Judge strikes down legislation that blocked Bloomington annexation

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A judge has ruled that 2017 state legislation inserted into the budget bill that blocked Bloomington’s attempt to annex 9,500 acres of property is unconstitutional.

The city of Bloomington sued after the Indiana House approved a budget bill including an amendment that blocked its annexation efforts and barred the city from revisiting the plan for five years. Frank Nardi, a Brown County magistrate judge and special judge in the case, ruled in the city’s favor Thursday, granting summary judgment.

The city had spent more than $770,000 to prepare for the annexation before the law was passed. The state argued, however, that the annexation plan was too large and didn’t offer enough chance for feedback from residents.

The suit said the bill violated the state constitution’s prohibition on “special legislation” and unfairly targeted the city.

Nardi’s ruling came after the Holcomb administration appealed the judge’s denial of the state’s motion to dismiss. The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the appeal and sent the case back to the trial court.

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