February 28, 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 28-18 on Thursday. It will now go back to the House for either one final vote, or it will go to conference committee. Please reach out to your state representative to urge them to vote no, and be on the look out for an action alert as we continue to try to prevent this bill from becoming law.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE
- HB 1113 includes many local government finance provisions. Notably, it allows local governments to pay back large property tax appeals over 5-10 years, depending on the size of the appeal.
- It also includes an Aim legislative initiative, requiring the adopting body for local income taxes to request the other effected units in the county to examine the effect the proposed change in the local income tax would have on their bond obligations and communicate that information back before the tax change is adopted.
- Aim has worked with the bill authors to ensure that harmful parts of the bill come out and helpful parts of the bill stay in or are improved. As this bill continues through the process, we will continue to advocate for municipalities in any fiscal policy changes. The bill passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee 13-0 on Tuesday.
EXTENSION OF WATER & 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 is opposing this bill, and we continue to ask for language that mitigates the detrimental effects this would have on municipally-owned utilities because of the added regulations on water and sewer main extensions and its potential cost shifts for new mains onto municipal utilities.
- HB 1131 is on 3rd reading in the Senate.
EMINENT DOMAIN & TENANT PROTECTION ORDINANCES
- SB 340, which originally dealt only with new procedural requirements for some eminent domain proceedings, was amended in the House Judiciary Committee to include language that preempts local ordinances governing landlord-tenant relations.
- While we were able to successfully negotiate on the eminent domain language, Aim is opposing the new landlord-tenant language that limits locals’ ability to enforce ordinances that provide greater protections to tenants facing eviction or other forms of retaliation by their landlords.
- SB 340, authored by Senator Victoria Spartz, passed the House Judiciary committee 9-2 on Tuesday. We will continue to oppose the preemption language.
- HB 1070 updates Indiana’s law prohibiting texting and driving to include a prohibition on holding or using a telecommunications device with your hands while driving.
- Aim supports this bill because it is a valuable public safety provision to help prevent distracted driving deaths in our communities.
- HB 1070, authored by Representative Holli Sullivan, passed the Senate 43-4 on Tuesday.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“I cannot stress enough as we get to the end of session, please watch for Aim emails. There will be more issues for HB 1165 that we’ll be talking to you about over the next week or so, and there may be other bills as well. Your involvement really has made a big difference with this legislative session.”
– Jennifer Simmons, Aim COO
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