(AP) — A transparency bill amendment that would have required state
highway officials to reveal how much they pay for land to make way for
roads has died in the Indiana House.
that would have opened up information about appraisals and payments was
defeated by Republicans in a largely party-line vote Monday. The full
bill, approved Tuesday in a 98-0 vote, deals with transparency of business
agreements involving the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Indianapolis Star has reported that the state offered $7 million for
property appraised at $3.3 million for the Interstate 69 extension project
between Evansville and Indianapolis. The Star also found that family
members of Indiana Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy
Woodruff received payments totaling more than $1.8 million for their land,
a rate 43 percent above the average INDOT paid per acre for other
officials refused to release records detailing the justification for the
"We don't want
to have our constituents wondering if you happen to be connected, have the
right friends, maybe work in the right place, that somehow you are going
to get a better deal than the next person," said Rep. Matt Pierce,
D-Bloomington, who authored the amendment.
Burton, R-Whiteland, and Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, argued that the proposed
amendment would put sellers' personal information at risk because many
appraisals contain photos.
nefarious intent could look at whether somebody has a big screen TV or if
they have an alarm system, things like that, that could violate an
individual's privacy with regard to their home," Torr said.
Gov. Mike Pence, who took office in January, directed his top ethics
officer last month to investigate the purchase of land owned by Woodruff
and his family.
former Republican legislator, has said he had no involvement with I-69
land purchases other than a Daviess County parcel he owned with his
brother and father. That section of I-69 opened in November.
argued they wanted the highway department to be subject to transparency
similar to what the bill would require for the state's business
Under the bill
previously approved by the Senate, the economic development agency would
have to prepare an annual public report on tax incentives provided to
businesses and the number of jobs created by their projects.
Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said Tuesday the bill was a good
step after some jobs announcements in recent years had been "overly
follows a WTHR-TV investigation that found as many as 40 percent of the
more than 100,000 jobs promoted from 2005 to 2010 by agency officials and
then-Gov. Mitch Daniels never materialized, but the IEDC wouldn't disclose
which companies didn't meet their job commitments.