2021 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 11
The eleventh week of the legislature saw a heightened pace with budget discussions and presentations occurring in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Once the committee opens the room to testimony on the budget, we are hopeful to remind the committee of the drastic need to expand Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (CHOICE) funding. For a breakdown on the funding history, reasoning and data behind our advocacy, head here.
Indiana’s “no more stringent than the federal government” policy strikes again: the House Environmental Affairs Committee met last Monday to discuss Senate Bill 271, an IDEM bill that was amended by Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) to address state (versus federal) handling of coal ash remediation. It’s important to remember that Indiana ratepayers are already saddled with the costs of remediating coal ash, but now that it’s been amended, this bill says that Indiana will implement its own program. That’s all by design to avoid a robust federal process that Indiana utilities are hoping to dodge. More on that bill from our friends at Hoosier Environmental Council here. SB 271 moved 9-4 and was recommitted to Ways and Means.
In House Utilities, Senate Bill 386 was discussed at length, with our Kerwin Olson leading the charge for amending Indiana’s first stab at securitization for utilities: “If legislators want the bill to give ratepayers savings, it must say that.” While the bill was not voted on, it will be in the next meeting of House Utilities.
We are still awaiting a hearing for Senate Bill 233 which brings Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding up to date. House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Tim Brown could schedule the hearing at any time. Amazingly, TANF hasn’t been increased since 1988. SB233 moved through the Senate 43-5.
Upcoming This Week
- House Utilities will be continuing its discussion of SB386, SB348, and SB349, all of which we anticipate will be amended.
- The House Natural Resources Committee will discuss SB373, the carbon credit bill. We are expecting amendments dealing with the Wabash Valley Resources proposed Carbon Capture and Sequestration science experiment in Vigo County. We have heard that they will seek absolute indemnity from any and all liability related to the underground storage of their toxic carbon waste.
- We are also expecting SB141, the bill that eviscerates Central Indiana transit to be heard on Wednesday, though no hearing has been announced.
- Senate Appropriations will hear Chairman Soliday’s HB1449 on Tuesday
- Senate Utilities will meet Thursday to discuss House Bill 1220, Indiana's 21st Century energy policy development task force; HB 1287, water or wastewater service for underserved areas, and HB1520, a bill loosely aimed at the vast topic of reliability. HB1520 creates additional regulatory burdens and an unfunded mandate for staffing and increased workload at the IURC.
President Pro Tempore Bray announced that the day the Senate adjourns sine is April 21, a week earlier than originally planned. No official word from Speaker Huston, but it's likely to be an early end of session. This means that deadlines are also being advanced by a week, as well:
- House Committee Deadline - April 6
- Senate Committee Deadline - April 8
- House 2nd Reading Deadline - April 8
- Senate 2nd Reading Deadline - April 12
- House 3rd Reading Deadline - April 12
- Senate 3rd Reading Deadline - April 13
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 own Indiana General Assembly Bill Watch website.
Lindsay Haake & Kerwin Olson