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Annexation lawsuit appeal denied; case will continue


Gov. Eric Holcomb talks to the state legislators and other invited guests at his first State of the State address on Jan. 17, 2017, in the Indiana Statehouse. Bloomington is suing Gov. Holcomb after the city's failed 2017 annexation attempt was blocked by the state legislature. Rose Bythrow

Bloomington’s court case against Gov. Eric Holcomb — concerning proposed city annexations nixed by 2017 state legislation — will continue per a Monday decision from the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The case began last year after the state legislature added an amendment to its budget bill in April that banned cities from following through on any annexation proposals made in the first half of 2017. The amendment also banned annexations until 2022.

Bloomington had proposed in February 2017 annexing 10,000 acres and 15,000 people, but the state budget amendment quashed this plan — the only plan in the state known at the time to have been affected by the amendment.

The city sued Holcomb in May 2017, alleging the amendment was unconstitutional because it specifically targeted Bloomington. Holcomb’s team later moved to dismiss the case in part because they believed Holcomb was not the correct person to sue, but the local circuit court denied this motion to dismiss. It ruled Holcomb could be sued over the amendment. 

Holcomb’s team then requested in December for an appeals court to look at the case because they still argued Holcomb was not the right person to sue. His team said the case should not be continued until the question of whether Holcomb should be the defendant was answered.

The Court of Appeals denied Holcomb's request for it to answer this question on Monday, sending the case back down to the circuit court. 

“We are pleased with the decision,” city spokesperson Mary Catherine Carmichael said. She declined further comment because the case is still pending.

No further court dates for the case have been set yet.

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