CONTACT your Legislators to Register your Support for these Important Bills!

October, 2019

Public Transportation—SB285

SB285 is intended to enable communities across Indiana to raise dedicated funds for mass transit. (Public transportation lowers demand for fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions contributing to climate change.)

 

Summary of SB285 (LegiScan.com):

Regional transit expansion.

Allows counties to impose an additional local income tax rate to fund the operations of a public transportation corporation and the operations of a rural transportation assistance program if the: (1) voters of the county approve a local public question; and (2) fiscal body of the county adopts an ordinance to impose the additional tax rate.

Provides that the rate must be at least 0.1% but not more than 0.25%. Excludes from this provision any county that is eligible to hold a referendum on funding transportation projects under the central Indiana public transportation projects statute.


 

CFO Regulation—HB1378

This legislation aims to impose, for the first time, air pollution limits on factory farms. It would also establish protective setbacks—a buffer zone between factory farms and nearby homes, public places, and environmentally-sensitive resources.

 

Summary of HB1378 (LegiScan.com):

Regulation of confined feeding operations.

Amends the law on confined feeding operations (CFOs), which include any confined feeding of at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, 30,000 fowl, or 500 horses.

Provides for the department of environmental management (IDEM) to issue CFO permits instead of “approvals.”

Provides that a person that owns a CFO, owns the livestock in a CFO, applies for a permit, permit renewal, or permit modification for a CFO, or is otherwise in direct or responsible charge of a CFO, is a “responsible party” with respect to the CFO and must disclose certain information.

Provides that a person may not start construction or operation of a CFO without obtaining a permit from IDEM and may not modify a CFO without obtaining a permit modification from IDEM.

Provides that the application for a permit or permit modification must be accompanied by: (1) plans and specifications prepared or certified by a professional engineer; (2) certain site-specific information; and (3) a site-specific air pollution control plan.

Requires IDEM to: (1) provide public access to a permit application through IDEM’s virtual file cabinet; (2) publish a notice requesting public comments on the application; (3) allow interested persons to submit written comments; and (4) hold a public hearing on the permit application upon written request.

Requires the commissioner of IDEM (commissioner) to deny an application for a permit or permit modification if the proposed activity would substantially endanger public health or the environment.

Authorizes IDEM to revoke a CFO permit if necessary to prevent or abate a substantial endangerment to public health or the environment.

Requires the environmental rules board (board) to adopt rules establishing: (1) limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions; and (2) requirements and prohibitions applying to new CFOs, CFOs proposed for expansion, and other existing CFOs.

Provides that the rules must prohibit a new or expanded CFO from being located within one mile of a residence unless the owner of the residence consents to a lesser setback or the commissioner determines that the CFO’s air pollution control plan will prevent the CFO from exceeding the limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions established by the rules of the board.

Makes technical corrections.


Net Metering—SB430 and HB1331

SB430 restores net metering, and HB1331 reduces burdens on potential solar panel owners who are part of homeowner associations.

 

Summary of SB430 (LegiScan.com):

Elimination of net metering phase out.

Eliminates provisions under which net metering (an arrangement under which an electric utility’s customer who has equipment for the production of electricity and who intermittently supplies electricity from that equipment to the electric utility is credited for the electricity that the customer supplies to the electric utility) would be partially ended by 2032 and completely ended by 2047.

Eliminates a limit on the aggregate amount of an electric utility’s net metering facility nameplate capacity that can be made available for customers’ participation in net metering.

Provides instead that the net metering facility nameplate capacity that an electric utility makes available for customers’ participation in net metering must be at least 3% of the electric utility’s most recent summer peak load.

Provides that, of the net metering facility nameplate capacity made available for customers’ participation in net metering, 30% must be reserved for participation by residential customers and not more than 5% must be reserved for participation by customers that install net metering facilities that use organic waste biomass.

 

Summary of HB1331 (LegiScan.com):

Homeowners associations.

Provides that, subject to certain specified exceptions, a homeowners association may not: (1) prohibit the owner of a dwelling unit from installing a solar energy system; (2) impose unreasonable limitations on the owner’s ability to install or use a solar energy system; or (3) require the removal of a solar energy system that has been installed.

Provides, however, that a homeowners association may require: (1) compliance with screening requirements imposed by the homeowners association; and (2) preapproval of the location of a solar energy system and of the manner in which the solar energy system is installed.

Applies only to rules, covenants, declarations of restrictions, and other governing documents adopted or amended by a homeowners association after June 30, 2019.

Provides that if a party to a dispute involving a homeowners association requests mediation, mediation is mandatory.

Provides that if neither party requests mediation, or if mediation is unsuccessful, a claimant may begin legal proceedings. Requires a mediation to be conducted in compliance with the Indiana supreme court rules for alternative dispute resolution.

Makes corresponding amendments to the provisions regarding grievance resolutions involving condominium associations.

 


Logging—SB610

Since 2005, 300-400% increases in logging have hurt wildlife habitats and hiking trails, also resulting in further damage caused by the growth of invasive plants and the construction of new gravel roads. Management plans must be developed for our state forests that require the exemption of a minimum of 10% of forested land from logging activity. SB610 offers a plan to limit logging in Indiana state forests.

 

Summary of SB610 (LegiScan.com):

State forest commission and management plan.

Establishes a state forest commission. Specifies the membership of the commission. Requires the commission to meet in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and to issue a written report establishing a plan for the management of the state forests for the 100-year period beginning in 2022.

Provides that the commission’s plan must contain certain recommendations and must embody certain principles.

Requires the state forest commission to set forth in its report the subjects discussed and issues raised concerning which the general assembly may choose to pass legislation.

Requires the natural resources commission to adopt rules incorporating the state forest commission’s determination about the percentage of state forest land falling within each of the three “priority use” categories.

Requires the natural resources commission, every seven years, to conduct a review of the implementation of the state forest commission’s plan and to adopt rules to revise the plan, as appropriate.

 

Legislators to contact to voice your support for SB610:

Melanie Wright is a member of the committee and local legislator; Jean Leising is the committee chairman; and committee members Mike Crider, Susan Glick, Don Lehe, and J. D. Prescott are opposed to the proposed changes in logging, and they need to hear from us.