Indiana News

Indiana lawmakers eye bill to keep state capital’s name

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would make it more difficult for the names of Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, to be changed.

“Everybody knows Indy as Indy! Indianapolis!” Brionna McCloud, an Indianapolis resident said.

Republican State Sen. Jack Sandlin says he had several people reach out to him last year, inquiring about a name change for Indianapolis.

Sandlin researched the procedure for changing the names of cities and learned it would take a petition of 500 residents who could file with city council, who could then, after a hearing, decide to pass an ordinance to rename the city.

“If you look at what we have in Indianapolis, and invested in Indianapolis as an international designation, the question was ‘does it make sense, not only for Indianapolis, but for other cities to use the 500-person petition to do that?'” said Sandlin.

Which is why he presented his bill to committee lawmakers Thursday.

The proposal says if a city is named in state statute or Indiana’s constitution, you can’t change the city’s name via that petition process.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency says 149 cities are mentioned in Indiana’s code and four are mentioned in Indiana’s constitution.

“If you change the name of a city, whether it’s Indianapolis, or another city, someone has to sweep through all those entries in our state statute and find them, and then change them,” said Sandlin.

In recent months, names of sports teams, and monuments have come under scrutiny for their portrayal of Native Americans.

Sandlin told News 8 his bill has nothing to do with that, and is not what he is talking about. Sandlin insists the proposal is not a reaction to those discussions.

Even so, Democratic State Sen. Greg Taylor does not agree with the proposed bill.

“The only way that the constitution or the Indiana code is changed, is by the Indiana General Assembly. To take that privilege, that right from local government is flat out wrong,” said Taylor.

“I think Indianapolis has a nice ring to it,” said Indianapolis resident Cameron Gregson. “I like it.”

Sandlin does not know of any effort to change Indy’s name.

An Indianapolis city spokesperson told News 8 there are no plans or rumors to change the city’s name.

The bill was held Thursday, which means state lawmakers took no action. News 8 is told the legislation is still alive and is in the hands of the Local Government Committee. The plan is, according to Sandlin’s office, to bring the bill back before committee lawmakers at some point in the future.

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