Senator wants no mandates

December 21, 2009
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Senate Joint Resolution 0002 is not likely to get the fanfare and attention that property tax caps, education, and health care will receive in the 2010 General Assembly, but if it eventually passes, it will have as much as an impact on the general community as any other issue.

SJR 0002 wants to prohibit any court established by the General Assembly – appellate or local courts – from issuing a mandate, order, or other writ requiring the state or a political subdivision of the state from spending money on the operation of any court in the state.

The resolution would alter Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution by inserting language preventing the Indiana Supreme Court, Indiana Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, or any other court established by the legislature from ordering the state, counties, cities, or any other subdivisions of the state, to pay for court operation costs. Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, authored the resolution.

There’s no doubt this is a cost-savings measure that some legislators feel is necessary given the state of the economy in Indiana right now. Everyone’s looking to do more with less, but amending the constitution to prevent courts from ordering the state or county to help pay for court costs may do more harm than good.

Where will this money come from if the state or county won’t foot the bill? Courts will be forced to cut staff and hours, which will lead to an increase in a backlog of cases. If courts refuse to cut staff, will the money have to come from an increase court fees the public will have to pay?

Judicial mandates don’t happen often, and they are usually used when judges believe their courts need the state or county money to keep operating at a functional level. Two of the last three that I’m aware of dealt with pay raises for court staff. The judges in these cases were worried they’d lose their staff to higher-paying jobs, especially when the staffers had been denied pay raises by the councils controlling the money.

If SJR2 passes this year, it will still have to be approved by a second General Assembly before voters have the chance to ratify the constitution.
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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