|Pro-Consumer Voting Percentage||0%||44%||50%||0%||18%|
Campaign Contributions from Utility,
Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations
2010 Campaign Contributions accepted from Utility, Coal, Oil and Railroad Corporations: $4,750
Pro-Consumer Percentage: 80%
The following is a synopsis of how the Senator voted in the 2011 General Assembly on the bills that CAC was tracking. We consider that 80% is a passing grade for the legislators, meaning that if their "Pro-Consumer Voting Percentage" is 80% or above, they are working to protect consumers in the State House. If their percentage is below 80%, they are not working to protect consumers.
SB 251: This bill was the mother lode for the utilities this year. It does the following:
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 251: 4 votes - all Anti-Consumer
HB 1128: This bill was essentially the same as SB 251, except that it did not include the eminent domain.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 1128: 2 votes - both Anti-Consumer
SB 71: This bill will essentially open the State of Indiana to hydrofracking (hydraulic fracturing) coal seams for the purpose of extracting coal bed methane, with no requirement that the operators of these wells comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act or even allow the public to comment on the permits or know the location of where these operations will take place.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 71: 3 votes - all Anti-Consumer
SB 66: This bill amends the definition of "renewable energy resources" in utilities law to add low temperature, oxygen starved gasification of municipal solid waste (burning trash to make electricity).
Sen. Lawson'sVote on SB 66: 2 votes - both Anti-Consumer
SB 72: This bill was the first bill of the session to give eminent domain to private corporations for carbon dioxide pipelines. This bill was killed, but the eminent domain provision was inserted into SB 251, which passed.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 72: Anti-Consumer
2008 Campaign Contributions accepted from Utility, Coal, Oil and Railroad Corporations: $7,600
Pro-Consumer Percentage: 50%
The following is a synopsis of how the Senator voted in the 2010 General Assembly on the bills that CAC was tracking. We consider that 80% is a passing grade for the legislators, meaning that if their “Pro-Consumer Voting Percentage” is 80% or above, they are working to protect consumers in the State House. If their percentage is below 80%, they are not working to protect consumers.
SB 115: Eminent Domain For Carbon Dioxide Pipelines
Authored by Sen. Beverly Gard (R, Greenfield) SB 115 permits an entity engaged in the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline to acquire real property by eminent domain. That entity can be a person, a firm, a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation. The bill wrongly declares that "the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline in Indiana is declared to be a public use and service, in the public interest, and a benefit to the welfare of Indiana and the people of Indiana."
Sen. Lawson’s Vote on SB 115: Anti-Consumer
SB 313: Net Metering
SB 313 would expand eligible net metering customer classes to allow individuals, businesses, commercial industries, and universities to interconnect to the grid and generate their own power. SB 313 would not set a limit on the size of the system a customer could install, unless you are a residential customer or K-12 schools, in which case you remain captive to the current rule. This bill encourages renewable energy production, energy independence, and customer owned generation.
Sen. Lawson’s Vote on SB 313: Pro-Consumer
2008 Campaign Contributions accepted from Utility, Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations: $7,600
Pro-Consumer Percentage: 44%
The following is a synopsis of how the Senator voted in the 2009 General Assembly on the bills that CAC was tracking. We consider that 80% is a passing grade for the legislators, meaning that if their “Pro-Consumer Voting Percentage” is 80% or above, they are working to protect consumers in the State House. If their percentage is below 80%, they are not working to protect consumers.
HB 1348: Energy conservation codes and standards
Status: Vetoed by the Governor
Authored by Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D, South Bend), and joined by co-authors Rep. Pierce and Rep. Bill Ruppel (R, N. Manchester), requires the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to adopt the most recent edition of the (1) International Energy Conservation Code as published by the International Code Council; or (2) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, or Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 90.1; for commercial structures before July 1, 2010.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on HB 1348: Pro-Consumer
HB 1360: Alternative energy incentives for REMCs
Status: Died in the Senate
Originally, HB 1360 intended to create an alternative energy fund for the REMCs. After the bill moved out of the House, it was assigned to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee and became a vehicle for Sen. Hershman to do the bidding of the utilities. The bill moved out of committee by a vote of 10-1. However, when the bill was scheduled for 2nd reading on the Senate floor, 15 amendments were offered, most of which were offered by CAC and AT&T. The amendments muddied the waters so much, that the bill was not called down and died.
Sen. Lawson's Votes on HB 1360: 2 votes, both Anti-Consumer
HB 1669: Geothermal conversion loans
Status: Effective 7-1-09
HB 1669 establishes the Geothermal Conversion Revolving Fund for the purpose of making loans to school corporations that: (1) install a geothermal heating and cooling system in a new facility; or (2) install a geothermal heating and cooling system that replaces a conventional heating and cooling system.
Sen. Lawson's Votes on HB 1669: 2 votes, both Pro-Consumer
SB 201: State energy policy (The Utility Tracker Christmas Tree)
Status: Died in the House Utilities Committee
SB 201 was written by Gov. Daniels office. It was authored by Sen. Gard, Sen. Stutzman, and Sen. Merritt and contained the eminent domain language and open-ended tracking provisions for “green” energy development. It was heard in the Senate Utility Committee. The only opposition to the bill was offered by CAC and INDIEC, the advocacy group for industrial ratepayers. SB 201 was voted out of committee unanimously 11-0. It then moved out of the full Senate on 3rd reading 50-0. The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Moses, Rep. Murphy, and Rep. Grubb. Rep. Moses elected not to give the bill a hearing, however, the language from the bill found its way into the Senate versions of HB 1360 and SB 420.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 201: Anti-Consumer
SB 300: Net Metering
Status: Died in Conference Committee
SB 300 expanded Indiana’s net metering rule to allow a customer of an investor owned utility to connect to the grid a renewable energy system with a capacity of 100 kW or less, up from the current law of only 10 kW. Current law also limits the program to residential and K-12 schools only. SB 300 would have expanded the program to all customer classes. Net metering is currently an administrative rule of the IURC; SB 300 would have codified net metering and put it into statute. The bill was written by the Indiana Energy Association, or the investor owned utilities.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 300: Pro-Consumer
SB 420: Renewable energy (Redefining “renewable energy” & Opening Indiana’s Door to Nuclear Power)
Status: Died in Conference Committee
This bill redefined “renewable energy” to include coal, amended Indiana’s terrible CWIP (construction work in progress) laws to include nuclear power plants (allowing the utilities to charge ratepayers for a nuclear power plant as it is being constructed, before it produces any electricity), and added trackers for the cost recovery of fees associated with siting, design, licensing, and permitting of the new generation facility even if the new facility is never built or placed in service.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 420: Anti-Consumer
SB 423: Substitute natural gas contracts
Status: Signed into law by Governor Daniels on 3-24-09
SB 423 permits the Indiana Finance Authority to enter into contracts for the purchase and sale of substitute natural gas (SNG) from coal gasification facilities to regulated energy utilities for delivery to retail end use customers. It also requires the authority to establish the Substitute Natural Gas Account to provide funding for SNG related business.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 423: Anti-Consumer
2006 Campaign Contributions accepted from Utility, Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations: $1,600
Pro-Consumer Percentage: 0%
The following is a synopsis of how the Senator voted in the 2008 General Assembly on the bills that CAC was tracking. We consider that 80% is a passing grade for the legislators, meaning that if their “Pro-Consumer Voting Percentage” is 80% or above, they are working to protect consumers in the State House. If their percentage is below 80%, they are not working to protect consumers.
SB 224: Various Utility Matters (Utility Wish List Legislation)
Authored by Senator Brandt Hershman (R, Monticello), and joined by co-authors Senators Ryan Mishler (R, Bremen), Dennis Kruse (R, Auburn) and Jean Breaux (D, Indianapolis), SB 224 contained a pseudo-RES – renewable energy resources were defined to include largely non-polluting, renewable sources of energy (other than energy from burning tires, garbage and other waste in waste-to-energy facilities). However, of the 6% standard to be achieved by the year 2020, 50% of it could be met using “advanced energy resources”, a new term that nevertheless included old, non-renewable resources such as waste coal (extremely high in mercury content) and “clean” coal (that, while capable of reducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and other toxic air emissions, would add to Indiana’s disproportionate contribution to greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming), and that could encompass nuclear power.
SB 224 also included two pro-utility trackers that would have weakened the utility regulatory process by requiring the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to approve investments regardless of whether they are just, reasonable and in the public interest. These tracker provisions could result in significant and unjustified increases in electricity rates.
Sen. Lawson's Votes on SB 224: 2 votes - both Anti-Consumer
SB 223 & HB 1117: Coal Gasification and Substitute Natural Gas
Status of SB 223: Signed into law by the Governor.
Status of HB 1117: Dead
SB 223 was authored by Senator Brandt Hershman (R, Monticello), with Senator Ryan Mishler (R, Bremen) as a second author and Senators Karen Tallian (D, Portage), John Waterman (R, Shelburn), and Dennis Kruse (R, Auburn) as co-authors. HB 1117 was authored by Representative Russell Stilwell (D, Boonville), with co-authors Reps. Eric Koch (R, Bedford), Kreg Battles (D, Vincennes), and Jack Lutz, (R, Anderson).
These bills contained identical language that allow an out-of-state venture capitalist firm (Leucadia) that seeks to build a coal gasification plant in Southern Indiana to assign tax credits to coal and substitute natural gas producers outside of Indiana. CAC opposed last year’s legislation, which paved the way for construction of this coal plant, as it locked natural gas suppliers, and hence ratepayers, into 30 year contracts for the substitute natural gas, whatever the price, that neither the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission or other governmental entity could subsequently change or even review. CAC raised concerns that it would also spew millions of new tons of CO2 into Indiana’s atmosphere each year.
Promises made last year to garner support for the coal plant – that it would use Indiana coal and produce substitute natural gas in Indiana – were removed in SB 223 in a classic “bait & switch” scheme designed to secure financing regardless of the negative impact to Indiana ratepayers or the economic best interests of the state.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on SB 223: Anti-Consumer
Sen. Lawson's Vote on HB 1117: Anti-Consumer
HB 1280: Green Building Standards
Status: Passed to a Summer Study Committee
Authored by Rep. Matt Pierce (D, Bloomington), and joined by co-authors Terri Austin (D, Anderson) and Greg Porter (D, Indianapolis), as introduced HB 1280 would have required large, state, educational, and local public works building projects (other than public schools) – those that are newly constructed, as well as those subject to repair or alteration – to be designed with the goal of achieving the silver rating under the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the Green Globes Two Globes level or an equivalent rating system accredited by the American National Standards Institute. These systems rate buildings based on the sustainability of the site, the materials and other resources, water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.
Sen. Lawson's Vote on HB 1280: Anti-Consumer
These are the issues of immediate importance we are working on right now.