Saturday, July 09, 2011

Indiana Lawmakers Inadvertently Repealed Family & Social Services Administration

I'm not sure how a mistake of this magnitude could occur, but it did. After the legislature concluded its work this year and Governor Mitch Daniels put his signature on all the new laws, Senate staffers discovered the state's largest agency, the Family & Social Services Administration, had been repealed. Gov. Daniels has corrected the mistake by signing a new executive order reviving the agency while the fingerpointing between lawmakers over who is to blame for the error begins. It's among several major mistakes made during the rush to conclude this year's legislative business this year. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly has the story:
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an executive order late Thursday to maintain Indiana’s human services structure after realizing lawmakers accidentally eliminated the state’s largest agency in a bill that went into effect this month.
“It apparently was repealed as of June 30 in a drafting error,” said Jane Jankowski, spokesman for the governor . . .
Though possibly the most extreme example, it’s not the first time this year that legislation from the 2011 session was found to be flawed.
“We have had some clerical errors that seem to be more than I can recall in the past,” conceded House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
For example, a bill establishing wage rates for public construction projects accidentally deleted the minimum threshold for a six-month period, which could cost taxpayers more on small projects.
Numerous major education initiatives had errors that had to be fixed in the budget bill before lawmakers left town.
Federal judges have issued injunctions against both an abortion and immigration bill, while a voucher bill also faces a constitutional challenge.
And a new law giving felons a chance to seal their records likely needs to be tweaked to make it more consistent . . .
Bosma said the five-week House Democrat walkout is partly to blame, creating a compressed time period at the end of session to get things done.
“We lost five weeks, and those were workhorse weeks where we pore over legislation. There was a crunch at the end, so there is little doubt that had an impact.”
Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said it’s easy to blame Democrats but said Republicans were simply pushing too much too fast.
He said in the last month, lawmakers still had Fridays and weekends off that could have been used to catch up if leadership felt the General Assembly was behind.
Moses also said no one can blame Legislative Services, because each caucus has staff attorneys and lawmakers who carry the bills, both of whom are responsible for reading legislation to make sure it’s correct.
“These are entirely Republican flubs,” he said. “They just didn’t do a thorough enough job. They were in charge.”

5 comments:

Had Enough Indy? said...

Maybe next time they can eliminate the Legislature.

Cato said...

If Daniels can create state agencies, why does he need the Legislature?

Daniels' order is illegitimate.

Downtown Indy said...

I could swear Pat Bauer claimed THEY were in charge as they sat in their hotel in Illinois.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Cato,

Agreed. The Governor should have called them back in session to fix the problem.

Advance Indiana said...

The budget bill included funding for the agency so he implicitly could re-establish it by executive order.