Legislative Update Week 1: Moved Fast

By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance | | 1.11.20

Aspire Economic Development Chamber Alliance Johnson County Indiana

Last week kicked off the 2020 legislative session at the Indiana General Assembly. As a reminder, it is a short session which means that statutorily the legislature is required to finish their business by no later than March 14. However, the NCAA tournament will be held in Indianapolis in mid-March and will affect hotel room availability for legislators, so it is likely business will end earlier – by March 11.

Believe it or not, committees had hearings on the first days of session this week! They were mostly caucus priority bills, including hold-harmless bills (HB 1001 and SB 2), teacher evaluation decoupling (HB 1002), and the Republicans’ plans to spend one-time surplus dollars on capital projects to save taxpayers nearly $130 million in interest (HB 1007) despite Democrats wanting to spend the surplus dollars on teacher pay. Also moving this week were bills to increase the smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21 (HB 1006) and health care transparency legislation (HB 1005). Many of these bills seem to be “fast-tracked” to move quickly through the legislative process to head to the Governor’s desk in a timely fashion.

It was a particularly busy first week for tobacco-related legislation, as priority bills were introduced to move the smoking age from 18 to 21. HB 1006 was heard in House Public Health Committee with overwhelming support from many different advocacy groups, including testimony by Aspire Johnson County. The bill passed out of committee 12-1 and was not amended on second reading. This bill will be eligible for final vote in the House as early as this Monday. It is considered to be “fast-tracked” by House leadership – meaning that it will likely move very quickly to get to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible. SB 1 is the companion legislation in the Senate – and it is anticipated that the bill will likely also move.

While there are a few of workforce development and opioid-related bills that have been introduced in the 2020 session, none of them are comprehensive packages to make sweeping policy changes. It is unclear whether there will be such comprehensive legislation considered this year.

It is anticipated that a bill on regional collaboration will be introduced, but it has not yet been publicly available yet.

Aspire will continue to stay on top of priority issues and keep members informed.

Important Upcoming Dates

Thursday, January 9 – House and Senate bill filing deadlines

Tuesday, January 14 – State of the State address

Wednesday, January 15 – State of the Judiciary address

Thursday, January 16 – Senate First Reading Deadline

Monday, January 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (No Session)

Tuesday, January 28 – House Committee Report Deadline

Thursday, January 30 – House Second Reading Deadline / Senate Committee Report Deadline

Monday, February 3 – House Third Reading Deadline / Senate Second Reading Deadline

Tuesday, February 4 – Senate Third Reading Deadline