Monday, April 4, 2011
Daniels One Step Closer to Emperor
The Indianapolis Star reports that a sweeping bill that would give the Governor of Indiana ability carte blanche authority to establish toll roads is up for discussion in the House Roads and Transportation Committee this week.
As written, the bill that passed out of the Senate on a party-line 37-12 vote, would sunset in 2015, according to the Star. The original sponsor, Senator Tom Wyss, told the Star that he hoped the House would amend the bill to remove the end date. The report also says that this bill has largely bypassed the public eye because it passed on the first full day of the Democratic walkout in the House.
Right now, the Indiana House and Senate must approve making toll roads in Indiana. I think that is a good system. As I read the Star's report, the new measure would give the Governor and the Indiana DOT the authority to work with private companies on deals like Major Moves without oversight from the General Assembly.
This, I think, is a slippery slope here. It would set a precedent for the legislature to cede control of critical public projects to the most political person in the state, the Governor. If this passes, what could be next?
Public hearings are just window dressing. The Governor will get his bill, and he will get his chance to turn Indiana into Chicago or New York or New Jersey when it comes to transportation. The voters lose a little bit more control over their government.
As I read stories like this, I can't help but think of a scene from Star Wars: Episode III. Chancellor Palpatine uses the attack by the Jedi to seize control over the entire Galactic Republic. After the Senate votes to give Palpatine emergency control over everything, he gets a standing ovation. Watching the events, Padme Amidala says, "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause."
Is it Star Wars or is it Indiana?