On behalf of the business community, the Indiana Chamber’s lobbying team testified on a variety of bills last week, including:
HB 1262 – Return and Complete Grant: The Chamber testified in support; the bill would provide opportunities and incentives for students who previously left college to make an easier transition back into school and then into the workforce.
HB 1319 – Acquisition of Distressed Utilities: The Chamber testified in support of a fair, reasonable and effective development of our Indiana water infrastructure. This bill has the potential to do
just that and incentivize new investment, especially in rural Indiana.
HB 1624 – Sale of Alcoholic Beverages: The Chamber testified in
support of Sunday sales but had to oppose the amended bill because
of the onerous regulations and unacceptable costs it now places on liquor store competitors, aka retailers.
SB 1 – State Board Governance: The Chamber testified in support of this bill, which seeks to allow the State Board of Education to elect its own chair in order to have a more effective body. However, we believe the Governor, as the executive branch leader, should be allowed to control the appointment process for State Board members.
SB 177 – Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Costs: The Chamber testified in support, pointing out that this bill allows the water and wastewater utility to make the necessary improvements in a strategic manner, plus the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has approval authority to keep the costs in check.
SB 306 – Limited Liability Arising From Trespassing: The Chamber testified in support, believing that property owners should not owe duty to trespassers (as outlined in this bill).
SB 348 – Advanced Technology Vehicles: The Chamber testified in support because hybrid, electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles currently get a “free ride” as they do not pay fuel taxes that support the state’s roads and highway infrastructure.
SB 373 – Funding of Lawsuits: The Chamber testified in opposition, noting that the preferred regulation of the “lawsuit lending” industry would be with a cap on interest rates and the measures that were presented in the House version (HB 1340).
SB 394 – Reporting of Government Malfeasance: The Chamber testified in support, appreciating the efforts of the bill to help persuade local government employees to speak up without fear of repercussion if they have reason to suspect official misconduct.
SB 416 – Employee’s Right to Scheduled Employment: The Chamber testified in opposition, voicing concerns over the difficulty this bill would place on employers and their ability to be flexible in scheduling employees for work.
SB 436 – State and Local Taxation: The Chamber testified in support of the personal property tax exemption for small businesses but voiced displeasure over the 30% depreciation floor provision being removed and the proposed assessment methods (support in part/oppose in part).
SB 479 – Evaluation of Solid Waste Management Districts (SWMDs): The Chamber testified in support, stating that the overall mission, funding and accountability of the SWMDs should be carefully reconsidered.
SB 568 – Religious Freedom Restoration Act: The Chamber testified in opposition, focusing mainly on the concern that this would place employers in the position of having to determine the legitimacy of religious belief claims and expose those employers to unwarranted legal action.
SR 8 – Guidance for Chemical Facilities for Requirements Under the Environmental Stewardship Program: The Chamber testified in support, citing that recognition provided by the state’s Environmental Stewardship Program should promote a more aggressive safe-handling program for chemicals.