February 19, 2021
The Big Issues
SPECIAL USES AND PLANNING COMMISSIONS
- HB 1337 would grant the authority to authorize special uses to legislative bodies (instead of BZAs) in counties with an area plan commission. An amendment was added in committee that prevents Advisory Plan Commissions from prohibiting agricultural uses or timbering in the two-mile fringe outside corporate boundaries.
- Aim opposes HB 1337 because it will lead to increased land use conflicts, and we do not believe it is appropriate to preempt plan commissions from regulating activities like timbering and agricultural uses in areas right outside corporate boundaries that are within the plan commission’s jurisdiction.
- HB 1337 will be up for a vote before the full House next week. We continue to talk with legislators about our opposition.
- If a municipality is exercising eminent domain authority outside of their corporate boundaries (e.g. for a sewer project), HB 1527 would require the municipality to get approval from county commissioners in order to proceed. It would also add a new compensable category for business losses for these takings at the property owner’s request, and adds other procedural hurdles that make these proceedings more costly and time intensive.
- Aim opposes this bill because it adds additional time, expense, and risk to eminent domain proceedings, which are sometimes necessary for important projects that benefit the public.
- This bill is now up for a vote before the full House this upcoming week and Aim will continue to talk with legislators in an effort to defeat the bill.
- SB 369 would allow virtual meetings of local governing bodies, such as city or town councils, during times of emergency and creates a framework for governing bodies to allow electronic participation even during normal times, with certain guardrails. To use electronic meetings, a policy must be adopted locally.
- This bill is an Aim 2021 operational initiative. A special thank you to the bill’s author, Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), for working with us on this after we asked her to carry the bill. A similar bill on the House side, HB 1437 was authored by Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero).
- This week, SB 369 passed the Senate unanimously and HB 1437 passed the House with a vote of 86-7. Both of these bills will now move to the second house on their way to becoming law.
LANDLORD-TENANT ORDINANCES – VETO OVERRIDE
- Last session, the General Assembly passed SEA 148 which preempted the ability of local units to regulate many specific aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship (e.g. lease terms, the screening process, security deposits), along with a catchall phrase that preempted regulation of “any aspects” of the landlord-tenant relationship.
- Governor Holcomb vetoed this legislation citing concerns with that broad preemption language and due to concerns that it could lead to increased evictions during the early days of the pandemic.
- This week, the House voted to override the Governor’s veto 67-32. Two trailer bills (HB 1541 and SB 150) are now moving through the process to strike the catchall language prohibiting local units from regulating any aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship. Though this language is an improvement, Aim still opposes the broad preemption in the bill that has now become law with the Senate and House’s decision to override the Governor’s veto.
- HB 1164 is a bill containing a variety of telecom-related provisions, including further limitations on buried utility ordinances, cell tower height ordinances, and cell tower spacing ordinances. In addition, HB 1164 would increase the ability of telecommunications providers to access rights-of-way, limit permitting and review for the access, and cap fees that local governments can charge for pole attachment agreements.
- Aim opposes HB 1164 because it reduces the ability of local governments to regulate rights-of-way, review and permit telecommunications infrastructure, and ensure that neighborhood ordinances on small cell poles are enforceable. If you designated an area for buried utilities in 2017 as a result of the small cells legislation, your ordinance would be invalidated by this bill if there is any aboveground infrastructure other than light poles in that area.
- HB 1164, authored by Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Logansport), is on the House third reading calendar for Monday.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“We are approaching the halfway point of session with committee meetings being done. The House has their third reading deadline on Monday and the Senate will finish up their business on Tuesday. We have a handful of bills we are still working on, especially on the House side. Next will be the halfway point and we will then regroup as bills switch houses.”
– Jenna Knepper, Aim Government Affairs Manager
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