We have been reporting to you often on HB 1002, the long-term road funding proposal put forth by the Indiana House Majority. This plan made a huge step forward this week when it cleared the powerful House Ways & Means Committee and became eligible for a vote by all House members. This bill represents one of the most significant infrastructure bills to ever come before the Indiana General Assembly. Please read the summary below and continue to engage on this groundbreaking legislation!
- This week, HB 1002 passed out of the House Ways and Means committee by a vote of 14-9 and we believe the bill will likely be heard in the House next week.
- Aim provided testimony once again in support of HB 1002 and the variety of increased funding mechanisms for local government. The annual statewide local need is determined to be nearly $1 Billion over the next 10 years to remove all poorly rated local roads.
- House Republican leadership is working to shore up caucus support for the long term road funding package in HB 1002. We continue to strongly encourage local officials to show support for their plan and to continue to discuss the need for your community.
- Click for more.
Short Term Rentals
- HB 1133 is the “Airbnb bill” that sets a statewide framework of regulation for short term rentals in Indiana. Unfortunately, it greatly restricts local control, especially with regard to zoning.
- In its current form, a homeowner could rent their home out to a non-resident for half the year and still be considered a “short term rental” that is not subject to any of the same regulations as hotels or even bed and breakfast establishments, and municipalities would have very limited ability to regulate the practice locally.
- The bill failed for lack of a constitutional majority on Monday, but it can be brought back for another vote. The vote count is very close at this time, so please contact your legislator right away to ask them to vote no on HB 1133.
- Click for more.
- Senate Bill 381 gives county commissioners the opportunity to block any municipal annexation. The bill was authored by the Chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, and it was heard without a vote in committee this week. It likely will come back for a vote next week.
- Annexation is a tool given specifically and intentionally to municipalities to plan and account for economic growth in their communities. This legislation to give county commissioners veto authority over annexations is unnecessary and inappropriate.
- Please contact the members of the Senate Local Government Committee to explain why SB 381 is bad public policy.
- Click for more.
Redevelopment Commission Membership
- HB 1131 requires a school board member to be a voting member on redevelopment commissions.
- The school corporation would make the appointment to the RDC, taking the place of one of the executive appointments.
- The bill was heard two weeks ago and Aim testified in opposition. We expect the bill to be amended and voted upon in committee on Tuesday of next week.
- Click for more.
Public Works Materials
- HB 1226 requires local RFP’s to include a product that may not be suitable and may require local units to utilize the cheapest, though perhaps an inappropriate, product. While this may result in an initial cost savings, there may also be an increased cost over long term use, maintenance and training.
- There are situations where a product like PVC piping may be a suitable product, however, local units already have the ability to utilize this product if desired. Due to requirements from purchasing laws, local units may be restricted from utilizing products that may be more suitable for the climate, environmental conditions or for increased durability.
- This is unnecessary legislation that is being presented as increasing local options, when local units already have the ability to choose PVC for project materials. Local units all across the state are utilizing PVC products when suggested by knowledgeable professionals.
- Click for more.
Road Funding Gets Green Light from Fiscal Committee
HB 1002 Transportation Infrastructure Funding (Soliday, R-Valparaiso; T. Brown, R-Crawfordsville; Steurewald, R-Avon; Sullivan, R-Evansville)
HB 1002 was heard in the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday afternoon. This was the second time the committee took testimony on the bill. Last week’s focus last week was on the fiscal items within the bill and data to support the plan.
Prior to the testimony, Rep. Dan Forestal presented the newly released House Democrat plan to committee members. Several aspects of the plan were introduced as amendments to HB 1002 but none were accepted into the bill. One amendment was accepted into the bill which changes the timeline on the shift of the gas sales tax into the state highway fund from a four year process to a complete transition in 2018.
The committee heard testimony from several stakeholders in support of the bill which passed 14-9. HB 1002 will be eligible for second reading on the house floor next week. We anticipate Republican leadership will continue to solidify support but it is likely the bill will be passed out of the House within the next two weeks when it will then move to the Senate.
Another infrastructure bill to keep a close eye on is SB 262 Bonding for Transportation Projects (D-Tallian, R-Kenley). SB 262 creates a $500 million bonding program for infrastructure projects. One aspect of the House Democrat plan included a $500 million bonding program for local governments so this will likely be part of the road funding discussion towards the end of session.
Aim Position: Support
Legislation to Restrict Local Control over Short Term Rentals
HB 1133 Preemption of Local Bans on Short Term Rentals (Lehman, R-Berne)
HB 1133 addresses the practice of home-sharing in Indiana through online platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, etc. In addition to pre-empting locals’ ability to ban the practice, it also restricts how locals can regulate them through the use of zoning.
On Monday, HB 1133 failed for lack of a constitutional majority because it only received 49 yeas. When a bill is not decisively defeated, it can be brought back for another attempt. The author of the bill has not called the bill back again and everyone believes the vote is still very close.
He likely will call the bill back next week, and there are several legislators on the fence between voting yes or no this round. Although home-sharing may not be a prominent practice in your community yet, this bill establishes a statewide framework that significantly restricts the ability of local governments to respond according to the needs of your residents when the practice does become more commonplace.
Please contact your state representative as soon as possible to ask them to vote no on this legislation that unreasonably restricts local control.
Aim Position: Oppose
Annexation Bill on the Table in Senate Local Government Committee
SB 381 Annexation (Buck, R-Kokomo)
Senator Jim Buck introduced legislation that would give county commissioners the opportunity to have veto authority over any annexation. If the commissioners deny the annexation, the proceedings are stopped in its tracks.
The annexation process was changed dramatically as a result of SEA 330 from the 2015 session, which set a very high bar for municipalities to successfully annex. Giving county commissioners the ability to block any annexation is not only unnecessary in light of the 2015 reforms but it also fundamentally disrupts the municipality’s ability to use annexation as a tool to plan and account for growth.
Senator Buck is the Chair of the Senate Local Government Committee, and the bill was heard but not voted on in his committee this week. Aim testified in opposition and we will continue talking to committee members next week to ask them to oppose the bill if it comes back for a vote. Please contact the committee members to explain why this legislation is bad public policy.
Redevelopment Commission Membership Bill up Tuesday
HB 1131 Appointments to Local Boards and Commissions (Clere, R-New Albany; Cook, R-Cicero)
HB 1131 was heard two weeks ago in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. Aim testified in opposition. We expect the bill to come back next week on Tuesday for amendment and vote. As introduced, HB 1131 would remove one of the municipal executive’s appointments to a Redevelopment Commission in order to give that appointment to a school board member who would have voting authority. The school corporation would have the authority to appoint the member to the RDC. The current advisory school position would be abolished.
Aim believes that RDCs were designed to give city and town leaders a strong economic development tool, and replacing one of the executive’s appointments with a school board member undermines the executive’s ability to direct economic development projects that need RDC approval. Giving the school board – a separate taxing unit – appointment authority to municipal RDCs is a fundamental and inappropriate shift in how RDCs operate.
We have not yet seen a draft of the proposed amendment to the bill. We have concerns that the bill could be modified in a way that makes it even more negative for municipalities.
Aim Position: Oppose
PVC Piping Bill May get Hearing
HB 1226 Piping materials for public works projects (VanNatter, R-Kokomo; Miller, R-Elkhart; Lucas, R-Seymour)
Under HB 1226, the specifications for public works projects must provide that “all acceptable piping materials may be required for and used in the public works project.” In this bill, “acceptable piping material” is defined in such a way to include PVC piping.
Aim’s concern with HB 1226 is that a mandate to include PVC piping as an allowable product in an RFP may result in that product being required for use as the least expensive product submitted. Currently, local decision makers utilize engineers, architects and public works directors with comprehensive knowledge to select a product that may or may not be suitable for use.
This week, the Chairman of Government and Regulatory Reform brought together a group of stakeholders to discuss Rep. VanNatter’s intent as well as address concerns raised by local officials, trade professionals and other impacted stakeholders. His direction at the conclusion of the meeting was to continue to work towards allowing all products to be considered for local public works projects while not restricting local decision making. We believe local units of government already have the flexibility to make these decisions and if desired, to utilize these products when appropriate. Local units should maintain their ability to set project specifications as needed and to have the autonomy to rely on the best professional recommendations.
Aim Position: Oppose