From the Lobbying Team at 1816 Public Affairs Group:

Yesterday marked the end of the second week of the 2022 legislative session. The House and Senate convened for session on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

Indianapolis buzzed with activity throughout the weekend and on Monday because of the College Football National Championship, and that energy bled over into a busy week at the statehouse. The legislature held 36 committee hearings, Governor Holcomb gave the State of the State Address, and Chief Justice Rush gave the State of the Judiciary.

We expect the fast pace and energy to carry forward for the rest of session, especially given that first half deadlines (Jan. 31 & Feb. 1) are already in sight.

This Week

Several bills continued to move through the process this week. The House considered 60 bills in committee and the Senate considered 59.

Among the bills that moved on the House floor this week were:

  • HB 1004 Department of Correction (90-3)
  • HB 1077 Firearms Matters (63-29)
  • HB 1094 Career and Technical Education (88-0)
  • HB 1147 Seed Tests (85-1)

Among the bills that moved on the Senate floor this week was:

  • SB 95 Coverage for Living Organ Donors (45-1)

The Week Ahead

Both chambers will be quite busy during session next week. Neither the House nor the Senate will convene on Monday – in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday – but once they return to the statehouse on Tuesday, there will be non-stop activity until Thursday evening.

There are already 24 committees scheduled for next week – with more sure to be added – and we expect both chambers to spend significant time in caucus discussing key bills that will be considered on the floor.

Among the bills on the Senate floor calendar next week are:

  • SB 1 Automatic Taxpayer Refund (2nd reading)
  • SB 3 Administrative Authority (2nd reading)
  • SB 85 Drainage Task Force (2nd reading)
  • SB 136 Dental Plans and Access to Dental Networks (2nd reading)
  • SB 268 Colorectal Cancer Screening Coverage (2nd reading)
  • SB 298 Certificates of Public Advantage (2nd reading)
  • SB 124 Motor Vehicle Operation & Turn Signals (3rd reading)
  • SB 129 Seed Tests (3rd reading)

Among the bills on the House floor calendar next week are:

  • HB 1001 Administrative Authority & COVID-19 Immunizations (3rd reading)
  • HB 1093 Education Matters (3rd reading)
  • HB 1111 Utility Regulatory Commission Reporting and Rules (3rd reading)

Next week will be a busy week for committee hearings in the House and Senate, and several key bills are likely to move.

Among the bills to be heard in House committees next week are:

  • HB 1173 Various Elections Matters (Elections – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1238 Insurance Matters (Insurance – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1021 Horse Racing Veterinarians (Agriculture – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1149 Home Based Vendors (Agriculture – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1226 Solid Waste Matters (Environmental Affairs – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1298 Sales and Sampling at Farmers Markets (Pub. Policy – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1299 Permit Transfers and Tax Hold Extensions (Pub. Policy – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1209 Carbon Sequestration Projects (Natural Resources – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1249 Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project (Natural Resources – Jan. 18)
  • HB 1106 Eminent Domain (Local Government – Jan. 19)

Among the bills to be heard in Senate committees next week are:

  • SB 7 Marion County Crime Reduction Pilot (Corrections – Jan. 18)
  • SB 10 Marion County Violent Crime Reduction Pilot (Corrections – Jan. 18)
  • SB 4 Local Workforce Recruiting and Retention (Tax – Jan. 18)
  • SB 111 Equine Dentistry (Agriculture – Jan. 18)
  • SB 388 Foreign Business Ownership of Agricultural Land (Agriculture – Jan. 18)
  • SB 328 Elections (Elections – Jan. 18)
  • SB 71 Absentee Voting for the Elderly and Disabled (Elections – Jan. 18)
  • SB 380 Education Policy Committee (Education – Jan. 19)
  • SB 343 Agritourism Activities (Judiciary – Jan. 19)
  • SB 14 Firearms Matters (Judiciary – Jan. 19)
  • SB 245 Statewide Sports and Tourism Bid Fund (Appropriations – Jan. 20)
  • SB 176 Agricultural Land Used for Wind and Solar Energy (Utilities – Jan. 20)
  • SB 271 Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (Utilities – Jan. 20)
  • SB 146 Attachments to Electric Distribution Poles (Utilities – Jan. 20)

We will continue to keep you apprised of the happenings at the statehouse. Please reach out with any questions or thoughts.

ACI Bill Track
COVID-19 Bill Tracker

Senate and House Ag Committees Meet

On Monday, January 10, both the Senate and House Ag Committees met. ACI President Amy Cornell, offered support in committee for several bills:

  • SB 129 (Seed tests) and HB 1147 (Seed tests) allow for seed lab fees to no longer undercut industry, eliminate a separate category of <1lb agricultural seed packages and set microorganism rulemaking authority. The bills moved out of committee 8-0 and 12-0 respectively.
  • SB 177 (Veterinary medicine) and HB 1148 (Veterinary medicine) create the Indiana Center for Animal Policy (ICAP) that would serve as an umbrella for bringing together the Board of Animal Health and the Board of Veterinary Medicine. The bills moved out of committee 7-0 and 12-0 respectively.

Later that morning the Senate Natural Resources Committee also heard SB 85 (Drainage Task Force). The proposed legislation would establish a drainage task force to:  (1) review the responsibilities of landowners and state and local authorities under current laws relating to the drainage of land; (2) make certain determinations concerning drainage and regulatory matters; and (3) determine whether a balance between state authority and local authority over draining of agricultural land favors state authority more in Indiana than in neighboring states. ACI President, Amy Cornell, testified in support of the bill. After a small change in committee to expand the Task Force, the bill moved out of committee 6-0.

State of the State Recap from 1816 Public Affairs Group:

Tonight, Governor Holcomb delivered the 2022 State of the State address. The Governor used the occasion to provide a comprehensive progress report, celebrating accomplishments and identifying opportunities to enhance quality of life for all Hoosiers by strengthening the economy, reskilling the workforce, and expanding and investing in the state’s infrastructure.
The Governor specifically thanked law enforcement officers, frontline workers still grappling with the pandemic, and everyone who helped with the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
On Fiscal Management:
The Governor touted the state’s fiscal management and budget outlook, stating, “Sound fiscal management over time has become our state’s reputation.” He cited accomplishments like nine straight balanced budgets, a AAA credit rating, a $3.9B reserve, a $545M tax refund for Hoosiers,  an extra $1.1B investment in the teachers’ pension fund, and a 24% state debt reduction since 2017.
Governor Holcomb reiterated his desire to eliminate the 30% business personal property tax floor on new equipment to ensure Indiana is competitive with surrounding states.
On the Economy:
The Governor highlighted the state’s number 1 ranking in GDP growth among surrounding states. Indiana’s GDP has grown from $353B in 2017 to $415B now. He also mentioned that Indiana ranks number 1 in personal income growth and population growth among neighboring states. Indiana ranks 6th in the nation for inbound migration. The unemployment rate – 3% - is the lowest since 2000.
On Jobs and Business Investment:
According to the Governor, the last four years have been record-breaking years for investment and job commitments. In 2021, the IEDC set all-time records in new capital investment ($8.7B), new payroll ($1.8B), and new job commitments (31,700).
On Renewable Energy:
Governor Holcomb said, “more and more solar projects are cropping up all across our state . . . these industries make Indiana the shiny new buckle on what used to be known as the old rust belt.”
On Education:
The Governor noted that a record $1.9B in new dollars will be invested in K-12 education over the next biennium, and the tuition support formula is being increased by 9%. In 2021, 85% of school corporations raised teacher salaries by an average of $1,800, and 80% of schools will meet the goal of $40,000/year for new teacher salaries.
The DOE is adding more pathway programs and several accelerated learning programs. He also called for the DOE to make progress on strengthening the teacher pipeline and attracting a diverse pool of educators.
On Workforce:
Governor Holcomb spoke about the success of the Workforce Ready and Employer Training Grant programs. More than 52,000 Hoosiers have enrolled in the Workforce Ready program and, on average, enrollees saw an average wage gain og $6,800/year. 41,000 Hoosiers have participated in the Employer Training Program and achieved an average pay raise of $4,000.
On Public Health:
The Governor cited progress on public health, in areas like reducing infant mortality, but recognized that there is still much work to be done. He specifically mentioned critically low rankings in obesity, smoking, and childhood immunizations.
The Lieutenant Governor is committed to addressing mental health issues in Indiana by expanding access to services, growing the workforce, rolling out the federal suicide hotline, and reducing the stigma of mental heath challenges.
On Infrastructure:
Governor Holcomb is focused on building a 21st century infrastructure network to link Hoosiers to each other, the nation, and the world. The state is deploying $60B to expand and enhance roads and bridges over 30 years, and the Governor specifically cited the near-completion of the I-69 project.
The Governor spoke glowingly of two transformational commuter rail projects – the South Shore double track and the West Lake Corridor.
Nearly $420M has been committed to water infrastructure, and $780M has been committed for capital projects like a new state archives building, correctional facility, deaf and blind schools, and a new inn at Potato Creek State park.
On Broadband:
The Governor gave a brief update on broadband, and the nearly $350M allocated to deliver broadband to everyone in Indiana. He said that the state has received more than $600M in requests for broadband service.
On Regional Development:
The Governor highlighted the success of the $500M READI grant program which is designed to accelerate economic growth and improve quality of life throughout Indiana’s regions.