Read through the Top Five bills you need to know about, but don’t forget we have an entire tracking list for your review attached at the bottom of the page. Please email a member of our legislative team if you have any questions. A list of names and email addresses can be found here.
- HB 1002 passed out of committee this week and has been sent to Ways and Means, a hurdle it must clear before going to the entire House of Representatives.
- In the bills current format, your communities can anticipate a 40% increase in your current MVH and LRS distributions. This bill will also nearly double available revenue through the INDOT community crossings program.
- There are many ways to get engaged to show your support for additional local revenue. Attend third house meetings, town hall meetings, social media, or direct communication to your legislators. Make sure your communities’ needs are heard!
Short Term Rentals
- HB 1133 is the “Airbnb bill” that sets a statewide framework of regulation for short term rentals in Indiana. Unfortunately, it greatly restricts local control, especially with regard to zoning.
- In its current form, a homeowner could rent their home out to a non-resident for half the year and still be considered a “short term rental” that is not subject to any of the same regulations as hotels or even bed and breakfast establishments, and local units would have very limited ability to regulate the practice locally.
- Next week, Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) will be offering several 2nd reading amendments at Aim’s request that we think would strike a better balance for those impacted by this legislation.
Local Income Tax
- House Enrolled Act 1485-2015 was passed two years ago. It was a comprehensive Local Income Tax (LIT) reform bill and it went into effect January 1, 2017. HB 1129 is a local income tax clean-up bill.
- HB 1129 is a general LIT clean-up bill. We are requesting an amendment to HB 1129 to make some clarifying changes. The amendment will be considered in February when the bill is heard in the House Ways and Means Committee.
- The changes we are requesting are to IC 6-3.6-3-2 dealing with the procedures to adopt a LIT ordinance.
Redevelopment Commission Membership
- HB 1131, which changes the membership of the RDC, was heard in committee this week. Testimony from supporters of the bill was primarily focused on school funding issues and that they believe TIF’s continue to cause a large fiscal impact on schools.
- One of our greatest concerns with the intent of this language is that the Executive of the city, who is held responsible by constituents for economic growth, would no longer have the ability to guarantee needed infrastructure improvements to perspective businesses.
- HB 1131 will likely be brought back before the committee on the week of Feb 6. Aim will continue to advocate on behalf of continuing the current membership of our RDC while looking for ways to address the concerns of those who support this bill.
Needle Exchange Programs
- Cities and towns across the state are faced with serious challenges associated with opioid abuse in their communities. Needle exchange programs are a tool several local governments have been utilizing to help them address the public health side of the issue.
- HB 1438 would allow a county or municipality to approve the operation of a syringe exchange program without first getting permission from the state, which is the current framework.
- Rampant opioid abuse has severe impacts on public health, and local officials need the ability to respond quickly with this method if they so choose. Aim testified in support of HB 1438 in the House Public Health Committee this week, where the bill passed 12-1.
Support Grows for HB 1002 and #Roads4Ourfuture
HB 1002 Transportation Infrastructure Funding (Soliday, R-Valparaiso; T. Brown, R-Crawfordsville; Steurewald, R-Avon; Sullivan, R-Evansville)
On Wednesday, January 25, a joint meeting of the House Ways and Means committee and the Roads and Transportation committee heard more than six hours of testimony on HB 1002. The majority of testimony supported the long-term plan to address state and local road needs, though there was opposition to aspects of the plan that call for tax increases.
Aim was represented with bipartisan support from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes. Their testimony provided committee members with insight on the wide array of infrastructure challenges faced from three communities with very diverse needs. The Aim members also thanked legislators and explained how valuable the legislation from 2016 was to slowing the continued decay of our existing roadways.
Upon completion of testimony the Roads & Transportation committee passed the bill 8 to 5. This was a party line vote except for Representative Bob Morris (R- Ft Wayne) who voted no along with Democrats.
HB 1002 will now advance to the Ways and Means committee where we anticipate additional amendments will modify to the current distribution formula in order to clarify revenue mechanisms for local and state shares of the distribution. We will be watching closely to ensure there are no changes made that will negatively impact the current and future revenue distributions for municipalities. We anticipate the bill we be heard during the week of February 6 so we need your support now in communicating your communities need to your legislators.
Aim Position: Support
Legislation to Restrict Local Control Over Short Term Rentals
HB 1133 Preemption of Local Bans on Short Term Rentals (Lehman, R-Berne)
HB 1133 addresses the practice of home-sharing in Indiana through online platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, etc. In addition to pre-empting local governments’ ability to ban the practice, it also restricts how locals can regulate them through the use of zoning. There are also other questions about how to assess homes that are being rented out or “shared” for profit, and whether these homes should be eligible for homestead deductions.
HB 1133 is currently on 2nd reading in the House, and Rep. Jerry Torr has introduced several amendments at Aim’s request. One the most important amendments would exempt properties located in areas zoned for residential use only from this legislation. When homebuyers purchase homes in areas zoned for residential use only, they expect their local government to have the ability to enforce that use. Another amendment sets the maximum number of days that a short term rental may be booked per calendar year at 30 days, unless the local legislative body sets a higher cap.
If this legislation impacts your community, please contact your state representative as soon as possible, as the bill will likely be called for 2nd reading on Monday. We believe Rep. Torr’s amendments help strike a better balance by allowing local governments to be responsive to their constituents. We are hopeful the House will accept the amendments.
Aim Position: Oppose
Aim Requests Clean-up to Local Income Tax Statute
HB 1129 Local Income Tax (Thompson, R-Lizton)
In 2015, House Enrolled Act 1485, a comprehensive local income tax (LIT) reform bill passed into law. It had a delayed effective date of January 1, 2017. HB 1129 is a LIT clean-up bill. Aim has requested that a few tweaks be made in the statute that have concerned us since the passage of the original bill. Rep. Jeff Thompson, the author of the bill has been working with Aim and the Department of Local Government Finance to address our concerns and prepare an amendment to be added to the clean-up bill.
Our requested changes are to IC 6-3.6-3-2 regarding the procedure to adopt a LIT ordinance or resolution. The current law requires the DLGF to pre-approve the form of our ordinances. We are working to change this pre-approval mandate. In addition, the current law states that ordinances are void if local procedures do not follow DLGF policy requirements. We are working to change this measure so that the usual statutory requirements are the standard versus DLGF policy requirements.
Expect our amendment to be inserted when the bill is heard in February in the Ways and Means Committee.
Committee Hears Bill to Change Membership of RDCs
HB 1131 Appointments to Local Boards and Commissions (Clere, R-New Albany; Cook, R-Cicero)
On Tuesday the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee took testimony on HB 1131, a bill that will modify the current membership of Redevelopment Commissions (RDC). Currently a school board appointee serves as an advisory member on the RDC, however, this bill will change that role to a voting member by removing one of the Executive’s appointees. Under the bill’s current language, the school board member will replace one of the Executive appointees, leaving two appointees for the Executive and two appointees for the Legislative body. This means under the current five member structure, if there is a difference of opinion between the Executive and Legislative appointees the deciding vote will be placed by the school board member.
The bill is not scheduled for committee next week but the guidance from Chairman Mahan is that he wants the parties involved to continue the conversation and work towards an agreement of how we can address the concerns from those who testified in committee.
We need your help now to contact members of the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. When you speak with them explain how critical it is that the local community maintain control of economic development in their community. You can find a list of these committee members at the following link. If your legislator is a member of this committee, please reach out to them in the coming week.
New Flexibility for Local Units to Establish Needle Exchange Programs
HB 1438 Syringe Exchange Programs (Kirchhofer, R-Beech Grove)
In response to the HIV epidemic in Scott County in 2015, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a framework allowing counties to operate needle exchange programs. Since that time, opioid abuse has become even more rampant, bringing with it increased rates of HIV and Hepatitis C among intravenous drug users who are sharing dirty needles. Needle exchange programs are often the first step a community can take to combat the spread of disease and then to lead these drug users to treatment.
Under the current law, a county can establish a needle exchange program only after the local health official declares an HIV or hepatitis C epidemic, the local legislative body accepts the declaration, and the State Health Commissioner agrees to declare a public health emergency in that county. HB 1438 streamlines this process by allowing local officials alone to approve the program, without need for the State Health Commissioner’s permission.
This initiative is part of Governor Holcomb’s agenda to help solve Indiana’s opioid crisis, and Aim appreciates the work of the administration to give local governments this local decision making tool to help address the problem locally.
Aim Position: Support