March 10, 2016

Debate Over BMV Overhaul Gets Heated

Tempers flared on the floor of the Indiana House Thursday. - file photo

Tempers flared on the floor of the Indiana House Thursday.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Debate on the House floor over provisions of legislation overhauling the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ fee and registration system got heated Thursday, with one lawmaker accusing another of threatening to “bury him” over the bill.

The heart of the BMV bill reduces or eliminates 163 fees and cuts the number of ways to register a vehicle from 191 to 23.  But Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, didn’t rise to speak on the House floor over that portion. In fact, there was virtually unanimous, bipartisan support for the core of the bill. 

Instead, Forestal railed against additions to the bill made by the Senate; provisions that included language about sight lines at railroad crossings and rental car fees.  Forestal says GOP Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, the author of the bill, promised to keep the bill free of those kinds of additions – and the angry Democrat says that promise was broken.

“The fact that I had to take my name off of a bill that I worked on for years because of last minute, legislative shenanigans is atrocious,” Forestal said.

Speaker Brian Bosma urged all members to refrain from personal attacks on the floor – including Soliday, when he rose to defend himself.

“Boys, take it outside later," Bosma said over Soliday. "Let’s get to the closing and get done with calling each other out.” 

“I’m not taking it outside," Soliday told Bosma. "It is not...”

“Just close, Representative Soliday,” Bosma insisted.

The House ultimately approved the bill 69-29; the Senate passed it 49-one.  It now heads to the governor.

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