The Big Issues
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR FIREFIGHTERS
- Concerning language has been added to HB 1125. The amendment would affect all communities with collective bargaining for firefighters. As amended the bill will now have broad implications to municipalities with unionized firefighters or where there is a contract with an employee organization that works in part of the common interest of employee.
- Requires a municipality with unionized firefighters to adopt an ordinance no later than June 1, 2018 establishing the following arbitration process.
- If the municipality and employee organization fail to agree to terms of a new contract within 45 days of the start of negotiations, both parties must submit to binding arbitration.
- Upon reaching the 45 day shot clock, the arbitration must begin within 20 days.
- Once the arbitration process begins, it shall be complete within 30 days.
- All costs incurred from the arbitration process must be shared equally by involved parties.
- During the arbitration process, the previously existing contract shall remain in place with no changes until arbitration is complete.
- If either party refuses to participate in the arbitration process, the previously existing contract shall remain in place with no changes for the term of the contract.
- We are expressing serious concerns regarding this bill, as amended. Among our many concerns, this will certainly result in increasing expenses to local units of government and create an imbalance in the negotiation process. Should your community use collective bargaining with firefighters, please talk with your Senators immediately.
CODE ENFORCEMENT REGARDING MINING ACTIVITIES
- HB 1289 passed out of the House with language that would prohibit local units from regulating any mining activity within municipal limits or the two mile buffer surrounding a municipality. The bill did not get a hearing in the Senate.
- Similar language to that of 1289 is being circulated for a Second Reading amendment or for conference committee insertion. The new language would still allow a municipality to regulate mining within the municipality, but would prohibit regulation in the two mile buffer. This causes concerns for buried infrastructure and to property owners who will lose existing protections.
- Any preemption of local code enforcement undermines a municipality’s ability to govern and maintain public safety and quality of life. We will continue to monitor this issue and oppose any language that removes local authority over mining activities.
- HB 1419 is a bill containing various alcohol sales and permitting provisions. The bill, spearheaded by Rep. Smaltz, cleared the Senate Public Policy Committee earlier this week and is now eligible for 2nd reading.
- Among the many provisions in the bill is the definition of the word “river” for the purposes of municipal riverfront improvement districts created after June 30, 2018. The definition is much more restrictive than current statute and very few waterways in Indiana would qualify as rivers under this bill, thus harming a municipality’s ability to create a municipal riverfront improvement district and benefit from corresponding alcohol permitting exceptions.
- Aim has voiced our concerns with lawmakers and hopes to have this provision removed. We believe this language could be studied during the off-session period, when lawmakers undertake a comprehensive review of Indiana’s alcohol permitting policies.
- There are still two annexation related bills dominating the annexation discussion.
- SB 261 previously 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 Government and Regulatory Reform Committee and replaced with a requirement to study annexation waivers and related items during the interim study committee process.
- HB 1104 is a miscellaneous property tax bill that currently contains the waiver language that was removed from SB 261. Should this bill go to conference committee, we will work to have this language removed.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
- SB 242 is a large, multi-faceted bill that contains many tax-related provisions. In the House Ways and Means Committee the bill was amended multiple times, making it even broader.
- One amendment added during this process creates a mandate for municipalities to gather and provide TIF district financial data to any school districts within said TIF district.
- Communication among taxing units is a good thing. However, this amendment needs to be re-worked to allow municipalities to gather the data and convene a meeting of all related units.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Positive movement (on annexation.) SB 261 was heard this week in the House. I’m pleased to report to you, this is the bill that had the waiver language in it that would have invalidated waivers that are older than 15 years. Rep. Mahan and his committee stripped the bill and inserted a study committee, which we were really pleased to see.”
– Matt Greller, CEO of Aim
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