2014 Indiana General Assembly Bill Watch List (continued)

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 13:36

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following are the good and bad bills that died halfway through the 2014 Indiana General Assembly.   

  

 

DEAD GOOD BILLS

HB 1374: Feed–In Tariff for Renewable Energy Facilities

Author: Rep. Matt Pierce (D)

Status: Died in the House Utilities and Energy Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description:  A feed in tariff would allow individuals, small businesses, and organizations to generate their own electricity, and would require the utilities to buy that electricity at a premium.  This would not only encourage the growth of renewable electricity and distributed resources, it would allow people willing to invest in these resources to recover their investments and to make a modest profit once the investment has been paid off.  This would be especially beneficial for entities that give back to the community - churches, community groups, schools, libraries, etc.

 

HB 1404: Confined Feeding Financial Ability Requirements

Author: Rep. Thomas Saunders (R)

Status: Died in the Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Provides that, after December 31, 2014, a person may not start: (1) the construction of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO); or (2) an expansion of a CAFO that would increase animal capacity or manure containment capacity, or both; without obtaining the prior approval of the department of environmental management. Requires, after December 31, 2014, a person who applies or has applied to the department of environmental management for approval of a confined feeding operation or CAFO, or for an individual water pollution control permit for a CAFO, to prove the person's financial ability to pay for closure, postclosure monitoring and maintenance, spill response, and compensation of third parties for bodily injury and property damage in the event of an accidental or intentional release from the person's confined feeding operation or CAFO. Requires the environmental rules board to adopt rules to become effective not later than January 1, 2015, concerning the financial ability requirements.

 

HB1034: Public Mass Transportation

Authors: Rep. Jerry Torr (R)Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R)Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D)Rep. Greg Porter (D)

Status: Died in the House Roads and Transportation Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Specifies that a county or city council (other than the city-county council of Marion County) may elect by ordinance to provide revenue to a public transportation corporation from the city's or the county's distributive share of county adjusted gross income taxes, county option income taxes, or county economic development income taxes. Authorizes the establishment of a metropolitan transit district by specified eligible counties through local public questions and provides for an appointed board to govern the metropolitan transit district. Provides that certain outlying townships of eligible counties may each separately determine whether to be included in the metropolitan transit district through local public questions in the outlying townships. Authorizes the metropolitan transit district to: (1) construct or acquire any public transportation facility; (2) provide public transportation service by operating public transportation facilities; and (3) issue bonds and otherwise incur indebtedness. Authorizes the Indiana finance authority to issue bonds and use the proceeds to acquire any obligations issued by a metropolitan transit district. Provides that in a county that has approved the local public question, an additional county economic development income tax (CEDIT) rate of not more than 0.3% may be imposed in that part of the county included in the metropolitan transit district to pay the county's contribution to the funding of the metropolitan transit district. Specifies that the CEDIT rate may not exceed the recommended tax.

 

HB 1310: Home and Community Based Services and CHOICE

Authors: Rep. Thomas Saunders (R)Rep. Charlie Brown (D)

Status: Died in the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the division of aging to meet specified requirements in the distribution of funds for the community and home options to institutional care for the elderly and disabled program (CHOICE) to area agencies on aging. Specifies the use of funds that are appropriated to CHOICE.

 

 

DEAD BAD BILLS

SB302: Nuclear Energy Projects (CWIP for nukes)

Author: Sen. James Merritt (R)

Status: Died in the Senate Utilities Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: CWIP allows utilities to charge us (ratepayers) for power plants while they are being built and not producing any electricity, and even if they NEVER produce any electricity.  Legislation intended to extend CWIP to nuclear power plants has been introduced at the Indiana State House every session since 2008.  Nuclear power plants, as well as new coal plants, are subject to significant cost overruns.  CWIP removes any incentive for the utility to control construction costs which is evident in Indiana with the significant cost overruns realized at Duke Energy’s Edwardsport IGCC plant.  Extending CWIP to nuclear power would be equally, if not more devastating to our wallets.

 

HB 1299: Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Wells (Hydrofracking)

Authors: Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R)Rep. Robert Morris (R)

Status: Died in the House Natural Resources Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Provides that a: (1) county ordinance may not regulate the exploration, drilling, deepening, conversion, or operation of any well for oil and gas purposes; and (2) municipality may not regulate the operation of any oil and gas well concerning hydraulic fracturing (unless the operation is regulated under a zoning ordinance); unless granted a waiver by the director of the oil and gas division of the department of natural resources.

 

HB 1159: Substitute Natural Gas (Leucadia/Indiana Gasification bill)

Author: Rep. Matthew Ubelhor (R)

Status: Died in the House Utilities and Energy Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: This bill deals with the Leucadia/Indiana Gasification coal-to-gas plant that CAC has been fighting since 2007.  In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill (SB494) which ensures that ratepayers are provided an actual guarantee of savings from this project if it is to go forward.  Also in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Leucadia's contract with the Indiana Finance Authority was invalid.  Leucadia now has to go back to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission with a new contract to be approved, and in doing so, they would have to meet the guarantee of savings passed into State law last year.   But Leucadia doesn't want to meet the guarantee of savings.  They would rather pass this bill, which allows them to circumvent the whole process and gouge ratepayers.  For more on Leucadia/Indiana Gasification, visit http://www.citact.org/node/326.

 

HB1143: Environmental Rules and Standards 

Authors: Rep. David Wolkins (R)Rep. Heath VanNatter (R)Rep. David Ober (R)

Sponsor: Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R)

Status: Died in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee

Votes:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Prohibits the environmental rules board from adopting a rule or standard that is more stringent than the corresponding regulation or standard established under federal law. Makes corresponding changes in the law concerning the adoption of environmental rules.

 

SB37: Removal of Exemptions from "Do Not Call" Law 

Author: Sen. Michael Delph (R)

Status: Died in the Senate Commerce, Economic Development, and Technology Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Removal of exemptions from "do not call" law. Removes existing exemptions from the statute governing telephone solicitations of consumers (Indiana's "do not call" list) for calls made by the following: (1) Tax exempt charitable organizations. (2) Licensed real estate brokers. (3) Licensed insurance producers and surplus lines producers. (4) Newspapers.  This bill would have impacted Citizens Action Coalition's ability to communicate with our members.
 
 

HB1191: Criminal Tresspass and Agricultural Operations (Ag Gag, Companion to SB101, which became law)

Authors: Rep. William Friend (R)Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R)Rep. Don Lehe (R)

Status: Died in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Last year, a coalition of consumers, farmers, free speech and civil liberties advocates, animal welfare activists, environmentalists and union leaders defeated Senate Bill 373, the whistleblower suppression “Ag-Gag” bill.  Unfortunately, this bad public policy has resurfaced this year. The 2014 version of Ag-Gag, would had have a similar chilling effect on the public’s right to know how our food is produced and processed.  In its original form, this bill would have made it a crime to expose illegal or unethical practices at farms in Indiana. 
 

HB1200: Legislative Purposes of Agriculture Laws (Factory Farms, Companion to SB186, which passed into law)

Authors: Rep. Don Lehe (R)Rep. James Baird (R)Rep. William Friend (R)

Status: Died in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Senate Bill 186 and House Bill 1200 are being promoted as a way to protect farmer’s rights.  In reality these bill put the interests of big farmers above those of other Hoosiers.  They are completely unnecessary and put other property owners, our environment and rural communities at risk.  Granting factory farms special protection in state law will put an end to local control, taking away to the ability of local communities to pass local ordinances that protect their interests.  No industry should have special protections in the law. Many Hoosiers who live in close proximity to factory farms are already suffering from their effects.

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