Final Legislative Report
The Indiana General Assembly wrapped up its 2016 session in early March. The Chamber identified several pieces of legislation that fell within our Legislative Agenda priorities that we supported, as well as several bills that we were monitoring. Among the top issues addressed during the session were ISTEP and infrastructure funding for road maintenance and construction. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the legislation The Chamber tracked this session based on our 2016 Legislative Agenda. A full list of bills can be found here.
BUSINESS TAXATION & REGULATION - Foster a pro-business climate to attract and retain business in Bloomington and Indiana
In January, The Chamber reiterated our support of efforts to expand the state's civil rights law to include protection for sexual orientation and gender identity. SB 2, SB 100, SB 170, and SB 344 are just a few bills introduced this session that The Chamber monitored for this topic. Unfortunately, lawmakers could not come to an agreement and failed to pass civil rights legislation. In order to recruit new business, appeal to top talent, and grow the state's economy, Indiana must be a state that welcomes all. The Chamber is optimistic lawmakers will address this again next session.
SB 308 and HB 1290 both passed to address the "dark box" property tax assessment issue. Lawmakers hope the bills provide relief to local governments that have lost tax revenue due to a valuation method of commercial property that uses closed and sold stores as comparison in determining the value of newer stores. This "dark box" valuation method usually results in lowering the properties' assessed values. The bills establish a method known as "market segmentation," in which property types are evaluated based on where they fall into specific market classes.
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT - Create education opportunities to ensure an intelligent, high-skilled workforce
ISTEP became a priority this session after receiving a lot of negative news for its irregularities, scoring errors, length, delays in scores, and taking away from valuable classroom time. HB 1395 ended the ISTEP after 2017 and created a 23-member panel to review alternatives for the future. Lawmakers also passed HB 1003 and SB 200 to address negative impacts from the 2015 scores - including teacher pay and school A-F grades.
The legislature appropriated $10 million in HB 1001, the road funding legislation that passed, to award college scholarships to future teachers as a way to address the teacher shortage in our state. Recipients must teach in Indiana for five consecutive years upon graduation.
HEALTHCARE - Promote education and awareness opportunities that help local businesses manage their health care costs
The Governor worked with the General Assembly to pass SB 165 - Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). This bill repeals the former HIP plan and codifies the current HIP 2.0 into statute. HIP 2.0 is an alternative to the Medicaid system and requires participants to make contributions to their Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) accounts, similar to a health-savings account.
INFRASTRUCTURE & JOB CREATION - Develop and maintain a superior state and local framework that supports the needs of business
Infrastructure was another priority this session and The Chamber advocated for a long-term road funding plan, closely monitoring HB 1001, HB 1042, HB 1131, SB 67, SB 333, and SB 338. Indiana ended up with a short-term road funding package and a commitment from legislators to address a long-term solution during the 2017 budget session. The compromise lawmakers passed will put $230 million into state highway projects and give $580 million to city and county governments for road projects.
The Chamber took a lead role in advocating for SB 128 which would have allowed the County Council of Monroe County to adopt an ordinance to impose an additional local income tax rate to fund county transit projects. This bill, authored by Senator Mark Stoops, would have provided critical access to mass transit for citizens in non-served areas of Monroe County and the surrounding region. A common barrier for some of our employers in the County is access to our workforce, and SB 128 would have provided transportation to a broader audience of workers to access employment areas. The Chamber collaborated with our members, local officials, the BEDC, Blooming Public Transportation Corporation, Rural Transit, and others to move the bill forward. The bill did not get a hearing in the House, but The Chamber looks forward to working with our elected officials in the coming months, and we are hopeful to see the bill passed next session.
SB 2: Prohibited discrimination in civil rights statutes - Defeated
SB 8: Alcohol permits and sales - Defeated
SB 16: Alcoholic beverages - Defeated
SB 66: Civil Rights - Defeated
SB 67: Supplemental distributions of local income tax - Passed
S 03/23/2016 Public Law 126
SB 88: Solid waste management district taxing power - Defeated
SB 100: Civil Rights - Defeated
SB 128: Monroe County public transit funding - Defeated
SB 170: Civil Rights- Defeated
SB 211: Minimum Wage - Defeated
SB 308: Local Tax Matters - Passed
S 03/24/2016 Public Law 180
SB 308: State and local taxation - Passed
S 03/23/2016 Public Law 150
SB 333: Road funding and regional cities program - Defeated
SB 338: Local transportation funding - Defeated
SB 344: Civil Rights - Defeated
SB 366: Solid waste management districts – Passed
S 03/24/2016 Public Law 189
HB 1001: Road Funding - Passed
H 03/23/2016 Public Law 145
HB 1003: Teach Evaluations - Passed
H 03/24/2016 Public Law 2
HB 1011: Work sharing unemployment benefit - Defeated
HB 1014: Work sharing unemployment benefits - Defeated
HB 1018: Sales tax exemption for drainage water management - Defeated
HB 1025: Alternate rezoning procedure - Passed
H 03/24/2016 Public Law 192
HB 1026: Property tax relief - Defeated
HB 1053: Regulation of packaging materials - Passed
H 03/23/2016 Public Law 150
HB 1059: City and town fiscal matters - Defeated
HB 1079: Single sex facility trespass - Defeated
HB 1082: Environmental rules and standards - Vetoed
HB 1191: Uniform municipal food and beverage tax - Defeated
HB 1221: Advisory public question on LGBT civil rights - Defeated
HB 1328: Paid sick leave for certain employees - Defeated
HB 1330: Education matters - Passed
H 03/23/2016 Public Law 169
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