Citizen Power Newsletter - February 2020
The 2020 Indiana General Assembly is now in session, and once again, Hoosiers’ heads are turning to the 150 Indiana state legislators who make decisions affecting our everyday lives. This year is a "short" session, meaning it is not a budget year and the legislature will adjourn in March instead of April.
As with every session of the Indiana General Assembly, CAC continues to work tirelessly to aid Indiana's transition away from coal and toward renewable energy. However, this session the coal interests are hitting the Indiana Statehouse hard, and have a terrible bill - HB1414 - that obstructs Indiana’s electric utilities’ ability to retire their dirty, expensive, and outdated coal-fired power plants.
It is designed to keep Indiana in the dark ages by delaying and obstructing our transition to clean energy. It is a deliberate attempt by the coal interests to convince Indiana lawmakers to use the heavy hand of government to interfere with the markets and protect Indiana’s fleet of coal-fired power plants. The effort is being led by Alliance Coal, Hallador Energy, and White Stallion Energy, who have been aggressively peddling their influence and money at the Indiana Statehouse.
HB1414 has been passed by the Indiana House of Representatives and is now being considered in the Senate. Click here to email your state legislators and tell them to REJECT about this awful bill!
CAC is committed to reforming the redistricting process in an effort to ensure fair and transparent elections and a functioning democracy where voters choose their politicians, not the other way around. We thought we had a real shot to get redistricting standards passed this session, but sadly, the 2020 Indiana General Assembly turned their back on Hoosiers by refusing to act on redistricting reform legislation this session.
Despite receiving a multitude of phone calls and emails from Hoosiers across Indiana, Sen. Walker (Chair of the Senate Elections Committee) refused to hear any of the redistricting reform bills in his committee, and Rep. Wesco (Chair of the House Elections Committee) ignored similar bills in his committee. This was particularly frustrating because this was the last chance we had to reform the redistricting process before the Indiana General Assembly draws the new district maps in 2021.
WATER QUALITY LEGISLATION
Lead in Drinking Water
House Bill 1265 would require that the water in every child care facility and school be tested for lead. This is in relation to the very real problem of lead in our drinking water in Indiana, particularly in older school buildings where lead can get in the water from old pipes and fixtures. The bill originally only applied to Lake County, but after a column entitled "High lead levels were found in our school water — but not where you would think" was published in the Indy Star on 1/26/20, HB1265 was amended to apply to the entire state. HB1265 has passed out of the House with overwhelming support, and is now awaiting action in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee.
Also addressing lead in our drinking water is Senate Bill 254, which is designed to extend the authority to replace customer-owned lead service lines to municipal and non-profit utilities, which we strongly support.
Notification of toxic spills
House Bill 1337 would require that water utilities and water treatment plants receive notification in the event of a spill or release of any toxic substance that would threaten water quality and/or the operation of a water utility or water treatment plant. This is in response to the latest release of toxic chemicals into Lake Michigan by Arcelor-Mittal. This toxic spill happened in August 2019, and was not reported to the public until three days after the spill occurred. Lake Michigan is the source of drinking water for 7 million people.