Constitutional concerns struck down a plan that would have simplified Indiana state law by using place names instead of population descriptions, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports.
Earlier this summer, the state's Legislative Services Agency suggested using locality names rather than population parameters in state law, and state legislators seemed open to the idea, according to the Times. But this week, both the Code Revision Commission and the Census Data Advisory Committee voted to simply update population descriptions in state law.
The Indiana Constitution requires that all laws be applicable statewide. So when lawmakers want to adopt legislation that affects only one city or county, they must include language such as "a county having a population of more than 400,000 but less than 700,000," rather than naming the intended place: Lake County, in this instance, the newspaper reports.
Some lawmakers were concerned that the state courts would rule against any law that included specific place names, according to the Times. Others have argued that using place names would be more transparent.
"I just believe in the interest of transparency, not only for us as legislators but for the people we serve; they should know what cities and towns we're referring to," State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, who voted for the change, told the newspaper.