2019 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 5
This week saw the first month of the 2019 legislative session come to a close and the day-to-day activity of the Statehouse has begun to settle into a more consistent schedule.
We attended multiple committee hearings this week, monitored many more. Despite the entire state enduring harsh, subzero temperatures, our team was at the Statehouse during the Polar Vortex, testifying on a harmful, anti-consumer measure in The House Utilities, Energy, and Telecommunications Committee. After more than an hour of testimony, the Committee passed House Bill 1470 by a vote of 9-3. HB 1470 further protects monopoly utility profits in state code, and acts as a follow up bill to a controversial 2013 bill, Senate Enrolled Act 560.
We presented testimony in opposition of Senate Bill 442 which was heard in Senate Environmental Affairs. SB442 deals with the underground storage of carbon dioxide and is related to the proposed Wabash Valley Resources project in Terre Haute. Despite many unanswered questions, SB442 was voted out of Committee by a vote of 8-3. Because of the fiscal impact of the proposed legislation, the bill was reassigned to the Senate Appropriations committee
After passing The House Utilities committee unanimously, Ed Soliday’s Water Infrastructure initiative, House Bill 1406, was recommitted to the House Ways and Means Committee due to its fiscal impact.
The House Environmental Affairs Committee passed bills from the week before including House Bill 1278, an omnibus environmental bill; House Bill 1266, sediment and erosion control in construction; and House Bill 1279, conservancy district petition.
Despite voiced concerns during its hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee, Senate Bill 193, dealing with sewer and water connections through rights-of-way, the Senate passed the bill unanimously. It now goes to the House for further consideration. Also passing the Senate unanimously was Senate Bill 4, authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso). This bill addresses Indiana’s significant needs related to our water and wastewater infrastructure. We supported this bill in Committee.
Upcoming Next Week:
The bills passed out of House Utilities and Environmental Committee will be heard before the full House this week, where they may be amended.
The House Utilities Committee will hear House Bill 1331, authored by Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis). HB 1331 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.
To follow these bills in real time, make sure you follow us on Twitter. We tweet throughout the week as to the progress of bills we mention in our reports and on our Indiana General Assembly Bill Watch website.
Kerwin Olson & Lindsay Haake