2014 Indiana General Assembly Bill Watch List

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 12:32

 

 

 

 

 

  

In the 2014 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana State Legislators...

  • raised your electric rates
  • killed thousands of Hoosier jobs
  • padded the pockets of monopoly utility companies

...by killing Indiana energy efficiency programs with SB340.

 

Thank you to everybody who spoke out and contacted state legislators and the governor!

We built up a lot of momentum and showed how much support there really is for energy efficiency in Indiana.  We will use that momentum going forward to work to get energy effiency programs reinstated!

 

The following are the priority bills that CAC worked to defeat this year.  

Even though the 2014 Indiana General Assembly has come to a close, you should still contact your State Senator and State Representative about these bills.  Let them know how you feel about their votes!

 

PRIORITY UTILITY LEGISLATION

SB340: Demand Side Management Programs 

Authors: Sen. James Merritt (R)Sen. Dennis Kruse (R)Sen. Jean Leising (R)

Sponsor: Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R)Rep. Heath VanNatter (R)Rep. Richard Hamm (R), Rep. Robert Morris (R)

Status: Became law without Gov. Pence's signature

Votes:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: CAC fought long and hard to help bring energy efficiency programs to Indiana.  These programs have been running for a couple of years now, and they're working - energy efficiency is reducing the demand for electricity in our state.  This reduces the need to build more power plants, which means we don't have to pay for more power plants, which keeps our electric bills from skyrocketing.  

SB340 dismantles energy efficiency programs in Indiana.  SB340 is simply bad public policy.  

 

PRIORITY AGRICULTURE LEGISLATION

SB101: Agricultural Operations and Criminal Tresspass (Ag Gag)

Authors: Sen. Travis Holdman (R)Sen. Brent Steele (R)Sen. Richard Young (R)Sen. Dennis Kruse (R)

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R), Rep. Jud McMillin (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

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. As introduced by Senator Travis Holdman, Senate Bill 101, 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.

 

We were able to neutralize the bill's impact on consumers with the amendments that were inserted in the Senate committee, and we helped to keep bad language from creeping back into the bill as it moved through the process.  We are pleased that once again this year we helped to stop big ag's attempts to operate in secret and to preemptively prevent whistleblowers from exposing their inhumane and unsafe practices.  

 

SB186: State Policy on Agriculture and Farmers' Rights 

Authors: Sen. Carlin Yoder (R)Sen. Dennis Kruse (R)Sen. Travis Holdman (R)Sen. John Waterman (R)Sen. Brandt Hershman (R)Sen. James Banks (R)Sen. Brent Steele (R)Sen. Richard Young (D)

Sponsors: Rep. Don Lehe (R)Rep. William Friend (R)Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Senate Bill 186 is being promoted as a way to protect farmer’s rights.  In reality this bill puts the interests of big farmers above those of other Hoosiers.  It is completely unnecessary and puts 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.  Our rights need to be protected!

 

The following are more bills that CAC is actively supporting or opposing during the 2014 Indiana General Assembly.

 

MORE UTILITY LEGISLATION:

HB1162: Certificates of Need for Utilities

Authors: Rep. Steven Braun (R)Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R)Rep. Sharon Negele (R)

Sponsors: Sen. James Merritt (R), Sen. Jean Leising (R), Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Votes:

Description: The issue of competitive procurement was brought to the General Assembly in an attempt to bring fairness and transparency to the process of the electric utilities decision making process with respect to securing resources to serve the needs of their customers. Currently, Indiana law does not require the utilities to conduct a public bidding process when they need additional generation resources, whether they need new generation or are considering expensive modifications to existing resources.  A public and  transparent process would help to ensure that the utilities were in fact selecting the resource which would provide service to their customers at the “least cost” reasonably possible.  However, HB11162 was amended in the House Utility Committee to cement the existing, flawed process into law, which changes nothing and creates the false appearance that Indiana now has a “competitive” process in place.  HB1162 is nothing more than an attempt by the utility lobby to put an end to this necessary conversation and maintain the status quo.

 

HB1423: Alternative Energy Generation

Authors: Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R), Rep. Heath VanNatter (R), Rep. Kreg Battles (D), Rep. Christina Hale (D)

Sponsor: Sen. James Merritt (R), Sen. Jean Leising (R), Sen. Brandt Hershman (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description:  Allows the owner of a private generation project to sell excess electric output generated by the project to an electric utility. Provides that the electric utility may recover the purchase price through a fuel adjustment charge. Requires an electric utility to provide, upon request, back up, maintenance, and supplementary power to a private generation project.

 

SB396: Telecommunications Service

Authors: Sen. Brandt Hershman (R)Sen. John Broden (D), Sen. James Merritt (R)

Sponsors: Rep. Eric Allan Koch (R), Rep. Heath VanNatter (R), Rep. Christina Hale (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Provides a nonrefundable income tax credit for making investments in relocating telecommunication infrastructure in conjunction with a transportation project. Provides that, to receive the tax credit, a taxpayer must apply to and receive approval from the Indiana economic development corporation. Requires that the infrastructure relocation must meet the requirements of the Indiana department of transportation. Requires the taxpayer to remain the telecommunications provider of last resort in the area where the infrastructure relocation investment is made. Specifies that the credit is 50% of the investment made. Allows any excess credit to be carried over to subsequent taxable years. Removes provisions requiring physical connections to furnish telephone service between public utilities. Amends the definition of "basic telecommunications service". Limits the authority of the utility regulatory commission (commission) with respect to interconnection, resale of telecommunications service, and unbundled access to the authority delegated to the commission under federal law. Repeals a provision authorizing the commission to establish certain rates charged by incumbent local exchange carriers to payphone service providers.

 

MORE AGRICULTURE LEGISLATION:

SJR9: Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Wildlife

Authors: Sen. Brent Steele (R), Rep. Carlin Yoder (R), Sen. Dennis Kruse (R)

Sponsors: Rep. Mark Messmer (R), Rep. Heath VanNatter (R), Rep. Robert Morris (R), Rep. Terry Goodin (D)

Status: Passed the 2014 Indiana General Assembly. This is a proposed constitutional amendment, so it can now be proposed again in the next session of the legislature that convenes after a general election has taken place.

Votes:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: Provides that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of Indiana's heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. CAC's concern with this bill is that "wildlife" is not well defined, and so this bill could turn into something akin to SB186 (above).

 

CHOICE HOME CARE LEGISLATION:

HB1391: CHOICE program

Authors: Rep. Ed Clere (R), Rep. Sharon Negele (R), Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R), Rep. Charlie Brown (D)

Sponsors: Sen. Vaneta Becker (R)Sen. Douglas Eckerty (R), Sen. Jean Breaux (D)Sen. John Broden (D), Sen. Mark Stoops (D), Sen. Joseph Zakas (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Changes asset limitations within the community and home options to institutional care for the elderly and disabled program (program) from $500,000 to $250,000 and specifies certain exemptions.  This bill expands the CHOICE Home Care Program to allow more Hoosiers to have access to the in-home care services they need.  For more on the CHOICE program, click here.

 

MASS TRANSPORTATION LEGISLATION:

SB176: Central Indiana Transit

Authors: Sen. Patricia Miller (R), Sen. Brent Waltz (R), Sen. James Merritt (R)Sen. Timothy Lanane (D)

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

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Pence

Votes:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Provides for the establishment or expansion of public transportation services in an eligible county through local public questions placed on the ballot under ordinances adopted by the fiscal body of the eligible county.

 

Here are the bills CAC was watching that died this session.

 

 

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