The 2018 Legislative Session Comes to a Close!

15
March

The 2018 Legislative Session Comes to a Close!

 The 2018 legislative session is in the books! Representatives and Senators concluded their work early this morning and have adjourned "sine die" until the next installment of the Indiana General Assembly in 2019.

  The close of the 2018 legislative session wasn't without some challenges, though. Both the House of Representatives and Senate worked past midnight and into the morning, but adjourned before voting on five bills. Governor Eric Holcomb, in an unprecedented move, extended the legislative deadline of midnight to 1:00 a.m. so work could continue on outstanding legislation. However, after a legal challenge regarding the extension, Republican leaders withdrew the extension effectively ending session for 2018 leaving five pending bills to die.

  Two of the bills in question were agenda items of Governor Holcomb: a funding boost for school security measures and a plan to regulate self-driving cars. Additionally, two tax related bills and a takeover plan bill for school districts in Muncie and Gary also died. 

  Here is a look at the legislation IUSA monitored during session and how it fared:

Utility Specific Legislation:

  • House Bill 1050, authored by Representative Dave Ober (R-Albion), specifies in greater detail where small cell wireless structures for communication service providers may be placed on utility structures. The legislation aims to remedy issues created from Senate Enrolled Act 213, passed last year, which unnecessarily burdened local communities and other utilities. 
    STATUS UPDATE: Passed. Signed by Governor Holcomb on 3/8/2018.
  • Senate Bill 125, authored by Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), requires an underground utility excavation contractor to file with the Indiana Secretary of State that they will comply with Indiana’s 811 statute that regulates underground digging. SB 125 also gives the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission the authority to inform the Attorney General if any contractors break the 811 statutes while conducting their business.
    STATUS UPDATE: Passed. Sent to the Governor to be signed into law.   
  • Senate Bill 362, authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), would put in place conforming regulations and requirements for water and wastewater utilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. SB 362 establishes industry standards for the management and operation of water and wastewater utilities aimed at increasing the level of service provided to customers and communities.
    STATUS UPDATE: Passed. Sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
  • House Bill 1267, authored by Representative Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso), would create a water infrastructure taskforce that would study drinking water systems, wastewater management systems and storm water management systems and develop a long-term plan for addressing the water needs of Indiana. 
    STATUS UPDATE: Passed. Sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
  • Senate Bill 361, authored by Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), is similar to HB 1267 and would also create a water infrastructure taskforce.
    STATUS UPDATE: Failed to pass.

  As we look forward to another spring season we file away another legislative session. At the onset of session more than 900 bills were introduced with more than 600 of them failing to gain enough support to pass. All of the bills that passed now await a signature by Governor Holcomb before becoming law. Governor Holcomb has already signed dozens of bills into law and will continue signing in the coming week. To see what bills Governor Holcomb has signed into law, click this link: http://in.gov/gov/2966.htm

  Stay tuned for more updates and utility industry news! 
  
Sincerely, 

Eric Augustus
Executive Director, IUSA