2016 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 4
This is the fourth weekly report designed to inform CAC board and staff, as well as CAC members and the general public regarding our activities and work during the 2016 Indiana General Assembly.
The deadline for hearing introduced bills in committee was Thursday morning. As a result, there was a very large volume of bills that were heard as authors and committee chairs sought to beat the deadline. Consistent with the large volume of bills being voted out of committees, the number of bills considered on the floors of each chamber of the General Assembly grew as well.
CAC staff provided testimony in the Senate Environmental committee meeting regarding SB383, authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), and attended numerous other hearings due to the heightened pace. SB383 contains a positive policy statement regarding utility bill affordability. While concerns were expressed in Committee regarding the bill’s tracker for water infrastructure costs, CAC voiced tepid support for the bill due to the accountability procedures and policy statement within in the bill.
Two bills authored by Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) saw notable action: SB 1, a bill that sought to change the administrative law judicial process was reduced to a study committee topic in a much-anticipated hearing where the State Bar Association (Utility Section) sought to testify in opposition. A second measure, SJR 6, known as “Right To Farm” failed to receive a committee hearing is considered dead.
HB 1053, a bill preempting local authority concerning plastic grocery bags unfortunately passed the House 61-32 on Monday. It is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate. HB 1077, Rep. Robin Shackleford’s (D-Indianapolis) food dessert initiative passed the House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee 10-0 only to die awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Shackleford hopes to continue her bill’s work via SB15, which is awaiting a hearing in the House.
The “No-More-Stringent-Than” bill, HB 1082, narrowly passed the House Environmental Committee with 7-6 vote. It will be on second reading in the House next week.
During their only meeting during the first half of session, the House Utilities Committee heard but did not vote on HB 1377, authored by Rep. Sharon Negele, (R- Attica), regarding the competitive procurement process, a perennial topic that’s routinely discussed but not acted upon.
Lindsay Shipps, Government Affairs
Molly Madden, Intern