The Big Issues
SMALL CELL FACILITY PERMITTING
- Last session a bill restricting home rule regarding the citing of small cell towers was passed (SEA 213-2017). The municipal response in enacting local underground utility ordinances as a means of lawfully maintaining local control was strong.
- Multiple bills (SB 258 and HB 1050) have been filed this session to further tighten the new law and close the perceived loophole. SB 258 will preempt the underground utility area designations that were included in SEA 213 while adding additional oversight by the IURC. HB 1050 will narrow the parameters of the designations to residential zoned areas.
- HB 1050, authored by Rep. Dave Ober, will be heard in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee on Wednesday, January 17. The Senate Utilities Committee will hear SB 258 on Thursday, January 18. SB 258 is authored by Sen. Mark Messmer.
- Annexation continues to be a serious topic of discussion inside the statehouse. Multiple bills (SB 261, SB 268, SB 171, HB 1023, HB 1129) regarding annexation and annexation waivers have been filed and more are expected.
- SB 261, authored by Sen. Rodric Bray, was heard this week in the Senate Local Government Committee. Aim testified that the bill’s attempt to void all existing annexation waivers constitutes impairment of contracts, and raised several other concerns regarding the bill’s restrictive language.
- SB 171, a bill from Sen. Jim Buck, will be heard in the Senate Local Government Committee on Wednesday, January 17. Aim lobbyists are working closely with Sens. Bray, Buck and other lawmakers to address their concerns without placing unworkable restrictions on municipalities.
- HB 1004 is a House leadership bill and contains several items included in Aim’s operational legislative agenda. Some key items include removing partisan restrictions for park board appointments, allowing additional reports to be filed via the DLGF’s Gateway portal, and many other provisions geared towards streamlining government operations.
- Authored by Rep. Sally Siegrist, HB 1004 will be heard in the Select Committee on Government Reduction on Tuesday, January 16.
- Aim has been working with Speaker Bosma, Chairman Gutwein and Rep. Siegrist and will continue to support the bill through the process. Include this bill when talking with lawmakers about positive steps they can make to foster more efficient city and town government.
ORDER TO REPAIR
- Often times properties purchased at tax sale lay in their current state and continue to deteriorate. Buyers of these properties are not always aware prior to purchase that they may be required to immediately make certain repairs or be held to account by local authorities.
- Aim worked with Sen. Jeff Raatz to file SB 296, the Order to Repair bill. This important bill will be heard on Thursday, January 18, in the Civil Law committee.
- The bill allows a tax sale purchaser of a vacant/abandoned home to have notice prior to purchase that necessary repairs will be required to the property.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- Sen. Michael Bohacek filed SB 10, a bill that dials back the conflict of interest law that prohibits municipal employees from serving on the councils of their employing community.
- SB 10 eliminates the conflict of interest in communities of less than 2,500 in population in an attempt to help smaller communities address problems finding enough interested and eligible people to serve on their governing bodies.
- The Aim legislative team has shared our concerns with lawmakers about this former Aim initiative.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“The week was highlighted by the governor’s State of the State address, very exciting, I think, for a lot of our members. We had an unprecedented number of municipal officials invited to attend on the governor’s behalf, which was great. The governor had a lot of good things to say, a lot of things that impacted cities and towns. We are very encouraged by what we’re seeing out of the governor’s legislative package, both in the House and the Senate.”
– Matt Greller, CEO of Aim
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