The issue of water management has long been supported by the Chamber as a priority. House Bill 1267 and SB 361 establish a Water Infrastructure Taskforce to study water issues. Both bills have passed out of their respective houses and have been referred to committees in the other house for further action. The measures are very similar, but HB 1267 gives the Chamber a spot on the taskforce.
There are a few bills still alive that tweak existing laws dealing with utilities.
Senate Bill 411 covers distressed utilities, making some clarifications that should cut down on litigation costs when a utility acquires a smaller utility. In addition, costs should be controlled through economies of scale. It passed out of the Senate and has been referred to the House for further action.
Senate Bill 269 addresses road projects and utility repairs. It requires the Indiana Department of Transportation to consider the effect on commerce in an area when closing roads for projects (not just notify local government). It also requires notice be given to the executive of a city or town that has a municipal sewage works or public sanitation department having extraterritorial jurisdiction within the boundaries of the area to be included in a proposed project.
Senate Bill 362 offers that a water or wastewater utility that begins providing service to the public after June 30, 2018, is subject to the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) with respect to rates and charges and other matters for a period of 10 years. In the past, certain utilities could opt-out of the IURC’s jurisdiction. It also requires a cost-benefit analysis and asset management plan before a new water or wastewater utility can provide service. This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Utilities Committee for further action.
Resource: Greg Ellis at (317) 264-6881 or email: [email protected]