2021 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 3
Despite all legislative hearings being canceled last week due to safety concerns surrounding threats to state capitols and the Presidential Inauguration, we continued our coalition work and took advantage of the week to further build our partnerships. The one item that wasn’t canceled was Governor Eric Holcomb’s State of the State Address, which took place Tuesday evening (though it was pre-recorded and didn’t occur in the House Chambers in front of all 150 legislators and guests).
Governor Holcomb focused mostly on economic and education issues, including a regional cities initiative much like former Governor Mike Pence’s. Perhaps more telling of the state’s priorities is what Governor Holcomb didn’t mention. There was no mention of the staggering increase in food insecurity, inability to pay mortgages/rent and the inability to pay utility bills. It was a missed opportunity for the Governor, who could have used the moment to announce the state would no longer allow utilities to shut off Hoosiers’ water and sewer service, electricity, gas, phone and/or broadband during a global pandemic, despite hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers currently in arrears.
We also found it curious that Governor Holcomb made mention of prioritizing policies for Hoosier seniors to age-in-place, especially when his budget is slated to decrease spending on Indiana’s CHOICE program (Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled) by almost $10 million -- $5 million each year of the biennium. More on what those cuts mean here.
More than 1,000 bills have been introduced and CAC is tracking close to 75 of them while monitoring many more issues that will appear in legislative proposals throughout the session.
The meetings that were canceled this week were mostly moved to next week.
Items upcoming this week
We will be attending the House Utilities Committee which is meeting Tuesday this week. The Committee is hearing HB1191 again, which we testified in opposition to at its initial hearing two weeks ago. As a reminder, HB 1191 is a one-way bill that merely protects the monopoly utilities' “right” to provide service and consumers and property owners “rights” to take service from the monopoly utility. They’ll also be hearing HB1287 Water or wastewater service for underserved areas, HB1385 Electric vehicle infrastructure pilot program and HB1220 21st century energy policy development task force. We will be testifying so make sure to follow us on Twitter as we routinely livetweet each committee we attend.
Save the date for Renewable Energy Day, February 5th! It’s virtual this year and you should go! Click here for more.
Kerwin Olson & Lindsay Shipps