate questions and answers. The general public is invited to attend and question their state legislators on the issue.

    Jocelyn-Tandy Adande
    AARC President
    [email protected]
    317 956-0274

  2. Thank you for the info about Saturday’s event. The more community discussion the better. I encourage people to not only question their legislators, but let them know that they’re sick and tired of taxpayer money being wasted. This should not be a political issue, but an issue of efficiency and constituent service.

  3. I am all for the total elimination of Indiana’s townships. While I have not been a supporter of much of what the chamber proposes, on this issue I think the chamber got it right. Supporters can argue all they want for the townships but the simple truth is is that they have a horrible record of providing the services that they are suppossed to. The facts were laid out in the senate and it’s apparent that trustees decide when and to whom they will provide (poor relief for example) services to. The fact is that they are sitting on a statewide total of over 200 million dollars in reserve! The excuse that government closest to the people is the best is ridiculous. These officials have consistently hoarded public funds and failed to meet their obligations. It’s no secret that nepotism, failed audits, cronyism run rampant. Poor relief? I tried twice when I was in serious need years ago and had to try and answer forms that looked far more intrusive and complex than anything I might have had to fill out from the federal government only to be denied anyway with way to appeal such a decision. Marion County townships are the worst in my opinion. The small claims courts are ineffective and generally their decisions are unenforceable. The constables are a group of either ex-cops or cop wanna-be’s who are not required by law to have any formal law enforcement training whatsoever. Yet they and their deputies attempt to serve the orders of the courts, maintain peace in the courts, etc. When people commit a crime in a courtroom, they call the real police! Many regular police agencies have filed complaints against deputy constables for them interfering in regular police business. We all know of at least 3 former Perry Twp. deputies that were arrested (along with their constable Roy Houchins) on multiple misdemeanors and felonies. Some of those cases are still pening in state and federal courts! Did you know that a Marion County township constable can pull down anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 dollars a year in their salaries? It’s time to get rid of Indiana townships TOTALLY!

  4. My apologies for the typos in my previous reply.
    In my opinion the real problem here is that most Indiana residents simply do not know how government really works, regardless of the layers. Causing municipal and county governments to be more efficient can be achieved, but not with township governments still in existence. You “might” have an argument for rural townships, but not for any in a metro area. I’ve seen one of the arguments made that stated that trustees would meet with you (at your home) to help you with poor relief. I don’t buy that for one minute. More often trustees can’t be found in their offices at all! Come to your house? Where was that and who was the trustee? This sounds more like the rhetoric of the Indiana Township Trustee association (who are funded by trustees). In Marion County I can guarantee you won’t find any trustee coming to your house nor going out of their way to serve you. Did you know that your tax dollars pay for high tech MECA radios to be issued to each of the 9 Marion County Constables and their deputies? Each radio (new digital Motorola XTS) and the chargers cost about 2,000 to 3,000 dollars each. That means your paying thousands of dollars to supply these people with police radios when these people have no regular police duties to perform. Did you know that they are not required to learn how to professionally communicate on these radios? All other police agencies are required to. Did you know that most of them have never used a police radio before? Did you know that these people are potentially causing the townships to suffer lawsuits by not being trained? These deputies are not trained, nor required to be trained under Indina law, most are not listed in the Marion County “JUSTIS” system (used by MECA to identify law enforcement officers), not listed on the “Tiburon” system (used by the Marion County criminal justice system to identify law enforcement officers and make official reports on cases). Yet they attempt arrests, make stops, interfere with real police, use a radio they aren’t trained to use. And finally, did you know that deputy constables generally do not have criminal and financial backgrounds performed on them prior to their behing hired by a constable? You’re hired simply by whom you know, not whether you’re even qualified under law. Anyone that wishes that townships should remain as is is ignorant on this issue.