January 26, 2024
The Big Issues
MOBILE INTEGRATED HEALTH
- SB 10 would create a framework for a statewide grant program for mobile integrated health programs at the local level while SB 142 would allow the EMTs providing these community services to bill insurance for the services provided when applicable.
- Aim is enthusiastic regarding increasing efforts around the state to promote the ongoing health and wellbeing of their citizens through mobile integrated health programs. Each of these bills are positive steps in making these programs more financially sustainable and able to serve more Hoosiers.
- Mobile Integrated Health programs help reduce hospital readmittance, work to keep seniors in their homes longer, and provide positive connections between them and their communities. Read more in the Indiana Capital Chronicle: Grant programs establishing, sustaining localized health responses move forward, Mobile integrated health closes health care gap in Monticello, and Noblesville mayor pushes state to invest in local mental health programs.
- Both bills were heard in the Senate Health and Provider Services committee on Wednesday, January 24. SB 10, authored by Sen. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville), passed with a vote of 10-0 but was recommitted to Appropriations and SB 142, authored by Sen. Brian Buchanan (R-Lebanon), passed with a vote of 7-0.
- 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 and could impact economic development, housing and utility projects. Cities and towns need more flexibility to plan for growth and this would further limit that.
- SB 159, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), passed the Senate Local Government committee on Thursday, January 25 with a vote of 6-4.
HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAXES
- As introduced, SB 285 would provide a 100% credit for homestead property owners greatly reducing the property taxes collected by local governments. This money would be partially backfilled by a $1B grant from the state once the money is freed up in the state budget from paying old, unfunded pension liabilities.
- This bill was introduced to start a conversation about how to provide significant homestead property tax relief. The bill author and committee recognized the need to find replacement revenue sources before moving forward with any significant tax change like this. Aim testified about the revenue challenges presented by significant property tax reforms and potential alternative revenue sources if such a change were to go forward.
- SB 285, authored by Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka), was heard in the Senate Appropriations committee for informational purposes on Thursday, January 25 but will not be moving forward this session.
EXCESS LEVY APPEALS
- HB 1120 would change the threshold to qualify for an excess levy appeal, the process by which communities can appeal to have their property tax levy increased higher than the levy growth limit due to specific circumstances. Current law allows municipalities to qualify for an excess levy appeal if their average assessed value growth rate is 2% higher than the state’s over the last three years. HB 1120 increases that threshold to 4%.
- Aim opposes this provision in the bill because it would significantly limit the ability of fast-growing communities to grow their property tax levy to keep up with the growing need for services. With rapidly rising costs and inflation eroding the purchasing power of local governments coupled with high growth, more units need this tool. Growing communities need additional revenue for increased service costs.
- HB 1120, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), passed the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday, January 24 with a vote of 16-8.
- Aim has a long-standing legislative interest in modernizing public notice requirements to allow local government more options for posting public notices on online platforms instead of in local newspapers. This need has been exacerbated by more local papers shutting down or publishing issues more infrequently. Meeting public notice requirements is becoming more and causing delays for meetings and projects due to noticing requirements.
- This session, three bills are moving forward that deal with modernizing public notice requirements that Aim supports because they are steps in the right direction.
- HB 1204, authored by Rep. Jennifer Meltzer (R-Shelbyville) allows public notices for disposal of property to be posted on a newspaper’s website, if available, or a local government website if the newspaper cannot provide that service. It passed the House Judiciary committee on Wednesday, January 24.
- HB 1328, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw), allows additional appropriations to be noticed by uploading them to the Gateway website instead of being published in the paper. It passed the House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday, January 24.
- SB 252, authored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), would update the qualifications for newspapers to be used for public notices to make compliance with public notice requirements easier for local governments. It passed the Senate Local Government committee on Thursday, January 25.
MARKET STREET TO MAIN STREET LEGISLATIVE PODCAST
Listen to more about this week on the third 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 mobile integrated health, the fast approaching half-way point in session, and how to get involved in the Aim legislative process.
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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