Monday is the last day for bills originating in the House to pass the full House. Meanwhile, Tuesday marks the same milestone for Senate bills. Among the most significant still awaiting final action:
Senate Bill 565 – Department of State Revenue
Authored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle)
Contains numerous changes to the administrative procedures governing the operations of the Department of Revenue. While the Chamber supports the bulk of the bill, we strongly oppose the proposals that would unnecessarily restrict the rights of taxpayers. Senator Holdman is working with us to address our concerns with a second reading amendment.
Senate Bill 358 – Worker’s Compensation
Authored by Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage)
As introduced, increased benefits for injuries and disablements by 10% each year for three years, beginning on July 1, 2019. The bill was amended to a 2% increase for the next three years.
Chamber Position: Oppose
The Latest: As mentioned last week, the bill tied 5-5 in the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee, thus was eligible to return for a vote. Committee chairman Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) rescheduled a vote for Wednesday afternoon. On the second vote, the bill passed 7-1. The only “no” was Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown). Senators Chip Perfect (R-Lawrenceburg) and Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) – previously no votes – were not present. And Sen. Blake Doriot (R-Syracuse) switched his original no vote to a yes.
Chamber Action/Commentary: Prior to the second vote, the Indiana Chamber met with Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus), who was absent during the original vote, and discussed the importance of packaging a worker’s comp benefit increase with a benefit for employers. Recent statistics from the Workers Compensation Research Institute regarding medical cost trends were also discussed. It was clear from our conversation that Walker was voting for the bill. Most of the senators believe this is a minimal increase and it would be a waste of political capital to fight the vote on the floor; thus, it is expected to pass the full Senate.
The Chamber has already had discussions regarding the bill with Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne), who will most likely be the House sponsor. The Chamber will be working to get the bill in better form or kill it outright depending on how the negotiations go.