Indiana Law and Government

Indiana Law and Government

Until 1816, Indiana did not have a central government system. During those days, each territory of Indiana was governed by individual government. This system came to an end when the Constitution of Indiana passed an act on May 6 to unite governments of all the territories to form the Government of Indiana. The government of Indiana holds the power on wide areas like taxation, business, law enforcement, construction works, and maintenance works etc. In Indiana elections are conducted every two years to elect members of the government authority. If any vacancies arise unexpectedly in between the election period, then special elections are often conducted to fill it.

The government of Indiana like all other States of United States of America consists of three important branches having their own specific powers and duties. These three branches of government contribute jointly towards proper running of the State. The branches are executive branch, judicial branch and legislative branch. The government of Indiana is situated in Indianapolis which is the capital city of Indiana.

Indiana Executive Branch

The executive branch of Indiana government consists of:

  • The Governor of Indiana: The Governor is Indiana’s chief executive officer. Being the chief executive officer of the government, the Governor is responsible for monitoring and interpreting all the actions and decisions taken by the State government. The governor of Indiana serves his term for a period of four years. The governor usually works in association with other elected government executive officers like Attorney general, lieutenant governor etc. The governor of Indiana has the power to organize General Assembly under special situations. The Indiana governor has the power to supervise all the principle departments. The Indiana governor also has the power to reorganize the executive branch by his executive order. In Indiana, the governor is responsible for observing and confirming the laws through proper court actions, granting pardons, remitting and suspending fines and forfeitures etc. At present, the governor of Indiana is Mitch Daniel. He is the 49th governor of Indiana.

  • The Lieutenant Governor: It is a constitutional office in Indiana. Becky Skillman who is a Republican is currently holding the office. The election for appointing lieutenant governor is done during the same time for that of the governor. The candidate who is participating in the election should be an Indiana citizen for at least five years. Like governor, the Lieutenant governor is also elected for a period of four years. In any case if the governor is found to be legally ineligible or disable, than the Lieutenant governor can act as the governor.

  • Attorney General: The attorney general is the chief legal officer of the Indiana government. At present the attorney general of Indiana is Greg Zoeller. He is elected as the forty second attorney general of Indiana. Like governor and lieutenant governor, the attorney general is also elected for a period of four years.

  • Other independently elected constitutional officers: Apart from the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, other independently elected constitutional officers includes the Commissioner of Administration, Commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic development, Commissioner of Corrections, Commissioner of Education and Early Development, Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, Commissioner of Health and Social Service, Commissioner of Labor and work Force development, Adjutant General Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Commissioner of Natural Resources, Commissioner of Natural Safety, Commissioner of Public Safety, Commissioner of Revenue, Commissioner of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Indiana Legislative Branch

In Indiana the General Assembly constitutes the legislative branch of government. The General Assembly meeting is usually held in an annual basis. The venue of this meeting is the Indiana State House situated in Indianapolis. The legislature of Indiana is of bicameral nature. Thus it consists of two legislative or parliamentary chambers or houses. These two legislative chambers or houses are the Lower house and the Upper House.

  • Lower House: The lower house of Indiana General assembly is comprised of the Indiana House of Representatives. It consists of hundred members. The members of lower house are elected for a period of two years.

  • Upper house: The Indiana senate forms the upper house of legislative branch of Indiana government. The lower house is comprised of fifty members. These members are selected for a period of four years.

Indiana Judicial Branch

The judiciary branch of Indiana government consists of the Supreme Court of Indiana and other lower courts. At the top most level of the Judiciary body, lies the Supreme Court of Indiana. The Supreme Court of Indiana is located in the capital city Indianapolis. The Supreme Court of Indiana consists of a panel of five justices. This panel of justices includes a chief justice and four other associate justices. If needed, the General Assembly of Indiana can extend the number of associate justices to about eight or nine. In case of the State’s administrative duties, the Supreme Court justices are often assisted by several commissions. These commissioners are also the part of the judicial branch. Other major courts of Indiana are the superior court, tax court, Indiana court of appeals etc. The Supreme Court will hear only the cases appealed from the lower courts. The Supreme Court has the power to overturn the decision or judgments made by the lower court.