2017 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 8
This past week was the deadline for committee hearings for introduced bills in both the House and Senate. In addition, Thursday was the deadline in the House for 2nd reading on introduced bills. Consistent with the large number of bills having passed committees, the number of bills considered on the floors of each chamber of the General Assembly grew as well.
Senate Bill 277 passed the Senate this week by a vote of 42-7. Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) continues his work towards a healthy food pilot program for Indiana.
House Bill 1519 passed the House this week unanimously. The bill is designed to include wastewater as an eligible service to be included in infrastructure zones for the purposes of economic development as well as to extend service to unserved or underserved populations. The bill also allows water utilities to recover costs from ratepayers for the development and purchase of future water supplies. Additionally, the bill seeks a summer study committee around the issue of lead service lines in Indiana.
CAC staff primarily monitored the progress of Senate Bill 309, which was on Second Reading, meaning it could be amended before the entire Senate, on Thursday. None of the three amendments that were heard passed the Senate and the bill remains a dangerous signal to Indiana’s economic fabric.
CAC’s Executive Director Kerwin Olson was joined by solar business and community economic development leaders in a Tuesday afternoon press release which precipitated this story from AP reporter Brian Slodysko: http://wishtv.com/2017/02/26/wrong-statements-by-lawmaker-on-solar-energy-stir-backlash/
Upcoming this Week:
CAC joins the Indiana Institute for Working Families, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and many other quality of life advocates in hopes the Senate acts on bills to lift SNAP asset tests (SB154) and the lifetime SNAP ban for drug felonies (SB9).
We also join many environmental advocates in calling for the House to defeat House Bill 1494. HB1494 remains a bad policy statement, loosening even further regulations on large factory farms, commonly called Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. HB 1494 would eliminate some public notice requirements and yet removes safeguards such as IDEM permitting for construction of new CAFOs.
As we noted above, the General Assembly will finish up the first half of the session this week. The House will have until this coming Monday to address bills on 3rd reading and pass them to the Senate. The Senate's 2nd reading deadline is Monday and they will have until Tuesday to send bills to the House. The Senate will convene on Wednesday morning to introduce House bills only. When both Chambers adjourn next week it will be until Monday, March 6, 2017.
Lindsay Shipps & Kerwin Olson