Second Half of 2018 Legislative Session Underway


Second Half of 2018 Legislative Session Underway

  The second half of the legislative session is underway and it comes with the announcement of the retirement of one of the stalwarts of Indiana politics. Senator David Long (R-Fort Wayne), Senate President since 2007, plans to retire in November after 22 years of service as a state senator. In all, His public service spans over 30 years. 

  The last weeks of session will likely go by in a flash. With four more weeks left in the legislative session, there are multiple issues still left to be considered.

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.  HB 1050 passed the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology yesterday by a vote of 9-1. HB 1050 will now be considered by the entire Senate for potential amendments and a vote.

  • 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. SB 125 passed the entire Senate and will now move over to the House of Representatives to be considered further.    

  • 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 the 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 be considered by the Senate Utilities Committee next Thursday. 

  • 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.

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 are moving in the legislative process and have the support to pass. Senate Bill 1 passed the House Public Policy Committee on Wednesday and was amended to change the effective date of the law from July 1, 2018 to effective immediately. This slight change means that as soon as the bill becomes law, the law becomes effective. Generally, laws passed during session have an effective date of the following July. SB 1 will now be considered by the entire House of Representatives.

  • Redistricting Reform- A bill that would specify the criteria that needs to be considered by lawmakers when they rewrite legislative district maps has passed the Senate. Senate Bill 326, authored by Senator Greg Walker (R-Columbus), would give lawmakers more guidance when considering changes to legislative district maps. SB 326 will now have to go through the same process in the House of Representatives to become law. 

  Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.


Eric Augustus
Executive Director, IUSA