2016 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 9
The final committee hearings on bills took place on Monday in the House. The balance of the week was dedicated to House and Senate floor action on 2nd and 3rd Readings. The Senate completed work on 3rd readings Tuesday and the House finished 3rd readings Thursday. A number of concurrence and dissent motions also progressed, sending a handful of bills to the Governor.
On Wednesday, the Senate honored seven members who are retiring along with Lieutenant Governor Ellspermann, who resigned her office on Wednesday. Former GOP State Chair, Eric Holcomb, nominated by Governor Pence as Ellspermann’s replacement, was approved as the new Lieutenant Governor by both chambers on Thursday. In an effort to adjourn earlier in the week next week, both the House and Senate were in session Friday, which is typically a day legislators are back home.
On Tuesday in the Senate, Senate Bill 383 received a 49-1 vote on the motion to concur with changes made in the House. As a reminder, SB 383 creates a new tracker for water utilities to use for infrastructure improvements and repairs with some important “first of its kind” accountability measures imposed on the utility.
Additionally, SB383 includes a new policy statement from the legislature, which is applicable to all public utilities, declaring that utility bills should be affordable for current and future generations. CAC offered strong support for this important policy direction from the legislature. SB383 is authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) and proceeds to the Governor for further action.
On Friday SB15, a concurrence motion to study food desert challenges, received the Senate’s support with a vote of 36-9. We look forward to being part of this critical issue as it is discussed in the future, led by Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.
We are awaiting news from the Governor as to how he’ll address House Bill 1053, which would prohibit local governments from regulating plastic bags. The Indy Star covered the issue for a second time as the bill headed to the Governor.
Upcoming Next Week
Thursday is the target date for the conclusion of the legislative session, which is a few days prior to the March 14 statutorily required end date. With Indianapolis hosting the Big 10 men's basketball tournament, hotel rooms for out of town legislators are not available, and thus, the session end date was moved up.
The remaining days of the session will be spent monitoring conference committees and watching for additional concurrence votes for remaining bills in each chamber. We expect the Dunes State Park alcohol permit bill to be heard on Monday.