March 24, 2023
The Big Issues
- Prepayments and Deposits: SB 317, Aim’s initiative to allow prepayments and deposits on local purchases up to $2M and half of the cost of the purchase, has passed committee in the House and is on the second reading calendar. During committee, language was added regarding county contracting and purchasing. Stakeholders are continuing to negotiate on those new provisions.
- Residential TIF: SB 300, Aim’s initiative to remove the restrictions on accessing the Residential TIF tool, has yet to receive a hearing in the House Ways and Means committee but many stakeholders remain committed to moving this bill forward this session.
- Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas: Aim’s initiative to allow municipalities to designate areas of their community where alcohol can be carried out and consumed for enjoyment, including at events or festivals is currently in two bills: SB 20 and HB 1349. Aim has been working with legislators this week to reconcile the differences between the two bills and hopefully produce a finished product that can move forward in committee next week.
- Public Notices: Aim continues to support modernizing how public notices are published. HB 1438 provides for the creation of a public notice task force to study notice publication statutes for the purpose of streamlining the process and maximizing value to Indiana citizens. HB 1438 is on the Senate’s third reading calendar.
RESIDENTIAL BUILDING COMMISSION
- HB 1575 has been an ongoing bill designed to create a systematic, yearly review of state building codes with input from industry stakeholders. This week, the bill was modified to change the composition of the existing building code commission to include more industry representatives instead of creating a separate review commission.
- Aim has been working with stakeholders to ensure that any new state requirements or processes do not affect local ordinances, including architectural and design standards or zoning ordinances and does not impact the existing process for providing input and modifications to the building code that governs in a municipality.
- HB 1575, authored by Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville) and sponsored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger), was heard this week in the Senate Local Government Committee but was held for a possible amend and vote at a future meeting.
LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIAL TRAINING
- HB 1040 requires annual training for local fiscal officers, including controllers, clerks and clerk-treasurers. It also creates a process for unauditable communities to secure outside financial help if they continue to be unable to produce adequate financial statements. Amendments have been proposed to the bill to clarify the process for appointing outside financial help in the situation of a vacancy for the position of clerk-treasurer.
- Aim has worked with the State Board of Accounts on this bill to ensure that the requirements are not unnecessarily onerous and to provide partnership in annual training efforts.
- HB 1040, authored by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) and sponsored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), is on second reading in the Senate awaiting the final round of amendments.
LIVESTREAMING AND ARCHIVING MEETINGS
- HB 1167 was amended in Senate Local Government this week to require governing bodies, including local legislative and fiscal bodies to begin livestreaming and archiving their meetings beginning July 1, 2025.
- Aim appreciates delaying the new requirement for two years to allow additional time to work with bill authors in future sessions on the potential hurdles for smaller communities and clarifying what happens in the event of a technological failure.
- HB 1167, authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) and sponsored by Sen. Jim Buck (R-Kokomo), passed the Senate Local Government Committee on Thursday with a vote of 8-2.
- Recently changed state requirements required local floodplain administrators to use new DNR floodplain maps resulting in portions of multiple cities and towns to now be considered in floodplains, raising insurance and development costs on those sites. SB 242 would allow those communities to go back to using the less restrictive FEMA maps.
- Aim supports this bill because of the increased local flexibility it provides for housing and commercial development projects without sacrificing responsible safety and zoning precautions.
- SB 242, authored by Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) and sponsored by Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle), passed the House Natural Resources committee Wednesday with a vote of 11-0.
AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“[HB 1167] is a good example of trying to talk through an issue with lawmakers. We’re having some great give and take on both sides. Senator Buck is recognizing the challenges of smaller communities and technology. They want to provide these [livestream] opportunities for their citizens but if it comes with so many strings attached that they can’t do, it will probably just reduce engagement.”
– Jennifer Simmons, Aim COO
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