Indiana’s present constitution has been in effect since November 1, 1851, when it replaced an earlier constitution dating from 1816. Proposed amendments to the constitution must be approved by a majority of the members of each house of two consecutively elected legislatures. They must then be approved by a majority of the voters in an election.
The state’s chief executive is the governor. The governor and the lieutenant governor are jointly elected to four-year terms. The governor may not serve more than two consecutive terms. The governor appoints and can also remove the heads of almost all state departments, boards, and commissions. The governor may veto proposed legislation, although the legislature can override a veto by a majority vote of the full membership in each house. The governor may also exercise a so-called pocket veto by failing to sign a bill passed in the last two days of a legislative session. There are four other elected officials in the executive branch of the state government. The attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer are elected for four-year terms.
The state legislature, known as the General Assembly, consists of a 50-member Senate and a 100-member House of Representatives. Senators are elected for four-year terms and representatives for two-year terms. Legislative sessions must end after 61 legislative days or by April 30 in odd-numbered years and after 30 legislative days or by March 1 in even-numbered years. The governor may call special sessions.
The state’s highest court, the supreme court, consists of five judges. There is also a court of appeals composed of 12 judges. The governor appoints judges for the supreme and appeals courts from among nominees chosen by a special commission. After the judges have served for two years, they must receive the approval of the electorate in a yes or no vote in order to serve for a term of ten years. Most Indiana counties have their own circuit courts and others share a circuit court with a neighboring county.
Circuit court judges are elected for six-year terms. About one-fourth of the counties have superior courts, and a few of the more heavily populated counties have juvenile courts, probate courts, and criminal courts, all the judges of which are elected for four year terms.
There are also city courts, town courts, and a county court system. Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, has municipal courts, to which judges are appointed by the governor, and a magistrate’s court. Most of Indiana’s 92 counties are headed by a board of county commissioners.
Other elected county officials are the auditor, treasurer, recorder, clerk of the circuit court, surveyor, sheriff, coroner, and assessor, all of whom are elected for four-year terms. All incorporated Indiana cities have the mayor and council form of municipal government. Towns are governed by boards of trustees. Each township is governed by a township trustee and township advisory board. The members of the city councils, boards of trustees, and advisory boards are elected to office.
Indiana elects two U.S. senators and nine members of the House of Representatives. The state casts 11 electoral votes. Since the 1860s Republican candidates have generally prevailed in Indiana in both national and state elections. Indiana was one of only ten states to support the Republican nominee against President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, and it has been among the most solidly Republican states in subsequent decades. Republicans have also done well in races for governor and for the general assembly. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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