2021 Indiana General Assembly Report, Week 6
We just finished Week 6 of the legislature and as we push towards the Committee Report deadline on the 22nd of February. This past week we monitored a wealth of committee hearings and attended a number of meetings with coalition partners.
Early last week we submitted testimony to the Ways and Means Committee on the budget, specifically regarding the CHOICE (Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled) program. As you recall, Governor Eric Holcomb decreased spending on Indiana’s CHOICE program by almost $10 million despite a waiting list of more than 2,000 Hoosiers. We asked the committee to increase funding in order to serve the Hoosiers on the waiting list. Unfortunately later in the week, the House majority announced their budget proposal which did not increase the appropriation for CHOICE, despite voicing their desire to want seniors to be able to stay in their homes as long as possible.
We also submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Appropriations in opposition to Senate Bill 141, which would unfairly change requirements on IndyGo, positioning them to lose out on hundreds of millions of federal funding for bus rapid transit initiatives. The bill did not move out of committee and it has not yet been scheduled again. Hopefully this bill dies without any further action.
House Utilities spent its time discussing HB1381, a wind and solar siting bill that sets a floor for local land use policies governing utility scale wind and solar projects. The bill moved 12-1 and is on the 2nd reading calendar on Monday.
Senate Utilities discussed three different broadband bills seeking to expand service to underserved areas of the state.
We would note that HB 1114, which would deregulate local building standards has been taken off the House Calendar. This bill was featured on the front page Indy Star story last week highlighting conflicts of interest with the bill’s author.
Shortly after that story appeared on the front page, more than sixty business leaders including Fortune 500 Companies, penned a letter to lawmakers telling them to practice what they preach and leave local control well alone. Additional editorials followed. And it wasn’t only Indianapolis newspapers. It is important that leadership notes HB1191 and SB389, which were already sent to the Senate and House respectively, both fit into this description and should be shelved, as well. Read more on those bills here.
Upcoming This Week
We’re expecting Senate Bill 386 to be up for a vote as soon as Monday. Make sure you check out our social media to view our videos on SB 386 and act now to protect Hoosier consumers by contacting your state senator at 800-382-9467 to vote no on SB 386.
Our Kerwin Olson will be featured in Hoosier Environmental Council’s Sustainable Energy Online Legislative Forum on Thursday evening, February18th at 6:30pm. Join us!
To follow these bills in real time, make sure you follow us on Twitter. We tweet throughout the week as to the progress of bills we mention in our reports and on our Indiana General Assembly Bill Watch website.
Lindsay Haake & Kerwin Olson