February 9, 2024
The Big Issues
- This week, the legislative session reached its halfway point. The House had its third reading deadline on Monday, February 5, and the Senate had their third reading deadline on Tuesday, February 6. These were the last days for the House and the Senate to vote on bills introduced in the House and Senate respectively. Any bill that didn’t pass is now considered dead.
- Although bills are marked dead if they fail to pass on third reading during the first half of session, any of that language that was introduced and any novel language the legislature comes up with can be amended into the bills that are moving through the second half. Aim will continue to keep our members updated on any significant changes that affect municipal government.
- The bills will now switch chambers with Senate bills being heard in the House and vice versa. This is the opportunity for Aim to provide input on bills that were amended significantly in the first half of session after public testimony ended either in committees or on second reading. There are several bills that Aim is working hard to support and several bills Aim is attempting to improve or defeat.
- Each of these bills are expected to move out of their respective chambers in the first half of session and discussion on these provisions will continue through the end of session.
AIM LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
- Every year, Aim consults with our members and comes up with legislative initiatives to improve the efficient operation of municipal government. This year, we have several provisions moving that came from our legislative initiatives:
- Public Notice Modernization: Aim has long supported modernizing public notices to allow more notices to be posted electronically and have more flexibility when dealing with local papers that are closing or reducing their issue frequency. This year, there are several bills moving that further this goal:
- HB 1204 (Rep. Jennifer Meltzer) would allow public notice on the website of a newspaper or the local unit when advertising for the disposal of real property.
- HB 1328 (Rep. Craig Snow) would allow additional appropriations to be advertised on Gateway instead of being required to be advertised in the paper.
- SB 252 (Sen. Jim Buck) changes the requirements for newspapers to qualify for posting public notices to ensure they can meet timeline requirements that work for local units.
- Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas: Last year, Aim was proud to support legislation to allow local units to enact outdoor refreshment areas for quality of place amenities in their communities. This year, HB 1197 (Rep. Ethan Manning) allows craft breweries and microbreweries to be designated permittees inside of DORAs.
- Mobile Home Regulation: Zoning language with respect to mobile homes passed in HB 1315 last year that created uncertainty about the power of municipalities to regulate mobile homes in their communities. Aim worked with Rep. Zimmerman and Rep. Miller to clarify the unsafe building law applies to mobile and manufactured homes and ensure they are subject to certain standards in language that was added to HB 1320 (Rep. Alex Zimmerman).
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE
- There are several provisions in bills impacting local government finance. As these provisions move through the second half of session, Aim will work with the bill sponsors to improve or remove concerning provisions.
- HB 1120, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) and sponsored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), increases the required AV growth to qualify for an excess levy growth appeal. This change reduces the number of units that would qualify by about half.
- HB 1121, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) and sponsored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), creates a new LIT expenditure category that goes directly to county government for acute care hospitals which, if adopted, would reduce the amount of LIT available to cities and towns.
- HB 1328, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw) and sponsored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), contains language requiring local units to upload fire and EMS contracts to Gateway within 60 days of their execution or else risk decertification of the unit’s budget.
- All three of these bills are scheduled to be heard for testimony only in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee on Tuesday, February 13.
- HB 1412 creates new standards of care for dog breeders selling dogs to pet stores but also includes language that preempts the ordinances around the state that have banned the sale of live dogs at pet stores within municipal boundaries.
- Aim opposes the portion of this bill that preempts these local ordinances because there is not a guarantee that the new standards of care will be adequately enforced using state resources. Local resources may still be necessary to enforce the requirements and many communities have already made the decision that is more cost effective and appropriate to enact the ordinances they have in place.
- HB 1412, authored by Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) and sponsored by Sen. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen), will be heard Monday, February 12 in the Senate Agriculture committee.
MOBILE INTEGRATED HEALTH
- SB 10 and SB 142 work to improve the financial sustainability of mobile integrated health programs by establishing the framework for a statewide grant program and allowing these programs to bill commercial insurance.
- Aim is supports efforts around the state to promote the ongoing health and wellbeing of their citizens through mobile integrated health programs. These programs help reduce hospital readmittance, work to keep seniors in their homes longer, and provide positive connections between them and their communities.
- SB 10, authored by Sen. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville), passed the Senate with a vote of 48-0. SB 142, authored by Sen. Brian Buchanan (R-Lebanon), passed with a vote of 49-0.
MARKET STREET TO MAIN STREET LEGISLATIVE PODCAST
Listen to more about this week on the fifth 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 and Jenna discuss the halfway point of this legislative session, several interesting bills that are no longer moving, and the upcoming Aim Legislative Dinner.
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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