2022 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 9
The General Assembly saw a quickened pace of action this past week with second and third reading deadlines early in the week and the conference committee process beginning with a fury.
Legislators also began consideration of concurrence motions. If a bill is amended in the second chamber (e.g. the House bill is amended by the Senate), the bill author may decide to concur with the changes made by the bill, in which case they file a concurrence motion. This motion is voted on by the full chamber (House, in our example) and if the motion receives a majority vote, it is sent to the Governor for their signature or veto.
If the bill author disagrees with the changes made to the bill, they file a dissent motion and the bill will then be subject to the conference committee process in which differences are worked out by members of a conference committee appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President Pro-Tem. A conference committee report is then prepared, signed by the four conferees and then voted on by both chambers with an affirmative vote in each chamber sending the bill to the Governor for their consideration.
We saw concurrence motions filed on almost every bill on which we’ve been working—mostly because these bills we’ve been fighting have been fast tracked to limit public input. HB 1209 was one of these, with the 3rd reading Senate vote Tuesday and the House concurrence motion received a vote on Thursday. This bill sets the regulatory framework for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and addresses related issues such as pore space ownership, mineral rights, and long-term liability. The bill’s progress was in jeopardy after the 7-5 vote in Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee two weeks ago. Despite its close vote in the Senate due to concerns over property rights and liability, the bill easily made it through the House 75-17 and now heads to Governor Eric Holcomb. Make sure you contact him regarding this bill.
A bill designed to increase investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, HB1221, received a concurrence vote last Wednesday with a vote of 66-25. The legislation will allow convenience stores, gas stations, and other entities to install EV chargers for public use and will authorize the electric utilities to apply at the IURC for approval of EV charging pilot programs. Unfortunately the bill was amended in the Senate to further protect monopoly utility control over EV charging and that caused the bill to be delayed and 25 legislators to oppose. Despite this, the bill is headed to the Governor for further action.
Kerwin talks about Senate Bill 271, small modular reactors, and a host of other energy issues on last week’s episode of Indiana Lawmakers, appearing with Senate utilities Chairman Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford), Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) and Utility Task Force member Peter J. Schubert, Ph.D., P.E., director of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy. As a note, SB271, which allows utilities to charge ratepayers for untested nuclear technology, is on its way to the Governor’s office. Take action now, to make sure the Governor hears from you.
As we predicted last week, there was yet another effort to target public transit via a second reading amendment. While the amendment failed by a voice vote after a brief debate, we continue to monitor conference committee reports for language that stands to jeopardize transit investment.
We are also monitoring every conference committee to safeguard consumers, especially when it comes to issues like near blanket immunity for Carbon Sequestration projects—legislation that has already failed the legislature this year.
Since the General Assembly is rumored to adjourn sine die (meaning we’re done until next year) this week, things will move rather quickly, though most of the legislation we’ve been working has already passed both the Senate and House.
Lindsay Shipps Haake & Kerwin Olson