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No issue with all legislative logrolling

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Indiana Supreme Court offered some clues recently about why it’s ignored repeated attempts to address the issue of legislative logrolling, where multiple unrelated changes are stuffed into one massive bill that becomes law.

In a June 29 decision in Andre Peoples v. State of Indiana, No. 79S02-0912-CR-549, the court inserted some language that could serve as a warning to anyone who might want to challenge non-budget items being inserted into large budget bills – something that has caused controversy in the past.

Justice Frank Sullivan wrote for the unanimous court and tackled the criminal case, involving legislation about how three unrelated felonies of any kind could be eligible for enhanced sentences for a habitual offender. The ruling touched on a special rule enacted during a budget bill conference committee in 2001 that limited the use of certain substance offenses in making those kinds of enhancements.

“Because the 2001 amendment was contained in the bill enacting the biennial state budget, the change may have reflected a concern over the fiscal impact of incarcerating drug offenders,” the court wrote, noting that the original law was written in 1977 and that “It is not surprising that the provisions do not mesh perfectly.”

Those references to logrolling and the language used in describing the legislative action indicates that the court found no problem with the unrelated statutory language found in the budget bill, and that it even found on its own initiative a valid reason as to why it may have wended its way in there. Some have interpreted this to mean that any future challenge about logrolling could be struck down if the court sees a valid reason for the resulting law.
 

Rehearing on "Finding focus in laws" IL Oct. 28-Nov. 10, 2009

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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