Wednesday, February 07, 2007

House Approves Giving BMV To Secretary Of State

The House of Representatives voted along party lines 51-49 to transfer the administration of the BMV from the Governor to the Secretary of State. Motor vehicle licensing and registration is administered by the secretary of state's office in most states. When the agency was first created in Indiana in 1905, it was administered by the Secretary of State. A political pissing match about 75 years ago led to the BMV being taken away from the Secretary of State.

HB 1262 is sponsored by Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City). I think Republicans are making a mistake opposing this legislation. The BMV would get a lot more attention if it were moved to the Secretary of State's office. In states like Illinois where these functions are handled by the Secretary of State, the occupant of that office is much more visible and has a lot on the line politically. If he does his job well, the chances are pretty good he might become a governor or U.S. senator some day. When's the last time a secretary of state in Indiana was elected governor, or any other higher office for that matter? As it stands, the Secretary of State has so few responsibilities it's not even worth making it a statewide elected office.

11 comments:

Doug said...

"When's the last time a secretary of state in Indiana was elected governor"

1988.

Evan Bayh was elected to Secretary of State in 1986, and was elected Governor in 1988.

Advance Indiana said...

You got me there, Doug. Can you think of any others?

Advance Indiana said...

Checking the state archives back to 1900, I could only find one other secretary of state who went on to become governor--Ed Whitcomb.

Sir Hailstone said...

SoS maintains the corporations database, and administers elections.

Isn't that important enough?

Manfred said...

Unfortunately, this bill will never pass the Senate. The Governor doesn't want to lose control of the BMV; it would ruin his plans for privatization of the agency.
The Secretary of State's ofice might actually try to fix some of the deeper problems in the Bureau, instead of just giving it a veneer of improvement.
The slogan of the current management team seems to be, "Looks good, is good." But beneath the surface, it's not good. If anything, it's worse than it was.
They have no intention of fixing the still-screwed-up computer system; rather they insist that it is working perfectly, and don't have any patience for employees who have problems with it.
Therefore, nobody speaks of troubles and needs for fear of losing their job.

Doug said...

I should've mentioned, Evan Bayh notwithstanding, that I don't disagree with your reasoning. I just got all excited at being able to answer a rhetorical question - because I'm a smartass that way.

Wilson46201 said...

The Office of Secretary of State in Indiana has traditionally been a "political" office held by partisan-activists and wannabe higher-ups. It has the reputation of being a stepping-stone to bigger and better things.

Advance Indiana said...

And if you don't believe Wilson, just ask Ed Simcox, Sue Anne Gilroy or Joe Hogsett. Which offices were they elected to after leaving the office?

The Urbanophile said...

I wouldn't hold up Illinois as an example here. Sec. of State George Ryan was convicted of several felonies committed while he was running the license system, including a licenses for bribes scam that led to unqualified truckers given commerical licenses. One of these drivers was involved in a well-publicized crash in which six children burned to death. Despite his rampant corruption, Ryan got himself elected governor, but his actions have all but destroyed the Republican party in Illinois.

Sir Hailstone said...

Despite his rampant corruption, Ryan got himself elected governor, but his actions have all but destroyed the Republican party in Illinois.

The corruption did not come to light until AFTER Ryan was elected Governor. It was about 1 1/2 years into his term when Operation Safe Roads started to gain traction and people within the SoS office were found to sell licenses and making kickbacks to Ryan's campaign committee. The election after the corruption charges were made, only ONE statewide officeholder elected was GOP, Judy Baar-Topinka. Now, one election later no statewide officeholder is GOP and the GOP barely holds onto relevance in the Illinois Legislature. It will be quite some time before the Illinois voters will accept the GOP.

I'm not sure if the Illinois Constitution has a provision like what is a possibility for the Senate Democrats here in Indiana - if the GOP here picks up 6 seats in the State Senate we can relegate the Democrats to irrelevance.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure if the Illinois Constitution has a provision like what is a possibility for the Senate Democrats here in Indiana"

It does...and it happened to the Illinois Senate Republicans.