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5-3 state task force supports suggestions for government reform

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Indianapolis, Indiana – As part of the largest state government reform initiative in decades, there was a contentious debate in the Statehouse on Thursday.

Party-line voting divided the legislative task force’s 5-3 vote to approve 12 recommendations for the General Assembly’s upcoming session.

Senate and House Democrats expressed worry that some of the enacted recommendations amount to a legislative takeover, despite Republican leadership stating that the purpose is to promote government openness and responsibility for Hoosiers.

”This proposal is, in my mind, a legislative power grab,” State Rep. Ed DeLaney said.

DeLaney claims that a number of his ideas would lessen the influence of the judicial and executive departments in Indiana.

”It would also implicate the chance that we have to become more like a full-time legislature,” DeLaney said.

”One recommendation was that if there’s any change to rules or regulations, that that has to go through the Indiana General Assembly…that’s a separation of powers issue,” Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor said.

Other ideas, in Taylor’s opinion, might put too much strain on the already overworked legal system.

”One of the recommendations was that you have an administrative law judge making final orders, and then that order could be appealed to the trial court. When you do that, that’s a different interpretation in law than what we have now, and you would start the case all over again,” Taylor said.

Democrats claim that addressing a legislative housekeeping issue might help free up over $40 million in earmarked funds that haven’t been used in the previous two years.

”There’s some good stuff in here, but there were some ones that I think are highly dangerous and create too much legislative power,” DeLaney said.

Sen. Chris Garten, the task force’s chairman, expressed his satisfaction with “this considerable step in the right direction” and looked forward to carrying on the discussion while he was unavailable for an on-camera interview.

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