Senate Bill 304 – Intimidation Against Utility Workers
Authored by Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford)

As introduced, provides that a person who communicates a threat to another person with the intent of interfering with the provision of utility service or communications service for a dwelling, building or other structure commits intimidation, a Class A misdemeanor. Provides that the offense is a Level 6 felony if the person to whom the threat is communicated is an employee or agent of a utility company or a communications service provider engaged in the performance of the person’s duties on behalf of the utility or the communications service provider.

Chamber Position: Support

The Latest: The Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law heard the bill on Tuesday and adopted an amendment to the bill that would add this protection to all workers going onto private property if their occupation requires them to do so.  The bill passed unanimously 8-0 and is now eligible for further action on the Senate floor.

Chamber Action/Commentary: This bill provides additional needed protection to workers that often interface with people in difficult situations without the ability to protect themselves.


Senate Bill 472 – Utility Rates and Acquisitions
Authored by Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford)

This bill provides that an order affecting rates of service may be entered by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) without a formal public hearing in the case of any public or municipally owned utility that serves less than 5,000 customers or has initiated a rate case on behalf of a single division of the utility and that division serves less than 5,000 customers and has an IURC-approved schedule of rates and charges that is separate and independent from that of any other division of the utility. (Current law permits the IURC to enter a service rate order without a public hearing only in the case of a public or municipally owned utility that itself serves less than 5,000 customers.) Changes the term “distressed utility” to “offered utility” for purposes of provisions regarding acquisition of water or wastewater utilities.

Chamber Position: Support

The Latest: Heard this week by the Senate Utilities Committee and passed 11-0. The bill is now eligible for further action on the Senate floor.

Chamber Action/Commentary: The Indiana Chamber testified in support of this bill, which tweaks existing law and adds some clarification to issues that have recently been litigated. It should reduce litigation costs of water/wastewater utilities going forward that would otherwise have been rolled into utility rates as an increase. It promotes efficiencies in the process and economies of scale in water infrastructure. This is consistent with findings in the Chamber’s 2014 water study, goals of the Indiana Vision 2025 plan and our long-term position on water resources.

Resource: Greg Ellis at (317) 264-6881 or email: gellis@indianachamber.com