The Indiana General Assembly is set to meet in a special session on Monday, Nov. 29 to consider a bill that would restrict businesses' ability to require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees. It would also require businesses to administer weekly testing for all unvaccinated employees. Click here to view the draft legislation.
The legislation is in response to a federal mandate that would require businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines for all employees. To give feedback to state legislators representing parts of Monroe County, find their contact information in the Chamber's Elected Officials Directory.
The City of Bloomington will offer free street parking downtown and in city garages from Thursday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 28 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and to support downtown businesses. Parking will be free on the following days throughout the holiday season:
At its Nov. 15 meeting, the Bloomington Plan Commission approved the next step in the Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County's Osage Place development. The approval related to 5.34 acres for 30 residential houses and three common areas. The site is located at 650 W. Guy Avenue and is part of a larger 12.5-acre project there.
Construction has already begun and the first houses are expected to be completed by early 2022.
Watch the Plan Commission discussion on CATS here. Read the proposal from the meeting packet here.
The City of Bloomington has signed a letter of intent with Meridiam to build and operate a citywide broadband network for residents, including areas anticipated to be annexed into the city. A final agreement is expected to be inked by Dec. 31, with construction starting in 2022.
According to a press release, the international company plans to invest more than $40 million in digital infrastructure in the coming years.
Read the city's press release here.
Monroe County will partner with Indiana University as one of ten High-Tech Crime Units in the state, according to a press release from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. The units will assist Indiana's prosecutors with processing digital evidence to enable faster turnaround for investigations.
Other counties funded for this project are Allen, Dearborn, Delaware, Knox, Lake, Madison, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Vigo.
Read the full release here.
An ordinance to amend Bloomington's Municipal Code regarding the pet shop sale of cats and dogs will have its first reading at the Nov. 17 Bloomington Council meeting.
This policy proposal follows nationwide efforts by the Humane Society of the United States to decrease the number of puppy and kitten mills across the country. Legislators hope that by outlawing the sale of cats and dogs in local pet stores, a disincentive will be created for mill owners to exercise inhumane breeding practices. Stores will still be allowed to partner with shelters or other rescue organizations to feature pet adoptions, however.
To view a copy of this proposed ordinance, follow this link.
A group of over 200 people heard from economists and economic development experts at the 2021 Business Outlook Luncheon, co-sponsored by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Rotary Club. The Nov. 9 event was held at IU Alumni Hall.
Panelists were Kyle Anderson and Jennifer Lynn Rice of the IU Kelley School of Business, Ryan Brewer of the IU Columbus Division of Business, and Jennifer Pearl of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp.
Watch a recording of the event here.
At the Bloomington Council's Nov. 3 meeting, John Zody, director of the city's Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) department, gave an update on housing initiatives.
He reported that since 2016, 1,132 units of affordable housing (1,672 bedrooms) have been created in the city. He described a range of city resources, including rental inspections, the housing development fund and plans for the hospital site redevelopment.
Watch the presentation on CATS here. View the presentation's slide deck here.
An advisory group has recommended boundary changes to precincts in Monroe County as part of this year’s redistricting process. The changes need to be approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. Click here for details.
The Indiana Elections Division deadline for changes to precinct boundaries is Nov. 12. Monroe County Commissioners are expected to vote on the recommended changes on Nov. 10. When the county sets the precinct boundaries, the Bloomington Council will address redistricting of city council districts. The city also has an advisory group to make recommendations, though no appointments have been made to that group yet.
The state’s deadline for making changes to districts is Dec. 26.
Penny Githens, a Democrat who currently serves on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, has announced her candidacy for the Indiana House of Representatives in District 62.
The redrawn District 62 will be an open seat. Current Rep. Jeff Ellington, a Republican, announced plans to move and run in District 45 next year. Republican Dave Hall, a Jackson County resident, also is running for the District 62 seat.
District 62 covers portions of Monroe, Jackson and Brown counties.