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Legislative task force recommends further restrictions to state agency powers

Chris Garten watches a task force meeting in the Senate chamber. Garten is a White man with light brunette hair, wearing a suit.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown) is the chair of the Government Reform Task Force, which he said will meet again next year.

A legislative task force this week approved, along party lines, recommendations that would further restrict the ability of state agencies to adopt rules and regulations.

Democrats on the task force said that while they agreed with a majority of the 12 recommendations, three of them needed further study.

Chief among the complaints was a recommendation that the General Assembly create a law that would block agency rules from taking effect without legislative approval, if those rules have a “a significant fiscal or regulatory impact.”

Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said that creates a separation of powers problem.

“I’m not interested in issuing regulations. I don’t think it’s my duty,” DeLaney said. “And I think, also, by the way, you’re pushing us in the direction of a full-time legislature.”

READ MORE: Indiana legislative leaders temper expectations of major action in 2024 session

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Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), the chair of the task force, said the recommendation isn’t the end of the discussion.

“It would be our responsibility to define what 'significant fiscal or regulatory impact' is, not just use those words,” Garten said. “I think we would really need to get into that.”

Garten said the overarching aim of the task force and its recommendations is to promote collaboration — not mistrust — between state agencies and Indiana citizens.

Democrats also disagreed with recommendations that would direct state courts not to give state agencies deference when reviewing agency decisions.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.