2022 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 8
This past week was the last week of committee meetings, so Committee Chairs worked to clear their schedules of bills. Some bills moved, some bills did not. CAC attended meetings of the Senate and House Utilities Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Natural Resources Committee. We also marked the progression of legislation we’re watching on floors of the House and Senate.
In the Senate, House Bill 1209 barely passed the Appropriations Committee last week, with a vote of 7-5—with Chairman Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) voting no. This signals that Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is indeed troubling for the Statehouse. Combined with the House’s failure to pass SB265 by a vote of 43-53 and you’ve got a recipe for legislative uncertainty. While these two bills have vast differences—HB1209 provides regulatory framework for CCS and addresses related issues such as pore space ownership, mineral rights, and long-term liability while the now failed SB265 would have given a company in West Terre Haute (Wabash Valley Resources) near blanket immunity from liability and the right to condemn private property with no notification or compensation to the property owner—recent failures while attempting Carbon Sequestration have been widely documented, with pipeline ruptures causing evacuations and widespread sickness that first responders likened to The Walking Dead. The fight on this issue is not over by any means. Make sure legislators continue to reject these bills by contacting them here.
Also in Senate Committee last week, we, and a number of colleagues led by the Hoosier Environmental Council, were joined by staff from the Governor’s office and a slew of agency liaisons to oppose HB1100, which would dramatically shift the way agencies conduct their rulemaking process by shortening timelines and prohibit emergency rulemaking. We were prepared to testify on the bill but the Chair of the committee pulled it when he learned of the wealth of opposition. This is a big victory, but a tempered one, as we know all too well that legislation like this can appear without any notice during the conference committee process.
A bill designed to increase investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, HB1221, passed the Senate on Monday by a vote of 33-13. The legislation will allow convenience stores, gas stations, and other entities to install EV chargers for public use and will authorize the electric utilities to apply at the IURC for approval of EV charging pilot programs. The bill was highlighted by both WISHTV and Indiana Public Media.
Speaking of legislation that popped up without any notice—efforts to stall Indianapolis’ effort to expand bus rapid transit (BRT) appeared again in House Ways and Means Committee last week as a nongermane amendment to an education bill. We were in the hallway with a number of transit advocates, prepared to testify in opposition to the removal of dedicated lane use for IndyGo. After all, dedicated lanes are exactly the point of rapid transit—they are designed to move passengers quickly, improve transit headways and overall traffic flow—all items which contribute to quality of life and place. About 30 minutes into the amendment, Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) moved to table the issue and succeeded in scuttling the amendment. A similar amendment was prepared to an education bill in the Senate Education Committee, which would have prevented Indianapolis Public Schools from utilizing IndyGo service for students. While these amendments didn’t move out of committee, we are expecting them to reappear this coming week during Second Readings, when legislators may amend any bill during floor debate.
House Bill 1196, which aims to lessen solar homeowners’ red tape to gain approval for their solar panels passed the Senate this week, after a whopping six years of work by Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), Sen. Linda Rogers (R-South Bend) and solar advocates Laura Arnold and Joey Myles. The bill is expected to move on to the Governor, after Rep. Speedy concurs on changes made to the bill in the Senate.
After failing to receive a hearing in the House, Senate Bill 352, the bill to exempt payday lenders from existing loansharking laws is dead. We are part of the Hoosiers for Responsible Lending coalition, which opposed the bill and worked to advanced consumer friendly loan caps of 36%. Although Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) and Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) carried the legislation, neither bill received a hearing.
Upcoming This Week:
- HB1209 will be on 2nd reading in the Senate, where it may be amended, as early as Monday.
- SB271, which allows utilities to charge ratepayers for untested nuclear technology, is almost on its way to the Governor’s office. Take action now, to make sure the Governor hears from you.
Procedural note: If a bill does not advance past third reading deadline—Monday in the House and Tuesday in the Senate—the bill will die. Though the bill may die, the legislative language may be revived in another piece of legislation that is still alive and moving.
Lindsay Shipps Haake & Kerwin Olson