Look up the definition of "currently under the radar screen," and you might find an image of the Indiana Senate. With House Democrats bolstering the Illinois economy, little to no attention is being paid to the other side of the third floor of the Statehouse.
But before wrapping up its first half of the session, senators managed to do their own harm by failing to pass two important local government reform measures. SB 405 (eliminating township boards) was defeated 28-21 and SB 303 (giving counties the option to go to a single county executive instead of three commissioners) went down 27-22.
What were they thinking? It’s been clearly demonstrated — over and over and over — that townships waste taxpayer dollars, fail to effectively provide basic services and are a relic of days gone by. Townships don’t work in Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne or the many less populous areas throughout the state.
Yet, some legislators in more rural districts made the case to their colleagues that, and I paraphrase, "our township folks are good people; it’s OK that they hire their relatives and so what if they break the rules every now and then and sit on money that could be used for schools, libraries and other local services."
As a colleague described it, politics and emotion won out over common sense. We expected more, much more, from our senators.
Lawmakers should have listened to two trustees (one former, one current) who had a clear message.