January 12, 2024
The Big Issues
POLICE OFFICER REIMBURSEMENT
- SB 129 provides reimbursement to the employer of local police officers if the police officer leaves within 3 years of receiving basic training while employed by the unit. The reimbursement is based on the cost of the training, the first-year salary of the police officer, equipment costs and the cost of benefits the officer received. If the officer leaves in their first year to another department, the reimbursement is 100% of the eligible costs. If they leave in the second year, 66% of the eligible costs. If they leave in the third year, 33% of the eligible costs.
- Aim recognizes there are challenges with police officer recruitment and retention, including situations where officers move from one jurisdiction to the next. We will continue to work with the bill authors to improve the way this bill functions and ensure it is compatible with existing solutions that Aim members are already utilizing to deal with this challenge.
- SB 129, authored by Sen. Gary Byrne (R-Byrneville), passed the Senate Local Government committee on Thursday, January 11, with a vote of 10-0.
PROPERTY TAXES AND LOCAL INCOME TAXES
- HB 1120 extends the 3% cap on the growth of school referendum levies, adjusts the thresholds for the veteran’s property tax deduction, and provides a technical fix for last year’s bill on public safety costs being payable through TIF. HB 1121 extends the provision that breaks up the LIT council votes of large cities that control the entire LIT council for one additional year.
- Aim is monitoring both of these bills because they could be homes for additional property tax or local income tax provisions that significantly impact cities and towns.
- HB 1120 and HB 1121, both authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), were heard in the House Ways and Means committee during the first week of session and were held for future amendments and a vote at a later meeting.
- SB 155 creates a new compensation category for takings through eminent domain that reimburses ongoing business losses, called “going concern,” if a condemnation results in long-term losses to a business. This applies to the use of eminent domain by government, including the state government through INDOT, as well as by utilities both investor-owned and municipal.
- Aim opposes SB 155 because it would increase the cost of eminent domain when it is necessary, and this will increase the total taxpayer burden of large economic development, road, or utility projects to taxpayers or ratepayers. Eminent domain is a tool of last resort and already has robust procedural and compensatory frameworks to protect property owners.
- SB 155, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), is assigned to Senate Local Government and could be heard next Thursday, January 18.
- 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 opposes this bill because it would limit municipalities’ ability to grow and develop through their own planning process. It would also limit municipalities’ ability to annex non-contiguous areas, even those that want to become part of the municipality, because the statutes that allow non-contiguous annexation are tied to municipal initiation of the annexation.
- SB 159, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), is assigned to Senate Local Government, and could be heard Thursday, January 18.
LEAD SERVICE LINES
- SB 5 allows utilities participating in the state’s lead service line replacement program, including the eligible municipal utilities, to require customers to replace unhealthy lead service lines on their property either through the utility’s program or through their own contractors. It also gives utilities remedies if the customers are not willing to participate in the program, including disconnecting services.
- Aim supports this bill because it gives our member utilities more tools to improve the health and safety of their communities and water systems and will serve to reduce costly delays and disputes with customers on needed utility projects.
- SB 5, authored by Sen. Eric Koch, passed the Senate Utilities committee on Thursday, January 11, with a vote of 10-0.
MARKET STREET TO MAIN STREET LEGISLATIVE PODCAST
Today we’re introducing the Market Street to Main Street Podcast Series, Aim’s legislative episodes of the Hometown Innovations Podcast and a supplement to this e-newsletter. During the legislative session, this weekly podcast series will offer a rundown of what happened at the Statehouse, and important legislative action and issues our members need to know about. You’ll hear Aim’s expectations for the upcoming week and the team’s strategy for addressing critical legislation.
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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