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Special Judge To Preside Over Bloomington's Annexation Lawsuit

Last updated on Monday, June 19, 2017

(BLOOMINGTON) - Brown County Judge Frank Nardi will preside over the City of Bloomington’s annexation lawsuit against the State of Indiana.

Judge Nardi was named in a joint motion by both parties last week after Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Francie G. Hill removed herself as the presiding judge.

The City of Bloomington filed a lawsuit last month regarding the state blocking its attempt to annex 9,500 acres of county property into city limits.

The legislation in question, purporting to terminate Bloomington's annexation efforts and prohibit further annexation activities until 2022, was dropped into the state budget bill just hours before the end of the legislative session. The language was designed to affect only Bloomington and the state-sanctioned annexation effort underway here. No city officials were notified prior to the provision being publicly posted, and the legislature did not hold hearings or receive public testimony on it.

The lawsuit, which names Governor Holcomb as the defendant, claims the legislation is unconstitutional for two reasons. First, it targets Bloomington and only Bloomington. Article IV, Section 23 of Indiana's Constitution prohibits so-called "special legislation" that singles out individual communities for regulation. Second, the provision was inserted into the state's budget bill, which addresses state funding and administration. Article IV, Section 19 of Indiana's Constitution requires that legislation cover a single subject, while the provision on one community's annexation is unrelated to state funding or administration.

The city wants the court to declare that section of the law unconstitutional and stop the state from enforcing the ban on Bloomington's ability to annex. In addition, the lawsuit seeks court costs and attorney fees.

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