Welcome to the first Aim Legislative Summary of the 2018 session of the Indiana General Assembly! This newsletter will arrive in your inbox each Friday during the legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn no later than Wednesday, March 14.
Each Legislative Summary will feature 5 bills or topics of interest for the week. You are encouraged, however, to also review our comprehensive bill tracking list linked at the bottom of the newsletter. This list includes all municipal related bills being tracked by Aim. During the first two weeks of the legislative session this list will grow as hundreds of bills are being filed and reviewed by the Aim legislative team.
The Big Issues
SMALL CELL FACILITY PERMITTING
- Last session a bill restricting home rule regarding the citing of small cell towers was passed (SEA 213-2017). The municipal response in enacting local underground utility ordinances as a means of lawfully maintaining local control was strong.
- Multiple bills (SB 258 and HB 1050) have been filed this session to further tighten the law and close the perceived loophole in the new law. SB 258 will preempt the underground utility area designations that were included in SEA 213 while adding additional oversight by the IURC. HB 1050 will narrow the parameters of the designations to residential zoned areas.
- Aim is working cooperatively with lawmakers and industry representatives to reach a compromise that welcomes new technology and maintains local zoning rights.
- Annexation continues to be a serious topic of discussion inside the statehouse. Multiple bills (SB 261, SB 268, HB 1023, HB 1129) regarding annexation and annexation waivers have been filed and more are expected.
- Despite the incredibly onerous annexation legislation passed in recent years, this issue continues to rank high on the priority list of rural organizations and lawmakers. The chatter at the statehouse indicates the annexation discussion has the ability to be a dominant issue during this legislative session.
- Regarding all annexation bills, Aim will continue to seek compromise where reasonable and opposition where necessary.
PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEE RESIDENCY
- Three bills (SB 97, SB 132 and SB 162) have been filed regarding public safety employees’ residency requirements – allowing police officers and/or firefighters to live a certain distance away from the boundary of the city, town, or township versus having to live in the contiguous county.
- SB 97 and SB 132 go a step further and allow local units to hire candidates that reside outside of Indiana.
- Aim is reviewing each bill and will determine how to proceed as the impact of each bill becomes clearer.
RURAL SEWER DISTRICT EXPANSION
- SB 269 contains an Aim initiative to require notification to affected units when a Regional Sewer District (RSD) plans to expand its territory. This communication will allow municipalities to engaging in better planning of their own sewer service territories.
- The bill also includes language that would require INDOT to consult with the local unit before doing work on a state highway or bridge that would cause a detour. Increased collaboration will allow local units to offer input on traffic, maintenance, safety, and other concerns.
FUNDING OF 911 CALL CENTERS
- SB 67 would require a county with more than one PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) to distribute funds based on a proportional basis according to call volume.
- The bill would allow a municipal PSAP a guarantee of at least some funding from the existing fees collected on cell phone and landline telephones from residents residing in the county.
- Aim supports this concept and will monitor the bill.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“We’ve got a couple hundred bills that we are sifting through now. Almost half of those, at least half of those, are on our tracking list impacting cities and towns in Indiana. So we’re expecting a very short, but a very fast and furious legislative session this year.”
– Matt Greller, CEO of Aim
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