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2020 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 5 - Halftime



The legislature reached a fever pitch this week with the House 3rd Reading deadline last Monday and the Senate 3rd Reading deadline on last Tuesday. Each chamber found themselves working through extensive calendars with hours of debate each session day. As a reminder, bills must be voted upon on these deadline days or the bill fails to advance to the opposite chamber and is considered “dead.” Many controversial bills died on the calendar, meaning they were listed on the daily calendars but weren’t called down by the bill author and received no further discussion nor a vote.


Coal Bailout

Of course, our work focused on the coal bailout bill, House Bill 1414 as it awaited deadline on Monday. Wide opposition continued and while the Indiana Energy Association is now listed as neutral on the bill, the Indiana Manufacturers Association joined us in opposition to the bill along with the National Taxpayers Union, Advanced Energy Economy, American Conservation Coalition, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club, Hoosier Environmental Council, and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. Although the bill was amended, the amendment did nothing to change the broad opposition to the bill. Despite this large coalition of opposition, the bill passed 52-41.


Water Quality

We updated you back in Week 2 on Senate Bill 229’s disappointing move out of the Senate with a vote of 32-18. SB229 is authored by Sen. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) and the bill’s language will contribute to the damage and possible destruction of wetlands by exempting drain reconstruction from the wetland rule. Indiana has lost more than 85% of its original wetlands according to the EPA and we’re deeply concerned this bill will make things worse. This bill is awaiting a committee placement in the House.



The redistricting bills are sadly dead for this year. All IN For Democracy’s legislation, Senate Bill 293, written by John Ruckelshaus (R-Indianapolis) failed to get a hearing. Read more about this and other bills that lived and died here.


Keeping Lead Out of Our Kids' Water

Eradicating lead from Hoosiers’ water has always been a priority for Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) and his Senate Bill 214, calling for mandatory lead testing of Lake County Schools, received wide support in the Senate last Monday. We are hopeful the bill will be transformed into a statewide bill much like Rep. Carolyn Jackson’s House Bill 1265 which is also awaiting committee placement in the Senate.


Upcoming Next Week

  • We are awaiting news of which committee will receive the Coal bailout bill, House Bill 1414.
  • We are also awaiting news of committee placement for House Bill 1337 which would improve reporting protocols to downstream water users of toxic chemical spills. This bill is especially critical in the Northwest Indiana Region where discharges from industry into Lake Michigan and inland waterways have been rampant. More about the issue here.


Respectfully Submitted,

Lindsay Shipps Haake & Kerwin Olson

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