February 23, 2024

The Big Issues


  • HB 1328 is the annual Department of Local Government Finance agency bill which several provisions impacting cities and towns. This year, it includes language that:
    • Allows additional appropriations to be advertised the same way as budgets by uploading to the public Gateway website instead of the existing process that requires published notice in the local paper.
    • Requires all fire and EMS contracts to be uploaded to Gateway within 60 days. If the contracts are not uploaded by the time the next budget is submitted, it will not be certified. Uploading them at budget time satisfies the requirement even if the initial deadline was missed.
    • Prohibits an ordinance for public safety salaries to go into effect if the unit does not have an approved budget.
    • Adjusts language that passed in HEA 1454 from last session dealing with assessments on apartments. The new language ensures that assessors can use the trending factors and adjustments in the DLGF assessment manual to clear up issues raised by assessors on apartment assessments that could have had a large fiscal impact to some communities.
  • Aim always follows this bill closely and works with the bill author and sponsor to ensure that local government finance changes recognize the needs of cities and towns and can be implemented effectively by local fiscal officers.
  • HB 1328, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw) and sponsored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee on Tuesday, February 20 with a vote of 14-0.


  • SB 159 would repeal the law that allows municipalities to initiate annexations. Only voluntary and super voluntary annexations would be allowed starting after March 1, 2024.
  • Aim opposed this bill in the House Local Government committee this week when it was scheduled for a hearing only. The bill will not move forward this year.
  • Testimony yielded great conversations about the issues surrounding existing annexation laws and several members of the committee displayed an openness to work to improve existing annexation law instead of strictly limiting it as was proposed in SB 159. Aim will work with legislators over the interim in an effort to improve annexation policies to help cities and towns manage and respond to growth.


  • HB 1258 creates a framework for food health and safety inspections and the permitting of food trucks by local health departments. The bill also allows local health departments to charge a fee for the inspections and permits. Food trucks can only operate within the county if they have complied with these health and safety requirements.
  • This bill does not affect local ordinances that proscribe the locations, times, or events at which food trucks can operate. All of those considerations may still be governed by other local ordinances.
  • HB 1258, authored by Rep. Joanna King (R-Middlebury) and sponsored by Sen. Tyler Johnson (R-Leo), passed the Senate Health and Provider Services committee on Wednesday, February 21 with a vote of 10-0.


  • As introduced, SB 33 would have allowed township fire departments and other volunteer fire departments to petition the county for a portion of the public safety income tax expenditure rate and the county could grant them a portion of the tax.
  • In the Ways and Means committee this week, the bill was changed so that fire departments could only trigger a public hearing at the county level but the county would have to use the mechanism in HEA 1454 from the 2023 session to grant a portion of the public safety income tax to all the fire departments in the county if they felt the findings at the hearing have merit.
  • SB 33, authored by Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell) and sponsored by Rep. Hal Slager (R-Schererville) passed the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday, February 21 with a vote of 21-0.


  • As introduced, HB 1329 would prohibit a unit from being able to require septic inspections on property transfers. Language was added in the Senate Local Government committee that allows a county to require inspections on systems more than 15 years old at the time property is transferred if this is already required by an existing ordinance.
  • It also makes changes to county or city required surety bonds for contractors, making it easier for contractors to get multiple activities bonded at once and creating a new legal cause of action for contractors against local units if the bonds are not accepted.
  • Aim worked to clarify the definitions in the bonding requirements, so it does not impact performance bonds.
  • HB 1329, authored by Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) and sponsored by Sen. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville), passed the Senate Local Government committee on Thursday, February 22 with a vote of 10-0.


Listen to more about this week on the seventh episode of the Market Street to Main Street Podcast Series, Aim’s legislative episodes of the Hometown Innovations Podcast and a supplement to this e-newsletter. In this episode, Jennifer, Matt, and Jenna recap the Aim Legislative Dinner and bills we’re watching.

To listen to Market Street to Main Street, please visit The Terminal post and click the “play button” on the audio player. Or you can subscribe to Aim Hometown Innovations Podcast on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

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