February 12, 2021

Business Leaders Criticize 'Heavy-Handed' Indianapolis Bills

Bills advancing in the Legislature would block local regulations on rental properties and demand changes to the IndyGo bus system, among other things. - FILE: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

Bills advancing in the Legislature would block local regulations on rental properties and demand changes to the IndyGo bus system, among other things.

FILE: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — More than 60 Indianapolis business and civic group leaders have signed a letter criticizing the Republican-dominated Legislature over numerous bills that would strip authority from the city officials.

Bills advancing in the Legislature would take steps such as block the city’s regulations on rental properties, demand changes to the city bus system, shift control of the Indianapolis police department to a governor-appointed board and strip much of the authority from a citywide zoning board.

The letter released Thursday warns that “imposing heavy-handed limits on local authority would stall our ability to drive Indiana forward.”

Republican legislators have faced criticism for targeting actions supported by Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Democratic-controlled city council.

READ MORE: Lawmakers Hear Bill That Could Impact Rapid Transit Lines

READ MORE: Senate Votes To Override Holcomb's Veto Of Tenant-Landlord Legislation

READ MORE: Indiana Senate Backs Bill To Ban Renaming Of Indianapolis

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville said he didn’t expect all the proposals would win legislative approval but that the large economic impact of Indianapolis on the state merited attention from the Legislature.

“We want Indianapolis to be successful, there are differences of opinion on some issues, but we need to be and want to be a good partner,” Bray said.

Those signing the letter included executives of Eli Lilly, Cummins, Allison Transmission, Anthem and Salesforce and civic leaders such as former Republican Lt. Gov. John Mutz.

“Efforts at the Statehouse to stifle local priorities — in public safety, transit, housing and more — will stall growth by diminishing the contributions of residents who feel isolated from jobs, unsafe in their neighborhoods, limited by housing and transportation options,” the letter said.

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