2020 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 4
Many committees endured lengthy meetings this week due to the impending Committee Deadline in the House and Senate this past week. As a result, there was a very large volume of bills that were crammed into schedules as authors and committee chairs sought to beat the deadline. Consistent with the large volume of bills being voted out of committees, the number of bills considered on the floors of each chamber of the General Assembly grew as well. For a wrap up of things that died and survived head here.
Our work on the coal bailout bill, House Bill 1414 continued. Wide opposition to this bill remains, from the National Taxpayers Union, American Conservation Coalition, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to CAC, Sierra Club, and Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. The bill was amended on the floor of the House this week, but the amendment did nothing to change the broad opposition to the bill. The Indianapolis Star continued its excellent coverage of the bill.
CAC staff provided testimony in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee meeting supporting Senate Bill 368 by Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), which studies the concept of carbon farming and carbon sequestration. We also testified in support of lead testing requirements for schools in Lake County, Senate Bill 214, by Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago). This hearing was on the heels of a damning column from the Indianapolis Star detailing heightened lead levels in Marion County Schools, both private and public. As we did in the House hearing on HB1265, we called for immediate statewide testing for lead in all schools and daycares. While SB214 spoke only to Lake County schools, House Bill 1265 moved out of the House amended to include all schools in Indiana. This is a huge win for all Hoosiers and Rep. Carolyn Jackson’s work is to be commended. Rep. Jackson featured us on her social media after the bill’s passage. We will fight for this language to immediately pass the Senate. For more on this bill see Hoosier Environmental Council’s information here.
Sad news to report: the redistricting transparency bill, Senate Bill 293, authored by John Ruckelshaus (R-Indianapolis), has died. We thank Sen. Ruckelshaus for fighting to get the bill a hearing. Democracy and transparency again died a quick death due to Sen. Greg Walker’s and Rep. Tim Wesco’s unwillingness to grant a hearings for redistricting bills in either of their committees. Thank you to the many of you who called and emailed your legislators regarding redistricting!
Good news: We updated you last week regarding Senate Bill 46, authored by Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis). SB46 would exempt religiously affiliated entities from paying storm water fees. We are concerned that this bill would degrade local units of government from managing their stormwater and create an undue environmental hardship in addition to implementing a significant cost shift to residential ratepayers. After testimony from the City of Indianapolis, The Chamber of Indiana, The Association of Indiana Municipalities, Hoosier Environmental Council, CAC and others, the bill was turned into a study committee and is on second reading in the Senate on Monday, meaning the bill may be further amended.
More good news is that Rep. Ryan Hatfield’s, (D-Evansville) House Bill 1337 which would improve reporting protocols to downstream water users of toxic chemical spills moved out of the House this week unanimously.
- On Monday, the coal bailout bill, House Bill 1414 will be on third reading. If the bill does not advance this coming Monday it will die. It is critical you call or email your state representative about this bill immediately. More info here. On social media, use the hashtag #NoCoalBailout.
Lindsay Shipps Haake & Kerwin Olson