Indiana General Assembly Legislative Watch List

5
March

Indiana General Assembly Legislative Watch List

Top Legislative Priorities

SB 1 and HB 1001- Tax exemption for new personal property

Authors Rep. Eric Turner and Sen. Brandt Hershman - Signed into law by Governor on March 25, 2014.

 Specifies that the county income tax council of a county may adopt an ordinance providing that if for a particular assessment date the acquisition cost of a taxpayer's business personal property in a county is less than $20,000: (1) the taxpayer is not required to file a personal property return for the taxpayer's business personal property in the county for that assessment date; and (2) the taxpayer's business personal property in the county for that assessment date is exempt from taxation. Specifies that such an exemption ordinance may apply to assessment dates after December 31, 2015. Specifies that this exemption does not apply to mobile homes assessed as personal property, personal property held as an investment, or personal property that is owned by certain utilities subject to regulation by the utility regulatory commission and is assessed as utility property. Requires the taxpayer to file a certification with the county assessor before May 15 of the year in which the assessment date occurs, and imposes a penalty if the annual certification is not timely filed. Provides that the tax rate for certain tax increment financing areas shall be calculated as if this exemption were not in effect. Provides that a county income tax council may adopt an ordinance to exempt from property taxation any new business personal property that is located in the county. Specifies that this exemption does not apply to mobile homes assessed as personal property, personal property held as an investment, or personal property that is owned by certain utilities subject to regulation by the utility regulatory commission and is assessed as utility property. Provides that a designating body may establish an enhanced abatement schedule for personal property that may not exceed 20 years. Provides that if a county or municipality receives a reimbursement, repayment, or penalty from a taxpayer on account of the taxpayer's failure to comply with the statement of benefits provided by the taxpayer as part of a property tax abatement or on account of the taxpayer's failure to comply with any other requirement to receive a property tax abatement, the county or municipal fiscal officer shall distribute the amount of the reimbursement, repayment, or penalty on a pro rata basis to each taxing unit that contains the property that was subject to the abatement deduction. Phases down the corporate income tax rate from 6.5% in 2015 to 4.9% after June 30, 2021. Phases down the financial institutions tax rate to 4.9% in calendar year 2023. Provides that a retail merchant engaged in selling bulk propane at retail in Indiana shall claim a credit before June 30, 2014, equal to the sales tax paid by the retail merchant's customers after December 31, 2013, and before April 1, 2014, on that part of the price of bulk propane that exceeded $2.50 per gallon. Requires such a retail merchant to provide a credit to customers of the retail merchant on their next purchase of bulk propane occurring after the retail merchant claims the credit. Specifies that retail merchants are entitled to a collection allowance for administering the credits provided to customers. Establishes the commission on business personal property and business taxation to study certain issues during 2014. Click here to view the bill.

 

HB 1132- Infrastructure Improvement Costs

Authors Rep. William Friend and Sen. James Merritt- Passed House and Passed Senate without amendments. Awaits Governors signature.

Infrastructure improvement costs. Provides that a public utility that provides water or wastewater service may petition the utility regulatory commission for an adjustment of its basic rates and charges to allow for recovery of eligible infrastructure improvement costs. (Current law provides that only a public utility that provides water service may apply for a distribution system improvement charge.) Requires a public utility to annually reconcile the difference between its utility rate improvement adjustment revenues and infrastructure improvement costs. Repeals definitions related to distribution system improvement charges. Makes conforming amendments. Click here to view the bill.

 

House Bill 1162– Certificate of Need for Utilities

Authors Rep. Steven Braun and Sen. James Merritt- Passed House and Senate without amendments.  Awaits Governors signature.

Requires the utility regulatory commission to make additional findings before granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity to an applicant that proposes to construct a facility with a generating capacity of more than 80 megawatts. Click here to view bill.

 

House Bill 1423-Private Generation

Author Rep. Eric Koch and Sen. James Merritt– Passed House and passed Senate with amendments (House concurred and awaits Governors signature).

Allows the owner of a private generation project to sell excess electric output generated by the project to an electric utility. Provides that the electric utility may recover the purchase price through a fuel adjustment charge. Requires an electric utility to provide, upon request, back up, maintenance, and supplementary power to a private generation project. Click here to view the bill.

 

HB 1241- Environmental Coverage

Authors Rep. Martin Carbaugh and Senator Travis Holdman– Passed House and failed in Senate Insurance Committee.

Specifies the manner in which the meaning of "pollutant", as used in certain liability insurance policies, must be construed. Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 271– Water Resources Study Committee Responsibilities

Authors Sen. Ed Charbonneau and Rep. David Wolkins – Passed Senate and House without amendments. Awaits Governors signature.

Urges the legislative council to assign certain responsibilities to the water resources study committee for the 2014 legislative interim, including the responsibility to receive testimony about: (1) recommendations made by the utility regulatory commission in its most recent annual report to the legislative council; (2) the effect that the relative availability of water resources has upon state and regional economic development decisions; (3) ways in which state government agencies could better coordinate their activities relating to the management of water resources; and (4) key elements that a state water plan should contain. Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 340- Demand Side Management Programs

Authors Sen. James Merritt and Rep. Eric Koch - Passed Senate and Passed House with amendments (Senate concurred and awaits Governors signature).

Demand side management programs. Requires a public utility to allow an industrial customer to opt out of participating in an energy efficiency program implemented by the public utility in response to an order of the utility regulatory commission (commission) concerning demand side management (DSM) programs. Provides that the commission may adopt rules or guidelines to assist public utilities and industrial customers in complying with the requirement. Requires the commission to provide a status report on energy efficiency programs implemented under DSM orders to the regulatory flexibility committee and the legislative council by August 15, 2014. Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 405- Underground utility facilities (similar to SB 333)

Authors Sen. Carlin Yoder and Rep. Eric Koch- Passed Senate and Passed House with amendments (House concurred and awaits Governors signature).

Amends the statute concerning the location and protection of underground utility facilities (facilities) during excavation or demolition activities to require, with respect to an excavation or demolition in an unincorporated area, the excavator to submit a separate locate request and notice of the excavation or demolition (notice) to the Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (association) for at least every 2,640 linear feet (versus every 2,500 linear feet under current law) of proposed excavation or demolition. Provides that a notice expires 20 days after the date the notice is submitted to the association. Provides that if, at the conclusion of the 20 day period, any part of the excavation or demolition is not complete at any part of the site for which the original notice was submitted, the excavator may not continue or resume the excavation or demolition until: (1) the excavator submits to the association a new locate request and notice for that part of the site for which the excavation or demolition is not complete; and (2) each affected utility operator (operator) provides facility locate markings for that part of the site for which the new locate request and notice are submitted. Provides that if an operator receiving notice of a proposed excavation determines that the operator is unable to: (1) locate and mark the operator's affected facilities not later than the expiration of the statute's mandated two-day period for doing so; or (2) mark the approximate location of the operator's affected facilities; the operator shall notify the excavator and provide additional information and, if requested, onsite assistance to the excavator. Provides that mechanized equipment may not be used to perform an excavation within two feet of either side of the outer limits of a facility unless the excavator meets certain conditions. Provides that mechanized equipment may be used for the initial penetration and removal of pavement or other manmade hard surfaces if certain conditions are met. Urges the legislative council to assign to a study committee during the 2014 legislative interim the topic of the technology used to determine the elevation or depth, or both, of facilities subject to the statute. Provides that if a committee is assigned this topic for study, the committee shall not later than November 1, 2014, report its findings and recommendations to the legislative council and the governor. Makes technical changes. Click here to view the bill.

 

Other House Bills (inactive):

HB 1143- Environmental rules and standards

Author Rep. David Wolkins and Senator Charbonneau – Passed House and Failed to move in Senate.

Prohibits the environmental rules board from adopting a rule or standard that is more stringent than the corresponding regulation or standard established under federal law. Makes corresponding changes in the law concerning the adoption of environmental rules.  

 

HB 1159- Substitute Natural Gas

Author Rep. Matthew Ubelhor – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Repeals certain provisions related to a purchase contract for substitute natural gas (SNG). Removes certain findings made by the general assembly with respect to SNG. Removes requirements that addenda to a purchase contract and other agreements entered into by the Indiana finance authority and a producer of SNG be submitted to the utility regulatory commission for approval.  Click here to view the bill.

 

HB 1299- Local Regulation of Oil and Gas wells

Author Rep. Allan Koch – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Provides that a: (1) county ordinance may not regulate the exploration, drilling, deepening, conversion, or operation of any well for oil and gas purposes; and (2) municipality may not regulate the operation of any oil and gas well concerning hydraulic fracturing (unless the operation is regulated under a zoning ordinance); unless granted a waiver by the director of the oil and gas division of the department of natural resources.  Click here to view the bill.

 

HB 1334– Fire Extinguishing Resources and Water Utilities

Author Rep. Randy Frye and Sen. Michael Crider- Passed House and failed to move in the Senate Utilities Committee.

Provides that before causing a private fire extinguishing resource to be installed on the premises of a building, the owner shall provide advance written notice of the proposed installation to the water utility providing water service to the building. Provides that the notice must be hand delivered or sent by verified mail at least seven days before the date of the proposed installation. Provides that with respect to a building served by a private fire extinguishing resource installed before March 28, 2014, the owner shall provide written notice of the fact to the water utility providing water service to the building. Provides that the notice must be hand delivered or sent by verified mail not later than July 1, 2014. Provides that before terminating water service for: (1) nonpayment of outstanding fees or charges; or (2) another reason not related to an emergency; to a building served by a private fire extinguishing resource, a water utility shall provide advance written notice of the termination to the local fire department. Provides that the notice must be hand delivered or sent by verified mail at least seven days before the date of the proposed termination. Provides that if a water utility receives notice from a municipal sewer utility to discontinue water service to a building served by a private fire extinguishing resource: (1) the water utility, upon receipt of the notice, shall provide to the sewer utility ordering the termination a copy of the required notice provided to the local fire department; and (2) the 30 day statutory period by which the water utility must terminate the water service is tolled until after the date of the proposed termination set forth in the notice to the fire department. Provides that before terminating water service for: (1) nonpayment of outstanding fees or charges; or (2) another reason not related to an emergency; to a multitenant residential building, a water utility shall provide advance written notice of the proposed termination to the appropriate local board of health. Provides that the notice must be hand delivered or sent by verified mail at least seven days before the date of the proposed termination.

HB 1374- Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy Facilities

Author Rep. Matt Pierce – Failed to Receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Requires the utility regulatory commission (IURC) to adopt rules to establish an electric utility feed-in tariff (FIT) program. Provides that the rules adopted must do the following: (1) Require all jurisdictional electric utilities (utilities) to offer a FIT to eligible customers (including persons that are not existing customers of the electric utility) not later than July 1, 2015. (2) Require utilities, upon the request of an eligible customer, to enter into a contract, for a term of at least 20 years, for the purchase of electricity generated by a renewable energy facility (facility) located in Indiana at a site at which the utility provides, or will provide, retail electric service to the eligible customer. (3) Prohibit a utility from requiring a minimum size or capacity for participating facilities, subject to any: (A) program participation cap; or (B) maximum size or capacity limit (which must allow facilities with less than 20 megawatt capacities to participate) for any one participating facility; that the IURC may approve. (4) Establish appropriate standards for interconnections between facilities and utilities' electric systems. (5) Establish appropriate FITs for participating facilities, with separate rates for electricity generated from each type of qualifying renewable energy resource under the program. (6) Require that any renewable energy credit or clean energy credit earned by a utility under the program be retired. (7) Prohibit an electric utility from requiring that a person that otherwise qualifies to participate in the electric utility's FIT program to be a customer of the electric utility for any period of time before enrolling in the electric utility's FIT program. Requires the IURC to ensure that the program complies with certain federal laws, regulations, and orders. Requires the IURC to develop and make available a standard contract for use by utilities in entering into contracts with eligible customers under the program. Provides that a nonjurisdictional electric utility may offer a FIT program to eligible customers at any time under terms and conditions that: (1) are just and reasonable to the utility's customers and in the public interest; and (2) comply with certain federal laws, regulations, and orders, to the extent applicable. Requires the IURC to include certain information concerning the program in its annual report to the regulatory flexibility committee. Click here to view the bill.

 

Other Senate Bills (inactive):

Senate Bill 96- Utility System Improvement Program

Author Sen. James Merritt – Failed to receive 2nd or 3rd Reading by deadline.

Provides that a public utility that provides water service or wastewater service may establish a utility system improvement program (USIP) to recover costs for eligible utility system improvements. (Current law provides for the establishment of a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC), and provides that a DSIC can be established only by a public utility that provides water service.) Specifies that eligible utility system improvements for purposes of a USIP may be, but are not required to be, projects: (1) to replace an existing utility system plant that is aged; or (2) that otherwise constitute a replacement plant. Provides that for purposes of a USIP, a public utility's pretax return includes revenues necessary to pay state utility receipts taxes associated with USIP revenues. Provides that before filing a petition with the utility regulatory commission (IURC) for approval of a USIP, a public utility shall petition the IURC for approval of the public utility's five year plan for eligible utility system improvements. Provides that a public utility that implements a USIP shall, before the expiration of the public utility's approved five year plan, petition the IURC for review and approval of the public utility's basic rates and charges. Provides that the IURC may not approve a USIP to the extent it would produce total USIP revenues exceeding 10% (versus 5% under current law for DSIC revenues) of the public utility's base revenue level approved by IURC in the public utility's most recent general rate proceeding. Requires a public utility to annually reconcile the difference between its USIP revenues and costs. Repeals definitions related to DSICs and makes conforming amendments. Specifies the applicability of these amendments to a public utility that has a DSIC in effect at the time of these amendments.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 216- Environmental crimes

Author Sen. Ed Charbonneau – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Makes it a Class C misdemeanor for a person regulated under the air pollution control laws to knowingly violate certain air pollution control rules or to knowingly fail to file certain documents or maintain certain records required by the federal Clean Air Act. Makes it a Class C misdemeanor for a person regulated under the water pollution control laws to willfully or recklessly violate certain water pollution control rules or to negligently violate certain permit conditions or permit filing requirements. Makes a technical correction.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 218– Annual Reporting of Recycling Activities

Author Sen. Ed Charbonneau – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Requires a person that recycles recyclable materials (including a recyclable materials broker and the owner or operator of a composting facility, a waste tire processing operation, a resource recovery facility, a waste-to-energy facility, or a solid waste disposal facility at which recycling occurs) to submit annually to the commissioner of the department of environmental management (commissioner) a completed recycling activity report concerning the recycling activities or waste-to-energy activities conducted by the person during the year. Requires the commissioner to post on the department's Internet web site a uniform recycling activity report form to be used in making the annual recycling activity reports. Requires the commissioner to submit to the environmental quality service council an annual written report summarizing the information obtained through the recycling activity reports submitted to the commissioner.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 267- Infrastructure Improvement Costs

Author Sen. James Merritt – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Provides that a public utility that provides water or wastewater service may petition the utility regulatory commission for an adjustment of its basic rates and charges to allow for recovery of eligible infrastructure improvement costs. (Current law provides that only a public utility that provides water service may apply for a distribution system improvement charge.) Requires a public utility to annually reconcile the difference between its utility rate improvement adjustment revenues and infrastructure improvement costs. Repeals definitions related to distribution system improvement charges. Makes conforming amendments.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 302- Nuclear Energy Projects

Author Sen. James Merritt – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Provides that projects involving the construction of nuclear energy production or generating facilities qualify for the financial incentives available for clean energy projects. (Current law provides that only projects involving the life cycle management of such facilities qualify for the incentives.) For purposes of the statute governing the incentives, amends the definition of: (1) "nuclear energy production or generating facility" to include a facility constructed in Indiana after June 30, 2014; and (2) "qualified utility system expenses" to specify that the term includes preconstruction costs and applies to a new energy production or generating facility or a new nuclear energy production or generating facility.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 303- Pipeline safety

Author Sen. James Merritt – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Makes the following changes to the Indiana statute governing pipeline safety to reflect similar provisions in federal law: (1) Increases the amount of the civil penalty for a violation of the statute from $25,000 per violation per day that the violation persists to $200,000 per violation per day that the violation persists. (2) Increases the maximum civil penalty from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 for any related series of violations.  Click here to view the bill.

 

SB 333- Underground Utility Plant Protection

Author Sen. Michael Crider – Failed to receive 2nd and 3rd Reading by deadline.

Amends the statute concerning the location and protection of underground utility facilities (facilities) during excavation or demolition activities to change a reference to "hydroexcavators" to "hydraulic excavators" to more accurately describe equipment used by excavators. Requires, with respect to an excavation or demolition in an unincorporated area, the excavator to submit a separate locate request and notice of the excavation or demolition (notice) to the Indiana Underground Plant Protection Service (association) for at least every 2,640 linear feet (versus every 2,500 linear feet under current law) of proposed excavation or demolition. Provides that a notice expires 20 days after the date the notice is submitted to the association. Provides that if, at the conclusion of the 20 day period, any part of the excavation or demolition is not complete at any part of the site for which the original notice was submitted, the excavator may not continue or resume the excavation or demolition at any part of the site for which the original notice was submitted until: (1) the excavator submits to the association a new locate request and notice for that part of the site for which the excavation or demolition is not complete; and (2) each affected utility operator provides facility locate markings for that part of the site for which the new locate request and notice are submitted. Makes technical changes.  Click here to view the bill.