Senate Bill 4 – Water and Wastewater Utilities and Runoff
Authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso)
This bill requires the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to divide the state of Indiana into study areas and to hold annual meetings with the officers and employees of the water and wastewater utilities located in each study area. Authorizes the utilities within a study area to meet voluntarily to determine area water and wastewater priorities, promote cooperation among the utilities, and consider other matters. … Requires every water utility, at least once in each calendar year, to perform an audit of its water distribution system to determine the causes of the water utility’s “non-revenue water” (leaks or lost water).
Chamber Position: Support
The Latest: The House Utilities Committee heard this bill on March 6 and no one spoke in opposition. The bill passed out of the committee 10-0 and is now eligible for further action on the House floor.
Indiana Chamber Action/Commentary: The Indiana Chamber testified in support of this bill. This bill builds on the Chamber’s 2014 water study and is consistent with the Chamber’s past positions on water resources. It is also consistent with the Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, which has identified water resources as an important consideration in economic development.
This bill will establish study areas and require the IFA to conduct annual meetings in the study areas with water utilities. The goal is to set priorities and needs for investment in infrastructure as well as the prudent management of water resources. By requiring water utilities to conduct water audits for “lost water”, it will help set priorities for needed infrastructure investment. The measure also fixes some confusion created in SB 362 (2018) in that it defines a wastewater treatment plant (for regulatory purposes) does not include wastewater treatment plants installed by businesses to treat their own wastewater.
House Bill 1005 (State Superintendent of Public Instruction), authored by Rep. Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), was heard in the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday. This Chamber priority bill would move up the date for making the state superintendent an appointed position from 2025 to 2021. The opposition to the bill centered mainly around the word “preferable” and the desire for it to be removed to ensure this position is held by an educator. That was not Speaker Bosma’s intent and would eliminate too many quality individuals. As was noted in the hearing, that rationale would have precluded former Gov. Mitch Daniels from being Purdue University president – a position for which he’s been lauded nationally for his actions. The Indiana Chamber expects “preferable” will stay in the criteria listing, and we will continue to strongly advocate for this bill. No action was taken by the committee.