March 10, 2023
The Big Issues
- HB 1016 would automatically establish merit systems for all police and fire departments that have at least 12 full time members and cover an area with at least 10,000 in population. Both the council and a majority of the officers or firefighters would have to vote to opt out of this requirement.
- Aim is working toward a compromise on this bill to ensure that the ultimate decision still rests with local leaders while understanding the need for ongoing conversations with public safety unions about how the departments will be governed. Aim is opposed to the bill as it stands now but conversations on how to improve it are ongoing.
- HB 1016, authored by Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) and sponsored by Sen. Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), was heard Wednesday in the Senate Pensions and Labor committee and was held for amendment and vote on Wednesday, March 15.
LOCAL OFFICIAL TRAINING
- HB 1040 would require annual training for local fiscal officers monitored by the State Board of Accounts (SBOA). It would also allow the SBOA to declare a community unauditable if their records are in too poor of condition to conduct an audit. Unauditable communities would be able to hire outside financial help to become auditable.
- Aim has had open conversations with SBOA about the need for better training and financial recordkeeping at the local level while communicating that the majority of communities run very well locally. We are ready to be partners in providing training to fulfill these requirements.
- HB 1040, authored by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) and sponsored by Rep. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), passed the Senate Local Government Committee on Thursday with a vote of 10-0.
OUTDOOR REFRESHMENT AREAS
- SB 20 and HB 1349 grant local governments the ability to designate outdoor refreshment areas in which alcohol can be carried out and consumed for festivals, concerts, and other great local events.
- Allowing local governments to designate outdoor refreshment areas has been an Aim initiative for years and this year it seems like there is broad support in the House and Senate. Aim will continue to support tools like this to improve local quality of place and economic development for our communities.
- SB 20, authored by Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), is being sponsored in the House by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne). HB 1349, authored by Rep. Shane Lindauer (R-Jasper), is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper).
- As introduced, HB 1438 would have allowed local public notices to be published electronically instead of in the newspaper. As it stands now, the bill proposes a legislative study committee on the feasibility of this change.
- Modernizing public notice requirements has been a long-standing priority for Aim. Aim will participate in any legislative study on the topic and communicate the cost and difficulty finding local papers associated with posting public notice.
- HB 1438, authored by Rep. Doug Miller (R-Elkhart) and sponsored by Sen. Blake Doriot (R-Goshen), will be heard next week in the Senate Local Government Committee.
PREPAYMENTS AND DEPOSITS
- SB 317 would allow local governments to prepay for goods and services as long as the prepayment is less than 50% of the entire project and meets other requirements to ensure financial responsibility.
- Allowing prepayments for local purchases has been a long-standing Aim and ILMCT priority that has gained increasing urgency in recent years as more vendors, including contractors, have been requiring prepayments in order to secure purchases and the inability to do so has resulted in lost contracts and increased costs for local units.
- SB 317, authored by Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) and sponsored by Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford), will be heard in the House Local Government committee next week.
AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“The [Aim Legislative Dinner] attendance from the membership was excellent. They were really engaged with their local legislators and did a nice job of not just communicating about legislation, but trying to build a relationship talking about what was happening non-legislatively in their communities.”
– Matt Greller, Aim CEO
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