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Senate rejects attempt to strip control of public safety spending from local elected officials
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Senate rejects attempt to strip control of public safety spending from local elected officials

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The Indiana Senate has emphatically rejected an attempt by state Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, to strip counties, cities and towns of flexibility with their public safety spending.

Just nine senators, including Bohacek, supported Senate Bill 42 on final passage Monday. A whopping 37 senators voted no; a rare defeat for legislation sponsored by a Republican lawmaker in the Republican-controlled chamber.

The measure would have barred local governments from reducing their operating budget for public safety services unless the locality’s total revenue decreased in the prior year or was due to shrink in the year ahead. Transfers out of public safety spending also would have been capped at 5%.

Bohacek said his goal was to ensure, in the wake of the "defund the police" movement elsewhere, that Indiana local officials weren't irresponsibly cutting public safety spending to the detriment of their residents and nearby communities.

"I've seen what can happen when irresponsible elected officials do things," Bohacek said. "They're there for four years, and they can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time."

Critics pointed out public safety often is the largest component of local government budgets and limiting flexibility would prevent local officials from effectively adjusting spending following, for example, police officer retirements or the implementation of cost saving measures.

"Let's give them more credit than this bill does, and let's not tie their hands like I think this bill does," said state Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.

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The Indiana Senate emphatically rejected an attempt by state Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, to strip counties, cities and towns of flexibility with their public safety spending.

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