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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. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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