1/26 Hendricks County Chambers Weekly Statehouse Update
- General Statehouse Update
- Hendricks County Chambers Update
- Action Items
- Important Dates
General Statehouse Update
Priorities Make Progress
As next week’s committee deadlines approach, the House passed two major priority bills that now head to the Senate. HB 1001 would support technical education by allowing high school graduates to use 21st Century Scholars Program and Frank O’Bannon grants for apprenticeships, and is trailer legislation to last year’s HEA 1002. HB 1004, which passed unanimously, would give retired public employees a 13th check to supplement their retirement incomes.
While Republican priority legislation advanced in the House, the Senate voted 38-10 to pass SB 234, a bill that would limit the Governor’s executive powers. In what is clearly a response to Governor Holcomb’s handling of the COVID-19 epidemic, the legislation prohibits the extension of a 30 day state of emergency declaration except for the sole purpose of receiving federal funds.
Fiscal Matters in a Non Budget Year
The hot button topic of child care also received plenty of attention. SB 147, which would grant a property tax exemption to for-profit early childhood education providers with the goal of lowering costs, received a hearing but wasn’t given a vote in Senate Tax and Fiscal on Tuesday. Expect amendments and a vote next week. Another priority bill, SB 2, passed unanimously out of Senate Appropriations following Health Committee approval the week before. That bill seeks to reduce regulations for child care workers and programs in order to increase access.
Last week’s update covered the HB 1199 debate in Ways and Means over whether a special downtown Indianapolis taxing district created last year should be repealed. In a vote held Wednesday, the measure passed 15-9 after amending a separate bill to allow the Indianapolis City-Council Council to impose a county-wide local impact tax to use for downtown improvements.
Transportation Bills Are a Mixed Bag
HB 1308, which would have allowed 75 mile per hour speed limits in rural areas, died in committee this week for lack of a vote. Senator Aaron Freeman’s (R-Indianapolis) SB 108 to void “no right on red” policies is dead too, but a compromise was added in the form of an amendment to his SB 52 concerning dedicated lanes for IndyGo transit. Instead of accepting a retroactive ban, Indianapolis would have to stop installing “no right on red” signs until July 1, 2025. SB 52 is currently awaiting its final Senate vote before moving to the House for consideration.
This and That
Some of Indiana’s conservative alcohol laws could ease with the passage of HB 1086. The measure would allow restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout and offer happy hour pricing specials on drinks. The bill passed out of committee 12-1, and is now awaiting a full House vote.
The IEDC will have to disclose intended land purchases exceeding 100 acres in a county as a result of SB 295. This is yet another response to the Boone County LEAP District that has drawn criticism from residents.
Two bills touching on religion also received hearings in their respective chambers’ education committees on Wednesday. HB 1137 would allow parents to take children out of school for religious instruction and SB 50 would allow a school administrator to employ a school chaplain. HB 1137 passed out of committee unanimously and SB 50 passed out along party lines, 9-4.
Legislators have just days left to move bills out of committee. The House’s deadline is Tuesday and the Senate’s is Thursday, so expect some long committee meetings as the clock winds down on the first half of Session.
Hendricks County Chambers Update
Another busy week for Chamber-related issues before the Indiana General Assembly! Let’s dig right in …
Last week, we told you about the House Republican priority bill the House Education Committee heard HB 1001 which is this year’s omnibus workforce bill and a trailer bill to HEA 1002 from last year. This legislation seeks to “reinvent high school” and allows students access to state funding for Career Scholarship Accounts (CSAs) for workforce training in high school (up to $5000 per student for job training). The bill was recommitted last week to House Ways and Means but there were still concerns by House Democrats that the bill was creating unnecessary competition between grant dollars for students wishing to use the funds for post-secondary attainment vs. workforce training. Despite this, the bill passed the full House 80-17 and heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Another workforce bill HB 1165 passed out of the House Government and Regulatory Reform committee this week. Legislation by Rep. Jake Teshka (R-South Bend) the bill creates a regulatory sandbox and a Right to Start program and seeks to assist new businesses grow and succeed in Indiana. Specifically, the bill requires the state to encourage 5% of the total number of state contracts to be awarded to Indiana-based businesses that have been in operation for fewer than five years. It also requires the state to encourage 5% of workforce development funding, including funding allocated by workforce development boards across Indiana, to be used to support organizations or programs for individuals starting new businesses in Indiana And by July 1, 2025, the bill requires the Secretary of State to eliminate the fees for filing the articles of incorporation of a domestic business corporation. Last week the bill was held but it moved out of committee 10-3 and recommitted to House Ways and Means. The bill has not yet been scheduled for its second committee, and it must be heard no later than Tuesday or it would be considered dead for the session.
Meanwhile, many childcare bills are on the move in the first half of session. The Senate Health Committee debated SB 2 - the Senate Republican priority bill dealing with childcare and passed it unanimously to be recommitted to Senate Appropriations Committee. As a reminder, this legislation specifically addresses regulations that are hindering accessibility of childcare. Provisions in the bill comes from recommendations from last year’s interim study committee of the Public Health Committee, establishing pilot “micro-facilities” and lowering the minimum age of childcare workers. It also seeks to allow childcare workers access to childcare credits for their own children (a significant perk to employment). The bill was heard in Senate Appropriations this week with limited testimony and passed out unanimously. The bill will be eligible by the full House next week.
Other childcare-related bills are moving - HB 1102 was heard in House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee and the introduced bill allowed providers to operate class 1 childcare homes with or without a license with corresponding regulatory oversight - a significant concern for many advocates. Fortunately, the bill was significantly amended in committee that would remove this problematic language and replace it with more modest licensing changes and some limitations on the ability of local governments to use zoning ordinances to prohibit the operation of home-based childcare. The bill was held for a week but passed out of House Family, Children and Human Affairs by a vote of 8-4 and now heads to the full House for further amendments and a final vote. Advocates are much more comfortable with the language of the bill now but we will keep our eyes open for further developments.
Meanwhile, SB 153 a childcare bill authored by Sen. Linda Rogers is also moving. This bill has some provisions also in SB 2 and also extends limited eligibility for On My Way Pre-K to the children of those receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Affairs Administration. This bill passed out of Senate Family and Children Committee unanimously and was recommitted to Senate Appropriations where it is awaiting a second hearing. I would anticipate that many of these Senate-led childcare bills will merge into a single bill (likely SB 2) before the end of session.
And finally, SB 147 was heard on Tuesday in Senate Tax and Fiscal Committee. Another bill authored by Sen. Rogers, this legislation deals with property tax deductions for businesses that have on-site childcare for employees. A number of chambers testified in support of this legislation and the bill will be heard for a second time in committee this upcoming week. I would anticipate that many of these childcare-related bills will be merged into one comprehensive omnibus bill in the coming weeks.
Here is the live link to your bill track for 2023.
- Please review your bill track and let me know of any bills of interest to you.
Tuesday, January 30th - House Committee Report Deadline
Thursday, February 1st - House 2nd Reading Deadline
Thursday, February 1st - Senate Committee Report Deadline
Monday, February 5th - House 3rd Reading Deadline
Monday, February 5th - Senate 2nd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, February 6th - Senate 3rd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, February 27th - House Committee Report Deadline
Thursday, February 29th - House 2nd Reading Deadline
Thursday, February 29th - Senate Committee Report Deadline
Monday, March 4th - House 3rd Reading Deadline
Monday, March 4th - Senate 2nd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, March 5th - Senate 3rd Reading Deadline
Thursday, March 14 - Last Day to Adjourn Sine Die