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Robert Battle

Robert Battle

INDIANAPOLIS — If the East Chicago City Council wants jailed member Robert Battle out of office, two-thirds of the body must vote to expel him.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly did not act prior to adjourning for the year Thursday on state Rep. Charlie Brown’s plan permitting the council to temporarily replace Battle while he awaits trial on murder and drug charges.

Brown, D-Gary, had hoped to insert his proposal in House Enrolled Act 1290, but the sponsor of that measure, state Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, declined to include it, citing Senate opposition.

Charlie Brown said he believes the actual motivation was more sinister and illogical, since the Legislature permits the appointment of a replacement if a member is called to military duties or otherwise temporarily unable to serve.

“It’s just a matter of keeping the negative spotlight on Lake County,” Brown said. “They know that there was no rhyme or reason for not putting this simple paragraph or two in the bill to clarify what they (city councils) can do.”

At the same time, the legislation authorizes the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to invest in “destination” economic development projects, such as a sports stadium or major museum, under extremely limited conditions.

State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said she’s confident if the right opportunity comes along the RDA can participate.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.