• WBST 92.1 FMMuncie
  • WBSB 89.5 FMAnderson
  • WBSW 90.9 FMMarion
  • WBSH 91.1 FMHagerstown / New Castle
Indiana Public Radio, a listener-supported service of Ball State University
Listen Live Online. Tap to open audio stream.

Senate approves ‘baby steps’ towards greater oversight of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Business, Government, Politics
Sen. Brian Buchanan (R-Lebanon) is the author of SB 295, which aims to provide greater transparency at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday that, in the words of one Republican, takes “baby steps” towards providing greater transparency at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

SB 295 adds two members of the General Assembly to the IEDC board as non-voting members. And it requires the agency to notify local communities before purchasing at least 100 acres of land.

That’s key to a major reason for the bill — growing concern over the IEDC’s economic development strategy in central Indiana. The agency has bought hundreds of acres to develop its LEAP district, and had planned to potentially move water from Tippecanoe County to supply it.

READ MORE: The LEAP pipeline project has been paused. How much has been spent on the project so far?

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text “Indiana” to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana and our 2024 legislative bill tracker.

Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) represents Tippecanoe County and called the bill an “important first step.” He said economic development is vital and that IEDC has been given a lot of tools — and money.

“But with large funding and great powers come great responsibilities and greater expectations for transparency and accountability,” Deery said. “Otherwise, trust erodes and support for economic development dwindles.”

Some Democrats objected to the bill because the legislative appointments to the IEDC board will be made solely by Republicans.

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