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2018 Energy & Utility Bill Watch List

 

HB1267: Water infrastructure task force 

Authors:  Rep. Ed Soliday (R)Rep. Tim Brown (R)Rep. David Ober (R)Rep. Carey Hamilton (D)

Sponsors:  Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R)Sen. Jim Merritt (R), Sen. Eric Koch (R), Sen. Susan Glick (R), Sen. Mark Stoops (D), Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Establishes a water infrastructure task force consisting of 15 members, including five ex officio members, two members of the senate, two members of the house of representatives, and six members appointed by the governor based on recommendations from certain organizations. Requires the task force to comply with the open meetings and public records laws.  The purpose of the task force is to study Indiana’s drinking water systems, wastewater management systems, and storm water management systems.  This bill charges the task force with the responsibility of developing a long term plan for addressing drinking water, wastewater, and storm water management needs in Indiana. Requires the task force to submit a report containing certain recommendations to the general assembly and the governor not later than December 1, 2018.

 

SB361: Water infrastructure task force

Authors:  Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R)Sen. Doug Eckerty (R)Sen. Jim Merritt (R)Sen. Erin Houchin (R)Sen. Susan Glick (R)Sen. Blake Doriot (R)Sen. Karen Tallian (D)Sen. Eddie Melton (D)Sen. Mark Stoops (D)Sen. David Niezgodski (D)

Sponsors:  Rep. Ed Soliday (R)Rep. David Ober (R), Rep. Steve Stemler (D)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: SB361 establishes a water infrastructure task force consisting of two members of the senate, two members of the house of representatives, and five governor's appointees, one of whom the governor shall appoint to serve as chair of the task force. Requires the task force to study drinking water systems and wastewater management systems and to develop a long term plan for addressing drinking water and wastewater needs in Indiana. Requires the task force to submit a report containing certain recommendations to the general assembly and the governor not later than December 1, 2018.

 

SB362: Regulation of water and wastewater systems

Authors: Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R)Sen. Doug Eckerty (R)Sen. Jim Merritt (R)Sen. Susan Glick (R)Sen. Greg Walker (R)Sen. Karen Tallian (D)Sen. Eddie Melton (D)Sen. David Niezgodski (D)Sen. Mark Stoops (D), Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D) 

Sponsor: Rep. David Ober (R), Rep. Steve Stemler (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.

Votes & Actions: 

Position: CAC is neutral about this bill

Description: Provides that a public utility, conservancy district, or regional water or sewage district that is organized as a legal entity after June 30, 2018, to provide water or wastewater service to the public is subject to the jurisdiction of the Indiana utility regulatory commission for the period of 10 years beginning on the day on which it is organized as a legal entity.

 

SB207: Homeowners associations and solar power

Authors:  Sen. Aaron Freeman (R), Sen. Jack Sandlin (R), Sen. Mike Bohacek (R), Sen. Ron Alting (R), Sen. Tim Lanane (D)

Sponsors:  Rep. Woody Burton (R), Rep. Mike Speedy (R), Rep. Ronald Bacon (R)

Status: Died in the House Judiciary Committee.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: SB 207 sets solar-friendly guidelines in place for Homeowners Associations in crafting their covenants. It restricts HOAs from prohibiting residents from installing solar panels. The bill is not retroactive, meaning it does not affect existing HOA covenants. 

 

SB411: Distressed Utilities

Authors: Sen. Eric Koch (R), Sen. Jim Merritt (R)

Sponsor: Rep. Heath VanNatter (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: The bill attempts to undercut the regulatory process in any case involving the acquisition of a distressed water or wastewater utility which is placed before the Commission for approval. The bill would not only eliminate the ability of interested stakeholders to challenge, or even review, the sale price of the distressed utility. It would effectively turn the Commission into a rubber stamp, forcing the Commission to accept the sale price, no questions asked. This is a bridge too far which would make the Commission proceedings little more than a ministerial process, and remove any and all ability or authority the Commission may have in protecting consumers during these acquisition proceedings. 

 

HB1065: High speed internet service

Authors:  Rep. David Ober (R), Rep. Sharon Negele (R), Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D), Rep. Scott Pelath (D)

Sponsors: Sen. Erin Houchin (R), Sen. Eric Koch (R), Sen. Jim Merritt (R), Sen. Jean Leising (R), Sen. Brian Buchanan (R), Sen. Mark Messmer (R), Sen. Mike Bohacek (R), Sen. Susan Glick (R), Sen. John Crane (R)Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Holcomb.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Changes the minimum speed thresholds to be considered broadband services to at least 25 megabits per second downstream and at least three megabits upstream. The speed thresholds in current law are outdated and reflect speeds when dial-up was the primary service. Directs the IURC to study various issues related to broadband, including expanding and improving access.

 

SB356: Broadband grants for unserved areas

Authors:  Sen. Erin Houchin (R), Sen. Eric Koch (R), Sen. Mike Delph (R), Sen. Jean Leising (R), Sen. Mark Messmer (R), Sen. Jim Tomes (R), Sen. Dennis Kruse (R), Sen. Susan Glick (R), Sen. Travis Holdman (R)Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D), Sen. Greg Taylor (D) 

Sponsors: Rep. Sharon Negele (R), Rep. David Ober (R)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

Votes & Actions:

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Defines "qualified broadband service" as a connection to the Internet at an average speed of at least ten megabits per second downstream and at least one megabit per second upstream, regardless of the technology used. The speed thresholds in current law are outdated and reflect speeds when dial-up was the primary service. Defines an "unserved area" as a geographic area in Indiana in which there is not at least one provider of broadband service at the designated speeds. Authorizes the Office of Community and Rural Affairs to provide grants to unserved areas in order to provide access to broadband internet service.

 

HB1069: Distributed Generation

Authors: Rep. David Ober (R)Rep. Ronald Bacon (R)Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D),  Rep. Carey Hamilton (D)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

Votes & Actions: 

  • 1/17/18: SB1069 was discussed in committee, but no vote was taken

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Extends the amount of time that a school or a municipality can install renewable generation and utilitize the net metering tariff before it is removed from Indiana law per SEA309 (2017).

 

HB1338: Wind farm siting and conflicts of interest

Authors:  Rep. David Ober (R)Rep. Chris Judy (R)

Status: Died in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

Votes & Actions:

  • 1/17/18: HB1338 was discussed in committee, but no vote was taken

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Description: This bill originally sought an arbitrary and unfair statewide restrictive ordinance to limit wind-turbines from certain properties. That language was struck from the bill in committee, but it still retains some rather idiosyncratic language that clumsily attempts to police the conduct of local officials despite applicable ethics laws already in Indiana State Code. We applaud House Utilities Chairman Dave Ober for choosing to shelve this bill from further action. We will continue to monitor the Statehouse in order to shield Indiana from codifying public policy based on junk science and impetuous exclusionary zoning.

 

 

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Updated on 5/11/18

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