Bill to enforce ban on sanctuary cities moves to governor’s desk

A bill authored by state District 44 Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, that would enforce Indiana law prohibiting sanctuary cities in Indiana passed the House of Representatives Feb. 27.

A “sanctuary city” is a term for a local unit of government that has adopted a policy to deliberately and intentionally disregard federal law and not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Senate Enrolled Act 181 would amend existing law to authorize the Indiana attorney general to file suit against any Indiana college, university or unit of local government not enforcing current state laws banning sanctuary cities.

Koch sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 590 in 2011 to enact current law, which prohibits local governments and their employees, including police, from refusing to communicate or cooperate with federal immigration authorities to protect noncitizens who entered or remained in the U.S. without legal permission.

“A challenge was made against current statute in 2022 when the Indiana Supreme Court invalidated a prohibition against sanctuary cities on the basis of standing, which determines who can bring a case,” Koch said. “This bill would address this by amending Indiana law to give the Indiana attorney general standing to ensure municipalities, colleges and universities follow the law.”

The bill will now move to the governor’s desk for final consideration.

Koch serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Utilities, ranking member of the Senate committees on Judiciary and Commerce and Technology and as a member of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law.

Koch may be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 800-382-9467.

District 44 includes Brown, Jackson, Lawrence and Orange counties and portions of Monroe County.