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2018 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 8

 

With only one more week of committee meetings remaining, calendars filled quickly this week while Committee Chairs worked to clear their schedules of bills. CAC attended meetings of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, the House Elections Committee, the House Utilities Committee, House Agriculture, Senate Environmental Affairs Committees and the Senate Utilities Committee. In addition, we monitored other committees and marked the progression of legislation we’re watching on floors of the House and Senate.

 

In the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee, a bill loosening clean water standards for construction sites suffered an unexpected and very welcome loss with a committee vote of 5-6. Read Hoosier Environmental Council’s take on House Bill 1096 here.

 

After receiving information regarding a hearing for the redistricting bill, Senate Bill 326, we prepared to attend the House Elections Committee. But the official notice of committee hearing for SB 326 never came from Chairman Milo Smith (R-Columbus).  So, we joined All IN for Democracy in a call to action, attending the meeting of the House Elections Committee to leverage some expectation to hear the bill at its last meeting. Chairman Smith addressed a hundred or so individuals after the committee hearing saying the bill wouldn’t be heard out of concern for the outcome of a pending gerrymandering case at the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Despite the fact that pending SCOTUS case has nothing to do with Indiana redistricting standards, the bill is likely dead. Read more about it here.

 

House Bill 1267, authored by Rep. Edmond Soliday (R-Valparaiso), was passed by the Senate Utilities Committee and will be on the 2nd Reading Calendar on the Senate Floor early next week. The bill will create a water task force designed to address the enormous infrastructure needs that exist in Indiana with respect to our water and wastewater infrastructure. While we are pleased that most of our concerns have been addressed, we are disappointed that the bill does not require the task force to include the issue of affordability of water and wastewater bills in its oversight.

 

Senate Bill 362 and Senate Bill 411 were heard in House Utilities. CAC supports SB362 as it will bring necessary oversight and needed support for small water and wastewater utilities who may lack the resources to make improvements to their systems.  CAC spoke in opposition to SB411 as the legislation would effectively turn the IURC into a rubber stamp when considering the acquisition of a water or wastewater utility by Indiana-American, Aqua Indiana or another large water and wastewater utility. Neither bill was not voted on, but a vote is expected this week.

 

We are yet hoping that Senate Bill 207, which would prohibit homeowners’ associations from banning solar panel technology, will be scheduled for a hearing in Rep. Greg Steuerwald’s House Judiciary Committee.

 

Upcoming This Week

  • House Bill 1267, will be on Second Reading in the Senate
  • SB362 and SB411 will be voted on in House Utilities

 

Respectfully submitted, 
Lindsay Shipps & Kerwin Olson

 

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