Indiana Legislature Nears the Second Half of Session

5
February

Indiana Legislature Nears the Second Half of Session

  The week of February 4th marks the halfway point of the 2018 legislative session and legislators will work Monday and Tuesday before having a few days off leading up to the second half of session. When they return to Indianapolis the following week, they'll only have five weeks left to finish the state's business. 

  All legislation that may be eligible for passage during the second half of session must pass either the entire House of Representatives or the entire Senate the week before the break. Here are some of the issues that are still alive and will be eligible for passage during the second half of session:

Utility Specific Legislation:

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. SB 362 passed the Senate and now moves to House of Representatives for further consideration. 

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. HB 1267 passed the House of Representatives and will now be considered by the Senate.

Senate Bill 361, authored by Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), is similar to HB 1267 and would also create a water infrastructure taskforce. SB 361 passed the Senate and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

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.  HB 1050 passed the House of Representatives and will now be heard by the Senate.

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. SB125 passed out of committee and will now be considered by the entire Senate.  

Other Legislation of Note:

  • Sunday Alcohol Sales- It seems that a change is coming to when Hoosiers can buy alcohol. Two bills that would allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays is moving in the legislative process and it seems like they have the support to pass. Both Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1051 passed their respective house of origin and will be considered further in the second half of session.
  • Redistricting Reform- A bill that would specify the criteria that needs to be considered by lawmakers when they rewrite legislative district maps will be voted on next week by the entire Senate. Senate Bill 326, authored by Senator Greg Walker (R-Columbus), would give lawmakers more guidance when considering changes to legislative district maps.

Other News:

 The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission released the list of potential candidates to fill the role of IURC Commissioner that was vacated by the retirement of Jim Atterholt. Candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday, February 6th to fill the term that expires Jan. 31st, 2020. A nominating committee will provide Governor Holcomb with three names to choose from to be the next IURC Commissioner. The candidates to be considered for the position are:

  • Eric Hand
  • Stefanie Krevda
  • Allen Mounts
  • Rep. David Ober
  • Michael Shaver
  • Marcus Turner
  • Tristan Vance

  There is a lot of work to be done in second half of the legislative session. Stay tuned for more updates from me in the coming weeks.

Sincerely, 

Eric Augustus
Executive Director, IUSA