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Lawmakers look to provide a little more oversight of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

A video billboard in front of Lucas Oil Stadium that reads "Indiana A State that Works"
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
There's been growing criticism of some of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation's strategies, particularly related to its LEAP Innovation District in central Indiana.

A Senate committee easily advanced legislation Thursday that aims to provide a little more oversight of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

SB 295 comes amid growing criticism of the agency’s economic development strategies.

The legislation would add two lawmakers to the IEDC board, though they would be non-voting members. It would also require the agency to notify local governments at least 30 days before it buys at least 100 acres of land.

That’s been an issue in central Indiana, where the IEDC has purchased hundreds of acres to develop its LEAP Innovation District, in an effort to attract companies to locate there.

Kerwin Olson of Citizens Action Coalition applauded the bill.

“Increased transparency around the IEDC is most definitely a small leap in the right direction,” Olson said.

READ MORE: Governor Holcomb moves LEAP water study away from Indiana Economic Development Corporation oversight

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Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) has been a critic of the LEAP district, as it relates to plans to move water from Tippecanoe County, which Deery represents, to supply it.

“We gotta make sure, too, though that we’re doing that in a way that’s sustainable and maintaining trust," Deery said.

The bill advanced to the full Senate with a unanimous vote.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org 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.