February 21, 2020
The Big Issues
MUNICIPALLY OWNED UTILITIES
- HB 1165 would prohibit municipal utilities from ever holding property owners liable for the unpaid water, gas or electric utility bills of their tenants unless the property owner specifically requests to hold the utility bill in his/her name.
- Aim opposes this bill because it hamstrings the ability of municipal utilities to recover unpaid bills and undermines existing practice in many of the utilities around the state.
- HB 1165, authored by Representative Woody Burton, passed the Senate Utilities Committee 8-3 on Thursday. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration, so we encourage you to contact your senator and ask them to oppose this bill on 3rd reading.
EMS CONTRACTS AND MEDICAL POOLS
- HB 1372 would have prevented balance billing for EMS providers who are taking patients to or from an in-network facility. This could raise costs for private EMS providers and, in turn, raise the rates paid to them by municipalities for their EMS contracts.
- HB 1372 would also have allowed new health insurance pools for schools and local governments to operate outside of the usual regulations under which existing health insurance pools, such as the Aim Medical Trust, operate.
- Aim worked with the bill authors to take these damaging parts out of the bill. On Wednesday in the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, the bill was amended to remove these provisions and then passed out 8-0.
LOCAL INCOME TAX COUNCIL
- Under current law, if a county’s local income tax is determined by a LIT council, each municipality gets votes proportional to their population. If the city or town council votes for or against a LIT change, each municipality’s vote is counted as a block.
- HB 1065 would change this so that the city or town council members’ votes count individually. If the votes are split in the council vote, the votes on the LIT council would also be split. This is designed to prevent cities with the majority of the population in a county from controlling the LIT council.
- HB 1065, authored by Representative Jeff Thompson, was heard in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday but was held for amendment next week. Senator Holdman, the chairman of that committee, announced publicly that the changes to the LIT council voting procedures would not stay in the bill as it moves forward.
- HB 1147 would allow a city or a town with a population of less than 3,500 to adopt an ordinance moving the municipal elections to an even-numbered year.
- Aim, on the recommendation of our Legislative Committee, opposes this bill because local issues should not be bundled up with national, partisan political issues during a midterm or presidential election cycle.
- HB 1147, authored by Representative Alan Morrison, passed the Senate Elections Committee 7-2 on Monday.
EXTENSION OF WATER AND SEWER MAINS
- HB 1131 requires municipally-owned utilities to follow the IURC rules for water and sewer extensions, including requiring municipalities to pay for “upsizing” mains, where the utility would have to pay the developer the difference in cost when the utility is requesting a bigger main beyond what is necessary to serve that development.
- Aim has worked to oppose and improve the underlying bill since it was first introduced as a concept last session. We continue to work on the bill and mitigate the detrimental effects this would have on municipally-owned utilities.
- HB 1131, authored by Representative Jim Pressel, passed the Senate Utilities Committee 11-0 on Thursday.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“SB 385, the Business Personal Property Tax Bill – there’s some good news there. So this is ratcheted up just a little bit over the last few years, you’ve gone from 20,000 to 40,000 to some proposed additional changes this year that makes the impact much greater for local governments. We’re hearing that it’s likely not to move forward. We’re never sure until all the deadlines pass of course. Without a true revenue replacement, I think the legislature is recognizing that local governments can’t take the hit this would cause and have put the brakes on it.”
– Matt Greller, Aim CEO
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