A.B. v. State

949 N.E.2d 1204 (Ind. 2011)

The Facts

The trial court ruled that IC 31-40-1-2(f) was unconstitutional. The state legislature passed a bill into law which absolved IN from paying for any child placed out of state by the Department of Child Services. That code was amended in the state budget bill, changing the approval process to require only approval by the director of DCS or his designee. The code change was challenged as being unconstitutionally placed in the state budget bill.

Rule

Article 4, Section 19 states, “An act, except an act for the codification, revision or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject and matters properly connected therewith.”

The Issue

Whether placing language in the state budget bill relating to approval of placement for out of state child placement violates the state constitutional provision prohibiting acts addressing multiple subjects.

The Holding

No. The “amendment addresses appropriations, namely, whether DCS is financially responsible for the placement of a juvenile.” Because it relates to appropriations it is not a violation of the constitution that it be placed in the state budget bill.

Concurrence (Dickson)

• Concur with the result and emphasize that it was the intention of the framers of the 1852 constitution and the subsequent revision in 1972.
o In 1972, the General Assembly eliminated the requirement that all subjects within an act be in the title – “An act, except an act for the codification, revision or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject and matters properly connected therewith.”
§ This was a response to the ruling of Pearcy – invalidated a law that had to do with “good time diminution of sentence length and the subject of salaries for prison officials and employees.”
§ Both chambers of the General Assembly have rules that proposals to amend bills be germane to one subject matter.
o When addressing claimed violations of the single subject clause “courts should examine the subject matter of a challenged statute and that of the enactment to which it was attached and then use a de novo evaluation to determine whether the former is properly connected to the single subject of the latter.” The court should examine whether the two parts are properly connected “to the same single subject.”

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