On Wednesday, the Senate approved Senate Bill (SB) 148 with a vote of 29-19. SB 148 contains sweeping language that creates new, statewide landlord-tenant statutes and restricts local governments from passing any of their own ordinances. This proposal was introduced in the last weeks of session, at the same time that the Indianapolis City-County Council approved a new ordinance expanding tenant rights in Marion County. State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) rose in opposition to this bill.

“It’s clear that SB 148 is an attack on the voters of Marion County,” Sen. Ford said. “This is just as egregious as the anti-IndyGo language we heard a few days ago, and is another attack on Indianapolis voters by big government. We have some folks in the General Assembly that are angry that Democrats are doing well in Indianapolis. This bill comes down to Republicans who don’t even represent Indianapolis taking away the voting rights of Marion County residents. Plain and simple.

“Indianapolis has the second-highest eviction rate in the country, and the Indy Council is working hard to address this issue. By approving SB 148, we are saying that the legislature knows better than the voters of Marion County – that it doesn’t matter voters elected a City-County Council to address specific needs in our community. We are saying that we are ready to bend over backwards for slumlords who may not even live in Indiana, who don’t return renters’ phone calls or fix basic needs like plumbing or heating. At the end of the day are we the State Senate or a glorified city council intent on making local voting obsolete?”