Capitol Capers Legislative Action Report

Date: February 02, 2015

Indiana - February 2, 2015

Most legislative budget year sessions, dubbed the “Long Session,” start out slowly as bills are filed and committees begin. After a fairly quiet start, this years session has quickly picked up steam.  There are a number of bills moving that NFIB members support and a few that we are scratching our heads over.  In recent sessions, a fairly pro-small-business majority has kept a lot of the bad bills at bay. (It doesn’t hurt to have 43 NFIB members in the General Assembly.) But every once in a while, some lousy ideas begin to get some traction.   
Here’s a rundown of the issues we’re working on and the bills we are following:
 
HB 1019 Common Construction Wage –  (TORR J) Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute.  
Note:  This issue is on the 2015 NFIB Member Ballot.  A majority of NFIB members support repeal.  This bill has not yet been assigned for a hearing. Your legislators need to hear from small business owners.  If you favor repeal and haven’t already done so, tell your legislators that you support HB1019 and ask them to hear the bill.
HB 1101 Broadband Ready Communities – (KOCH E) Establishes the broadband ready communities development center within the Indiana economic development corporation to facilitate certain communications projects. Provides that the center may designate a unit of local government as a broadband ready community if the unit establishes a procedure to review applications and issue permits for the communications projects.
Note:  This issue is on the 2015 NFIB Indiana Ballot.  A majority of NFIB members were in favor of streamlining the planning, zoning and permit process. This bill has passed the House.  
SB 555 and HB 1279 – Hero Plan – Establishes the Hoosier Employee Retirement Option plan to encourage Indiana residents to increase their rate of saving and to build assets for the use of participants and their survivors and beneficiaries after a participant’s retirement. Among other provisions, it establishes a plan board (board) with nine members: the treasurer of state, the auditor of state, the director of the office of management and budget, the commissioner of the department of labor, and five members appointed by the governor. 
Note:  We have serious concerns with this legislation.  While encouraging Hoosiers to save sounds like a good thing, this legislation creates more government and competes with the private sector. Illinois passed similar legislation this year that mandated that employers participate. Let your legislators know that we don’t need a state-run retirement program.
HB 1318 – Communications Services and Providers  (KOCH E) Establishes a uniform statewide procedure for applications for and issuance of permits for the construction and modification of structures and facilities for the provision of wireless communications service. Among other provisions, eliminates the state requirement that a communications service provider allow a physical connection by other providers to its system. Defines “utility” for purposes of IC 14-18-10 (the law concerning utility easements) to include a communications service provider. 
Note:  This issue is on the 2015 NFIB Indiana Ballot.  A majority of NFIB members were in favor of streamlining the planning, zoning and permit process. This bill has passed the House.  Let your legislators know that you support streamlining the planning, zoning and permit process to improve the availability of High Speed Internet to all areas of the state.

HB 1340 Civil Proceeding Advance Payment Transactions (LEHMAN M) Defines a “civil proceeding advance payment transaction”, or “CPAP transaction”, as a nonrecourse transaction in which a person (CPAP provider) provides to a consumer claimant in a civil proceeding a funded amount, the repayment of which is: (1) required only if the consumer claimant prevails in the civil proceeding; and (2) sourced from the proceeds of the civil proceeding. Among other provisions, requires a CPAP provider to register with the department of financial institutions (department).  This bill has passed out of committee and is currently on second reading in the House.
Note:  This issue Is also known as “Lawsuit Lending” or “Litigation Financing.”  These “lenders” have been operating without oversight.  This practice encourages lawsuits and can take advantage of consumers with astronomically high interest rates.  While NFIB members would like to see the practice banned, this legislation is a common sense approach to reigning in a practice that can hurt small businesses and consumers alike.
HB 1453 Hunting Preserves (EBERHART S) Provides for the licensing and operation of hunting preserves on which farm raised and released cervidae and game birds are hunted. Among other provisions, establishes licensing requirements, inspection requirements, and fees. Exempts licensed hunting preserves from the licensing requirements for game breeders and shooting preserves. Provides that hunters on hunting preserves are not required to have a hunting license and are not subject to bag limits.  This bill was heard in committee and will be amended and voted on today.
Note:  This is an issue that the NFIB Small Business Legal Center has been involved with since 2011.  After encouraging entrepreneurs to start their businesses, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources arbitrarily ruled that hunting preserves should be banned.  This action, if allowed to stand, could possibly put hundreds of deer farmers and four preserve owners out of business. 
Special Update:  This morning, the Indiana Appeals Court ruled in favor of NFIB member Rodney Bruce and the hunting preserve owners.  The NFIB Small Business Legal Center filed an Amici Curiae (friend of the court) in this case.  This is a significant win for small business owners and their property rights.
HB 1511 Nursing Facility Restrictions (BROWN T) Prohibits the state department of health from approving: (1) the licensure of comprehensive care health facilities; (2) new or converted comprehensive care beds; or (3) the certification of new or converted comprehensive care beds for participation in the state Medicaid program; through June 30, 2018. Makes exceptions for certain facilities that are: (1) under development; (2) small house health facilities; (3) replacement facilities; (4) continuing care retirement communities; and (5) facilities located in counties whose comprehensive care bed occupancy rate exceeds 90%. Limits small house facilities to 100 new licensed or Medicaid certified comprehensive care beds per year.  Similar legislation, SB 460, passed out of Senate committee last week.
Note:  This is the Building Moratorium issue that appears on the 2015 Indiana Member Ballot.  A majority of NFIB members are opposed to the state mandating a moratorium on the building of new nursing home facilities. Let your legislators know that you oppose government overreach and support the free enterprise system.
HB 1631 Identification Cards without an Image (MORRIS R) Requires the bureau of motor vehicles to issue a photo exempt identification card (card) that does not bear the image of the holder. Among other provisions, requires that an application for a card, among other requirements, must contain a digital image of the applicant. Provides that an individual may not have a card and a driver’s license or identification card at a time. Provides that a retailer that in good faith accepts a card as proof of identification for a retail transaction is immune from civil liability that may occur as a result of the acceptance.
Note: This issue is one of concern to NFIB’s Amish members.  This bill has passed out of committee and is now on second reading in the House.

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