City claims annexation provision is unconstitutional, brings lawsuit against state



The City of Bloomington filed a lawsuit Wednesday that claims legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly prohibiting annexation activities until 2022 is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit names Governor Eric Holcomb as a defendant. Holcomb signed the legislation on April 27 after the General Assembly passed it April 22.

The General Assembly added the legislation as a last minute provision to the state’s budget bill. It terminates any annexations introduced after Dec. 31, 2016, and prohibits any new proposals until June 30, 2022.

Bloomington is the only city verified to be affected by the provision, which is what prompted the lawsuit against the state.

According to a press release from the City of Bloomington, the lawsuit targets Bloomington and only Bloomington. It cites Article IV, Section 23 of Indiana’s Constitution, which states there can be no “special legislation” that singles out individual communities.

In addition, Article IV, Section 19 of Indiana’s Constitution requires legislation to cover a single subject. The city argues the annexation provision does not relate to state funding and administration covered in the rest of the state’s budget bill.

“We believe the state’s action is illegal and sets a dangerous precedent,” Mayor John Hamilton said in a press release. “Without the court’s ruling in our favor, every local government in Indiana could have legal processes capriciously terminated by state level officials.”

Hamilton has requested a meeting with Holcomb regarding the provision and will meet with local leaders in the meantime, according to the press release.

There was no estimation of how long the lawsuit could take to be decided.

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