A whirlwind of activity in the Indiana General Assembly brought the highest of highs and some disappointing lows for Statehouse participants last week. The Indy Chamber was no exception, as Central Indiana transit legislation notably advanced, but a bill concerning township fire department consolidation died in committee.
In the case of transit, SB176 passed out of Ways and Means and took multiple amendments on second reading. A ban on light rail was removed while language encouraging private sector investment in regional transit expansion was added. The important thing to remember is the bill is moving forward, and it is critical for State Representatives to hear from transit supporters ahead of the third reading vote on SB176 later today (Monday, March 3).
It is important to note that this bill does not raise taxes and is about giving local officials, businesses and voters the choice to invest in connected neighborhoods and increased access to jobs and healthcare. Contact your legislator today and ask them to vote yes on SB176. You can look up your representative here to send an email in support of SB176 or call the House at 1-800-382-9842 to ask for his or her office.
Rep. Steve Braun’s HB1035 passed second reading Thursday and would require the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to assess the economic impact and potential of Indiana’s regional metropolitan areas.
HB1301 advanced out of committee earlier in the week andwould streamline certain building and design release processes. HB1321 received a favorable vote from the Senate Education Committee and would provide Indianapolis Public Schools with capabilities to foster innovation and improvement in district schools.
Unfortunately, the Senate opted to advance its version of HB1004 that would provide for interim study of early childhood education. However, this delay presents an opportunity for the Indy Chamber to delve deeper into this issue. Mayor Greg Ballard announced in his State of the City address last week that the Indy Chamber will lead a study into the economic benefits of early childhood education. Look for more information from us on this project in the near future.
Additionally, the Senate Committee on Local Government defeated HB1229. Consolidation of township fire departments is a longstanding Indy Chamber priority and will continue to be debated in future legislative sessions.
This week brings third reading deadlines in both chambers ahead of a hectic conference committee period leading up to adjournment. Be on the lookout for special legislative updates and calls to action regarding Indy Chamber agenda items.