Protecting the rights of rural Hoosiers

Posted by: Jessica Bruder  | Monday, April 15, 2019

Rural communities like ours make up a large portion of Indiana. In many cases, cities and towns impose regulations and restrictions on property owners who reside outside of their jurisdiction. To help address this issue and prevent government overreach, I am supporting legislation that would put regulatory decisions back into the hands of county officials elected by county residents.

This issue recently came to lawmakers’ attention when municipal governments tried to regulate the construction of wind turbines within four miles of the city limits. In doing so, these officials stripped rural property owners of their right to make decisions about their own property. Regulations were forced upon them by local officials they did not elect.

To protect the rights of property owners living outside city and town boundaries, a proposal for a new law would prevent municipalities from extending their reach more than two miles outside city limits. If it is necessary that they stretch beyond their jurisdiction for health or safety reasons, the bill would ensure they get approval from the county before taking action. For example, cities and towns would still be able to fund facilities like hospitals and animal shelters located outside municipal lines with approval from the county. They could not, however, prohibit a business or property owner outside their jurisdiction from making decisions about their land.

The overreach happening across Indiana would be similar to letting Illinois have regulatory control over nearby Indiana property owners. These regulations are unfair. It is important we protect the rights and desires of these property owners and give them back the power to put decisions in the hands of the officials they elected into office. If passed into law, this bill would help ensure rural communities do not face regulations without the ability to democratically check their elected official’s powers.

Senate Bill 535 now moves to a committee made up of House and Senate members for further consideration. To learn more about this legislation, visit iga.in.gov. If you have questions or input you would like to provide, please reach out to me by emailing h25@iga.in.gov or by calling 317-234-2993.

-30-

State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo of Lehe.