The Big Issues
HB 1104: ANNEXATION AND ALCOHOL PERMITS
- In the early days of the legislative session there were at least six bills regulating municipal annexation, mostly regarding annexation waivers. As the session drew to a close, the only annexation waiver language left was contained in HB 1104. The bill contained language that retroactively voided all annexation waivers passed before 2003, regardless of when they were recorded. The bill gave municipalities until December 31, 2018 to record any waivers executed after June 30, 2003 and before July 1, 2018 but also imposed the 15-year expiration date on those. Further, it required municipalities to record new waivers within 30 days of execution. This language was removed in the House and replaced with a requirement to study annexation waivers and related items during the interim study committee process.
- As often happens, HB 1104 became the home for many, many other provisions as lawmakers sought homes for language that wasn’t otherwise moving towards passage. This was the case for several revenue distribution matters and alcohol permitting provisions. Among these provisions was an effort to significantly alter a municipality’s ability to create a municipal riverfront improvement district and benefit from corresponding alcohol permitting exceptions.
- As the clock was ticking towards the mandated hour of adjournment, lawmakers were still negotiating language on HB 1104 and several other remaining bills. Time ran out and HB 1104 died. While this is a short-term victory in terms of the bill’s shortcomings, we expect all matters contained in the bill to arise during a rumored special session or during the 2019 legislative session.
SB 242: TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
- SB 242 was a multi-faceted bill that contained many tax-related provisions.
- A conference committee report that was being considered when the General Assembly ran out of time required redevelopment commissions to annually present certain TIF district financial data to the taxing units with territory inside the allocation area. Further, the bill provided that the governing body of such a taxing unit may request that a member of the redevelopment commission appear before the governing body at a public meeting of the governing body.
- Much like all other language that died in the final minutes of the session, we will be watching for this language to come back up in the future. Good communication among taxing units is a positive. Should the language re-emerge, we will continue working to ensure the language moves in a positive direction, as was occurring when the bill died.
PLANNING AND ZONING FOR MINING ACTIVITIES
- Earlier this session, HB 1289 seemed to be moving swiftly through the legislative process. The bill attempted to strip municipal control of all mining activities taking place within a municipality, as well as in the 2 mile fringe area. Fortunately, this bill did not receive a hearing in the Senate and was considered dead.
- While HB 1289 was dead, the language within it was eligible to be inserted into a conference committee report. In the final days of session, language emerged that toned down the earlier version. While the language allowed cities and towns to continue regulating mining operations within their corporate boundaries, it prohibited municipalities from exercising their extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction to regulate mining operations within their existing 2 mile fringe areas.
- Aim worked successfully to keep the language from surfacing in another bill.
HB 1065: BROADBAND
- HB 1065, a bill creating a broadband grant program, was among the last bills to pass during the 2018 session.
- The program requires the creation of new maps to determine which communities in Indiana are considered underserved in terms of high speed internet services.
- Once those areas are determined and the underserved communities become Broadband Ready, they will be eligible for the new grant program established in HB 1065 and housed in the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Funded with $600,000 in seed money, this bill should be considered one of the greatest economic development accomplishments to emerge this session.
HB 1125: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR FIREFIGHTERS
- HB 1125 contained concerning language for all communities with collective bargaining for firefighters had broad implications for municipalities with unionized firefighters or where there is a contract with an employee organization that works in part with the common interest of employees.
- Among our many reservations, the bill would have certainly resulted in increasing expenses to local units of government and create an imbalance in the negotiation process.
- Our concerns were heard and the bill did not advance due to a lack of support and willingness among lawmakers.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“As of right now, we had no significant negative legislation passed for cities and towns this legislative session, but we will certainly keep our eyes open in a special session environment as well.”
– Matt Greller, CEO of Aim, on the possibility of a special session
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