Indiana Legislative Update Second Half of the 2019 Session Underway

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The legislative process reset this week as lawmakers entered the second phase of the 2019 Indiana General Assembly Session. It was a transition week as each house begins to truly pay attention to and assign to Committee the bills passed by the opposite house. Overall, Senators initially filed 636 pieces of legislation this year. Of those, only 218 (34%) survived the journey to the House. The House of Representatives filed 715 bills with 201 (28%) moving to the Senate. Legislators are now doing their work to “lobby” Committee Chairs who are deciding which bills they will hear, further culling of the crop of legislation presented this year. 

It is the Senate’s turn to put their mark on the biennial budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee kicked off budget talks with the first of many hearings as Chair Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) heard the formal presentation of the House Republicans’ version on Monday.

Only a handful of issues caused notable turmoil the first part of Session, but that will change over the next seven weeks. Issues such as the budget, the hate crimes bill, a “once in a generation” gaming bill, and the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board’s request for millions of dollars will no doubt heat up as the close of session approaches and lawmakers are forced to make tough decisions.

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Other than bills getting assigned to Committee, only two bills of significance to the Chamber took steps forward this week:

  • SB 4, which builds upon the water task force efforts to continue to improve water and wastewater infrastructure and ensure state leaders are paying attention to the needs of this important utility, was heard in House Utilities Committee and passed with a vote of 10-0.
  • SB191, supports historic preservation and rehabilitation grants and is seen as a way to help “main streets” across the state. The bill was amended to lower the matching fund requirement and increase the threshold of applicable designations and ultimately passed out of Committee 11-0.
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Important Dates:

  • Tuesday, March 12th
  • Wednesday, March 13th
    • Senate Judiciary
      • HB 1057 Vanderburgh County Magistrates
      • HB 1487 Business Services of the Secretary of State
  • Thursday, March 14th
    • Senate Commerce & Technology
      • HB 1613 Transfer of State Real Property (Hatfield)
  • Monday, April 15th – Deadline for Senate bills to pass the House 
  • Tuesday, April 16th – Deadline for House bills to pass the Senate 
  • Monday, April 29th – 2019 Session must adjourn

** Committee Hearings can be called with just a one-day notice, so schedules change very quickly