The Big Issues
- Crawfordsville Senator Phil Boots’ anti-annexation bill, SB 94, includes several damaging provisions aimed at curbing what little annexation authority remains, including voiding annexation waivers, and adding some significantly onerous petition language requiring signatures from no less than 51% of property owners in the annexed territory – 75% of which must not be exempt from property taxes.
- Despite Aim’s continued warnings that the legislation is a solution in search of a problem since the issue was effectively addressed in previous sessions, the bill continues to move through the process. On January 24 the bill cleared the Senate Local Government committee and moves to the full Senate.
- Your help is urgently needed to defeat this bill. Contact your legislators in the coming days and urge them to vote no on SB 94!
- Several other annexation bills, or language on annexation, have been introduced this session. Aim is monitoring SB 556, HB 1389, HB 1403, and HB 1427.
- Rep. Tony Cook of Cicero has a bill forcing local redevelopment commissions to convert their current school board member from a non-voting to a voting member. The bill was heard in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee this week.
- According to Rep. Cook, he also intended the introduced version of HB 1166 to facilitate the appointment of the executive as a tie-breaking vote. However, the bill does not add a sixth member, leaving the number of RDC appointments at five. Aim opposes the bill and testified to this fact during the committee hearing.
- Redevelopment Commissions are an economic development arm of independently elected bodies who are held accountable to their constituents for their performance. It is inconceivable that a member of the school board will be viewed as accountable by municipal constituents for the RDC’s economic development decisions. Further, their lens while sitting on this board will not be to view decisions based upon the global best interests of a community, which is the charge of city and town leaders.
- There are two broadband bills aimed at getting broadband service to more Hoosiers – SB 461 authored by Sen. Messmer, and SB 526 by Sen. Houchin.
- Both of these bills will work to address the definitions of “underserved area” and “qualified broadband project.” They also attempt to address the awarding of broadband funds from a specific state agency, as well as determine which entities are eligible to receive state funds to address rural broadband issues. While each bill takes a different approach, the conversation is important and it is clear a Senate bill will serve as the vehicle for this session’s broadband discussion.
- Aim looks forward to the discussion and will support a final bill that helps close the gap between those served with adequate broadband (3 upload/25 download) and those who are not. We also support legislation that will position Indiana as a top tier candidate to receive Federal funds for broadband expansion.
- Rep. Doug Miller of Elkhart is pursuing HB 1266, a bill that seeks to mandate that local stormwater regulations cannot be more stringent than related regulations adopted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
- Further, the bill gives locals only 48 hours to either approve or deny a stormwater permit – an unbelievably significant decrease from today’s 28 day allowance. Should a municipality fail to respond in 48 hours, the permit is considered approved and no stop work orders can be issued for any violations that could have been identified during the permit review process.
- Aim is working with Rep. Miller and the Indiana Builders Association in hopes a compromise can be reached.
RENTAL PROPERTY UTILITY BILLING
- A bill filed by Greenwood Rep. Woody Burton will prevent locals from being able to hold landlords responsible for their tenants’ unpaid municipal utility bills.
- HB 1347 prevents a local unit from placing a lien on the property for unpaid water service and prevents the utility from requiring the property owner to pay for any unpaid water, gas or electric service provided. The second portion of the bill establishes a policy review committee to receive and review customer complaints that will allow the Attorney General’s office to provide mediation in unresolved disputes.
- Aim opposes this bill as it takes away local decision making authority and forces other rate payers to assume the burden for landlords who do not want to be responsible for their property.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Really (House Bill 1166) when you get into the language removes an executive appointment from the Redevelopment Commission and replaces that executive appointment with a school board, or a school corporation, voting member on the Redevelopment Commission. We think this reverses course on compromised language that we had last year about a requirement for Redevelopment Commissions to publicly meet with the underlying taxing units in the TIF areas, to have a data-driven discussion about the impacts of TIF on those underlying units. That process has just started. We would really like to see that take place before we jump into additional legislative changes.”
– Aim CEO Matt Greller
Our Legislative Summary Sponsors
Please click on the logos below to learn more about our sponsors.