LaSata Michigan-Indiana border bill heads to governor for final approval

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would outline Michigan’s role to formally establish — and permanently mark — the border between Michigan and Indiana was unanimously approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday.

Senate Bills 627 and 628, sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles, would establish a state commission responsible for meeting with representatives from a similar body in Indiana to make recommendations on how to proceed with the survey process — which must receive final approval from each state to move forward.

“The current borderline between Michigan and Indiana relies on survey information from the 1800s,” LaSata said. “This is the only area of the state that still does not have a clearly outlined and properly surveyed border. Borders with Ohio and Wisconsin have been revisited, so there is both precedent and a need for this project.”

While the survey is not expected to make major boundary movements, LaSata’s legislation, along with funding approved in the fiscal year 2022 budget, would fulfill Michigan’s obligations in the joint effort between both states to clearly outline and mark the borderline. Similar funding was approved in Indiana.

Unclear borderlines have left both states facing legal difficulties over the years. Things like traffic accidents and other crimes, along with property disputes that take place in areas that don’t clearly belong to one state or another make legal proceedings difficult as law enforcement and the courts are then tasked with determining which state’s laws are applicable.

State responsibilities regarding invasive species and potential land developments have also been complicated by the lack of a traceable borderline between the states.

“This is great news for Southwest Michigan and for residents of Indiana as well,” LaSata said. “Once completed, a formal survey along with updated, clearly identifiable monuments will finally establish a clear border between the two states.”

The bills will now go to the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for final consideration.