2022 Indiana General Assembly Report, Halftime Report (Weeks 4 & 5)
Committee hearings came to an end on Tuesday the 25th in the House and Thursday the 27th in the Senate. The lengthy debates we previously saw in committee transitioned to lengthy debates on the floor. As a result of the Committee Report deadlines, there was a very large volume of bills that were crammed into schedules. Consistent with the large volume of bills being voted out of committees, the number of bills considered on the floors of each chamber of the General Assembly grew as well.
In the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday the 24th, we again testified in opposition to HB1209, the CCS bill which addresses the rules and regulations related to the construction and siting of both CO2 pipelines and the underground storage of supercritical CO2. During that same committee hearing. we also testified in opposition to the expansive HB1100. That bill includes the dangerous “no more stringent than language” defeated during previous legislative sessions and invites significant legislative interference in administrative rule makings, which could undermine the current process before agencies like the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission which often include substantial input from stakeholders like CAC. Despite our opposition, both HB1100 and HB1209 passed Ways and Means. Later that week on the 27th, third reading votes were held on the House floor for both bills. HB1209 passed easily by a vote of 76-13 and HB1100 passed by a smaller margin, 61-29.
On Monday the 24th, we also testified against the other CCS bill, SB265, during the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee. This bill is a companion to HB1249, which was previously heard in the House Natural Resources Committee. The bills promise near blanket immunity to only Wabash Valley Resources and allows only them to condemn private property without compensation or notification. Despite continued opposition from CAC, the Indiana Farm Bureau, the Indiana Corn Growers Association, and the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the bill moved 10-1 out of committee. and headed to the Senate floor. SB265 barely passed the full Senate by a vote of 27-22. Earlier in the House, its companion bill, HB1249, passed by a similar, small margin, garnering only 56 yea votes, with 37 nays. Take action on all of the CCS bills here.
After a front page article on the Indy Star, SB271 received a vote of approval on deadline day in the Indiana Senate, moving 39-9. As a reminder, SB 271 paves the way for ratepayers to be on the hook for expensive and risky small modular nuclear reactors. IBJ’s John Russell took a look at small modular reactors in a piece titled “Nuclear power could get a second chance in Indiana”. Take action on 271 here.
While SB352, Sen. Andy Zay’s usury bill, failed 24-22 for a lack of constitutional majority last week, the bill was brought up for a vote again on the Senate’s deadline day. Senate Republicans, besotted by absences, had to call in every single member of theirs, including Sen. Erin Houchin who resigned effective Friday, to pursue a congressional career. The bill passed 27-22 and heads to the House for further action.
The legislature will be back in full swing this week with bills crossing chambers and committee hearings beginning on Monday the 7th. Things will move at lightning speed as bills need to move no later than Monday February 28th out of the House and Tuesday March 1st for the Senate. Buckle up, it will be quite the ride. Both chambers must adjourn sine die by Monday March 14th.
Lindsay Shipps Haake & Kerwin Olson