January 29, 2021
The Big Issues
- SB 389 would repeal Indiana’s law regulating isolated wetlands, which are wetlands that are not abutting navigable waterways and are not currently regulated by the federal government.
- This is a major policy change that would deregulate the majority of Indiana’s wetlands. Stakeholders are discussing the wide-ranging potential impacts on the cost of development, stormwater controls, and environmental management.
- SB 389, authored by Senator Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), passed the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee on Monday with a vote of 8-3. It is eligible for a vote by the full Senate next week.
BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX
- SB 336 would allow the business personal property tax exemption to be calculated using the assessed value of the property (instead of its acquisition value). This would result in an estimated 52,000 more businesses qualifying and costing local governments $12M in revenue, $5M of which will come from cities and towns.
- The originally introduced version contained far more significant language that eliminated the depreciation floor on new business personal property, but those provisions were removed in committee. The bill still represents a “chipping away” at the BPPT without an identified state revenue replacement plan.
- SB 336, authored by Senator Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), passed the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday with a vote of 11-3. It is on the Senate’s 2nd reading amendment calendar on Monday.
REGULATION OF BUILDING MATERIALS
- HB 1191 would prevent local units from proscribing design standards on construction in their jurisdiction that requires certain materials to be used for the purposes of energy savings. This is similar in concept to the much broader HB 1114 which would preempt the regulation of all design elements on residential structures.
- HB 1114 would give local units no ability to enforce design standards regardless of how their local constituency feels about such matters. Although written more narrowly, HB 1191 calls into question the ability of communities to enforce certain design/material regulations that have an energy-savings component.
- HB 1191, authored by Representative Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), passed the House Utilities Committee on Tuesday with a vote of 8-4. HB 1114, authored by Representative Doug Miller (R-Elkhart), will be heard next week in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee.
- SB 95 would remove the ability of municipalities to complete annexations without at least 51% of the property owners in the proposed annexation territory (or owners of 75% of the AV) signing a petition agreeing to be annexed. Only voluntary and super-voluntary annexations would be allowed were SB 95 to pass into law.
- Annexation is a valuable tool for growing communities. Changing to a fully voluntary system would disrupt long term planning and the ability of cities and towns to grow. In light of the significant reform of the annexation statute in 2015, Aim opposes SB 95’s attempt to further limit our ability to grow and develop through annexation.
- SB 95, authored by Senator Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville), will be voted on by the full Senate as early as Monday. Please contact your senator and ask them to vote no on SB 95.
- SB 369 would allow virtual meetings of local governing bodies, such as city or town councils, during times of emergency and creates a framework for governing bodies to allow electronic participation even during normal times, with certain guardrails. To use electronic meetings, a policy must be adopted locally.
- This bill is an Aim 2021 operational initiative. A special thank you to the bill’s author, Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), for working with us on this. A similar bill on the House side, HB 1437 by Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) is also being heard next week.
- SB 369 was heard in the Senate Local Government Committee on Thursday and was held for amendment and vote at a future meeting. Several other stakeholders spoke in support of the bill, and no one testified in opposition.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“It was a busy week at the statehouse. I encourage you to check out the full tracking list attached to see all the bills the team is tracking at the statehouse. And watch your emails next week. We will be reaching out individually to have you connect with your lawmakers on key bills that are being pushed through in committee.”
– Jennifer Simmons, Aim COO
Our Legislative Summary Sponsors
Please click on the logos below to learn more about our sponsors.