State Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) offered an amendment yesterday to an economic development bill, SB 162, which would have made land appraisal records subject to public access. Republicans blocked Pierce's amendment on a 30-64 vote made largely along party lines. The Star reports on the specious arguments House Republican members made for keeping the records secret.
. . . Reps. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, and Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, testified that the amendment would hurt the state’s ability to negotiate and put sellers’ sensitive personal information at risk. Torr said many appraisals contain photos.
“Somebody with nefarious intent could look at whether somebody has a big screen TV or if they have an alarm system, things like that, that could violate an individual’s privacy with regard to their home,” Torr said.
The amendment failed to advance on a 30-64 vote. So, for now, taxpayers have no way of knowing the rationale behind the payments highway officials make for specific land or properties on highway projects . . .Rep. Torr has angered conservatives with his sponsorship of a multi-billion dollar mass transit boondoggle proposal that would hike local income taxes 20% and give control of regional mass transit to an unelected, unaccountable regional authority.
Republicans also rejected an amendment offered by State Rep. Terry Austin (D-Austin) that would have required Indiana's Attorney General to conduct an investigation to determine whether any state laws were broken during the land acquisitions made by INDOT for I-69 and other projects between 2008 and this year. Austin's amendment failed on a 63-29 vote, largely along party line.