Daniels revives agency mistakenly canceled

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Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed an order restoring Indiana's largest state agency, the human services department, after it was accidentally eliminated due to a mistake in a new state law.

Daniels signed an executive order late Thursday to maintain the Family and Social Services Administration, which manages Medicaid and other major programs for Indiana's poor, elderly and disabled, the Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne reported that

Daniels' spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said an apparent clerical drafting error in the preparation of the law resulted in the agency being repealed as of June 30.

Senate staffers brought the error to Daniels' attention Thursday, and he quickly signed an executive order continuing the agency and its duties. Jankowski said executive orders were used to establish and run the agency in prior decades before it was put into law.

The executive order will hold until legislators can fix the mistake or the governor can issue an annual order.

The FSSA elimination may be the most extreme example, but it's not the first time this year flaws were found in legislation from the 2011 session.

"We have had some clerical errors that seem to be more than I can recall in the past," conceded House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

For example, a bill establishing wage rates for public construction projects accidentally deleted the minimum threshold for a six-month period, which could cost taxpayers more on small projects.

And numerous education initiatives had errors that had to be fixed in the budget bill before lawmakers left town. A new law giving felons a chance to seal their records also likely needs to be tweaked to make it more consistent.

Bosma said leadership in the House and Senate is "addressing the issue" of the recent mistakes with the Legislative Services Agency, the nonpartisan state agency charged with legal and fiscal review of legislation.

The FSSA mix-up was contained in Senate Bill 331, which was intended to repeal a provision already in law that was to automatically eliminate "sunset" language ending FSSA as of June 30.

The bill that repealed the sunset provision went into effect July 1, so technically, FSSA was eliminated minutes before the bill intended to save it went into effect.

Bosma said the five-week walkout by House Democrats over Republican legislative proposals is partly to blame, creating a compressed time period at the end of session to get things done.

"We lost five weeks, and those were workhorse weeks where we pore over legislation. There was a crunch at the end, so there is little doubt that had an impact," he said.

Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said it's easy to blame Democrats but said Republicans were simply pushing too much too fast. He said in the last month, lawmakers still had Fridays and weekends off and could have used that time to catch up if leadership felt the General Assembly was behind.

Moses also said no one can blame Legislative Services, because each caucus has staff attorneys and lawmakers who carry the bills, both of whom are responsible for reading legislation to make sure it's correct.

"These are entirely Republican flubs," he said. "They just didn't do a thorough enough job. They were in charge." They were in charge."


  • you try it
    The Dems take the state hostage for weeks, creating a built-in 11th hour crush. The Republicans pass poorly-written legislation.

    Everyone piles on new bills and hundreds of changes and riders at the last minute. And Legislative Services has to make sure it all works perfectly, synched with all other bills and dates on the calendar, never in any contradiction to tens of thousands of provisions in thousands of existing laws, with all authority in each law allotted to the right government agency, and worded so that anyone can easily understand it.

    You try it.
  • Make no Mistake about it
    I doubt it was a mistake or oversite. The GOP has always wanted to do away with medicare/medicade, family services, etc. It is part of their program, This way they can give more tax breaks to the rich. I believe they would hope it would pass unnoticed and then clammer to claim how they cut state goverment. Besides, with an exec. order Mitch can choose just how much/how little he would have the agency do.
  • Eliminating HSSA
  • Proof before signing
    So the LSA was rushed and mistakes happen.....but doesn't anyone read these laws before signing them?! Accidently eliminating an entire agency seems like a HUGE oversight.

    And....don't even get me started on the crazy representive that wrote language in the Planned Parenthood law that is baseless and without fact.

    I wonder how many tax dollars have been wasted correcting mistakes and fighting for recent laws that violate federal mandates?

    None of these lawmakers work for me....
  • Because...
    Mike, maybe because it had something to do with the over month long walkout that caused the legislature to rush everything through to make deadlines. That's obviously the Democrats fault
  • Gross Incompetence
    We actually paid these clowns for their service?
  • agency revived
    Why does Bosma, try to blame everything on the democrats? He needs to grow-up and quit crying.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.