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Hinkle Scandal May Change Face Of Reform Efforts

Last updated on Monday, August 29, 2011

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The scandal surrounding Indianapolis Representative Phil Hinkle may alter the focus of local government reform efforts.

As chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Hinkle shepherded a bill abolishing township boards in Marion County through the house. But the Senate rejected the bill by one vote, and a scandal over a rendezvous arranged on Craigslist has cost Hinkle his chairmanship.

New Chairman Kevin Mahan says his top priority will be a bill to ban local officials from hiring relatives, and ban government employees from being elected to supervise their own day jobs. That proposal passed the Senate this year, but House members rebelled against a sheaf of exceptions carved out by the Senate.

Mahan himself voted no over a last-minute amendment to suspend officeholders who are charged with crimes, rather than awaiting a verdict. Governor Daniels has championed that bill and a statewide abolition of township boards -- he previously called for getting rid of township government entirely.

Mahan says he might support county-by-county referenda, but he's skeptical of imposing that kind of sweeping change statewide.

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