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2018 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 9

The General Assembly saw a quickened pace of action this week with House committee deadline on Tuesday and second reading deadline on Thursday. Also on Thursday was the Senate’s committee deadline. 

The General Assembly also began consideration of concurrence motions on bills. If a bill is amended in the second chamber (e.g. introduced House bill amended by the Senate), the bill author can decide to concur with the changes made by the bill, in which case he/she files a concurrence motion. This motion is voted on by the full chamber (House, in our example) and if the motion receives a majority vote, it is sent to the Governor for his signature or veto. 

If the bill author disagrees with the changes made to the bill, he/she files a dissent motion and the bill will then be subject to the conference committee process in which differences are worked out by members of a conference committee appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President Pro-Tem. A conference committee report is then prepared and voted on by both chambers with an affirmative vote in each chamber sending the bill to the Governor for his consideration. 

You might remember the House Utilities Committee heard Senate Bill 411 and Senate Bill 362 last week. SB 411 deals with distressed water utilities. They passed the bill this week, 11-2. The bill is the mastermind of former House Utilities Chairman Eric Koch, who now sits on the Senate Utilities Committee. 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. While we don’t support SB411, we do support 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. 

House Bill 1267 passed the Senate 48-0 and is headed back to the House for a concur or dissent motion by Rep. Edmond Soliday (R-Valparaiso). 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. 

The House deadline for consideration of Senate bills on third reading is this coming Monday, while the Senate deadline for second reading on House bills is on Monday and its third reading deadline on Tuesday. Thus, we expect that both chambers will spend many hours on their respective floors with final consideration of the remaining bills. 

Upcoming This Week 

  • The Senate may vote to pass HB1080 which removes the prohibition that was placed on Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Johnson, Delaware and Madison counties from moving forward with any light rail projects. The bill is authored by Justin Moed and sponsored by Jim Merritt in the Senate. The bill is on the Second Reading calendar which means it is able to be amended. 

Respectfully Submitted,
Lindsay Shipps & Kerwin Olson

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