AIA Indiana Legislative E-Newsletter 
Legislative Session Reaches Halfway Point

The Indiana General Assembly halfway point will be reached this Tuesday. The third reading deadline for the House is February 27 and the Senate is February 28. It was recently announced by legislative leadership that the second half of the session will be shortened. The last day of session is now April 21 (it was April 29).
AIA Indiana lobbying has helped positive bills, HB 1043 (school referendum process and remonstrance process), HB 1174 (Indiana bicycle trails task force), and language in HB 1001 (state budget - historic preservation grant program funding), successfully move through the process. AIA Indiana also helped stop HB 1226, which would have adversely impacted the specification process regarding piping materials for public works projects. AIA Indiana continues to lobby against SB 309 (distributed generation), which would have a negative impact on Indiana's solar energy future.
You are urged to contact your legislators and use your clout to positively impact our profession at the statehouse. Please see the information below.

SB 309, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R - Buck Creek), would have a negative impact on Indiana's solar energy future. Over the past two weeks, SB 309 received several amendments. AIA Indiana members are encouraged to review the latest draft of the bill by CLICKING HERE.
AIA Indiana maintains its opposition to SB 309 citing a lack of data/analysis that demonstrates how the bill fosters an open and transparent marketplace for consumers in a long term sense. AIA Indiana supports metering practices based upon thorough and transparent analysis of the various costs of generation and distribution of energy; which fairly compensates both those who generate power as well as those who distribute it, while not shifting the costs of a shared public utility to those who may lack the means for on-site generation.
SB 309 passed out of the Senate Utilities Committee with an 8-2 vote count and is now is up for a vote on the Senate floor. Please contact your state senator TODAY and ask them to oppose SB 309!
State Senate Phone - 800/382-9467
CLICK HERE to email your legislator.
CLICK HERE to find your legislator.

HB 1043, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R - Lizton), raises the threshold from the current $2 million to $10 million for what is a "controlled project." This means a school board could vote to do any project up to $10 million and the taxpayers could not "remonstrate" and trigger the petition/remonstrance process.  Also, it would raise the threshold from the current $10 million to $20 million for a project to be subject to the referendum process. HB 1043 also includes language that extends the period for an operating referendum for schools from seven to eight years, which would eliminate the need to conduct a special election. The bill does include a somewhat negative provision that forces a school corporation to wait 700 days after losing a referendum before trying again (current law says 350 days) but it also provides that taxpayers can petition to reduce the waiting period back down to 350. Overall this is a positive bill and supported by AIA Indiana.
HB 1043 passed out of the House of Representatives with a vote count of 95-2. It will not be debated in the Senate. Sen. Brandt Hershman (R - Buck Creek) is the Senate sponsor of HB 1043. AIA Indiana will continue to work with our allies, the Indiana Association of School Business Officials and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, in support of this legislation.

HB 1001, authored by Rep. Tim Brown (R - Crawfordsville), is the state's biennial budget and does include language maintaining or increasing the funding to the Historic Renovation Grant program. The Indiana General Assembly included $1.25 million per year in the 2015 biennial budget for this program. There was overwhelming positive response to this program and the number of projects exceeded the available appropriation in the first year by $1.4 million.   
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) is charged with oversight of this program.    The program guidelines provide for a grant request of a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000 per project. Eligible work is limited to the exterior of the building on properties that are at least fifty years old.
AIA Indiana, Indiana Landmarks, and the Indy Chamber strongly support the continued and increased funding of the Historic Renovation Grant Program.
HB 1174, authored by Rep. Wes Culver (R - Goshen), establishes the Indiana Bicycle Trails Task Force (Task Force) to: develop actionable concepts to connect existing bicycle trails throughout Indiana; estimate the cost of each concept; present at least six innovative ways to fund the connections to existing bicycle trails; and prepare a timeline that shows the phases of completion to connect existing bicycle trails throughout Indiana for each funding method.
Better planning of our bike trails could have a positive impact on the overall health of Hoosiers while also potentially improving the likelihood of development around these trails. AIA Indiana supports HB 1174.
HB 1174 passed out of the House with a vote count of 93-0. It will now be debated in the Senate. Sen. Dennis Kruse (R - Auburn), Sen. Sue Glick (R - LaGrange) and Sen. Tim Lanane (D - Anderson) are the Senate sponsors of HB 1174. 

HB 1226, authored by Rep. Heath VanNatter (R - Kokomo), mandates engineers consider "all acceptable piping materials" for all public works. In fact, the bill seeks to legislate the criteria engineers use in determining the most appropriate materials to be used on a project. This same bill was considered in 2014 and the language required the consideration of a specific type of piping, PVC.  
AIA Indiana opposes HB 1226. The bill imposes arbitrary and unnecessary specification requirements, seeks to solve a non-existent problem, and is a thinly veiled effort to promote a product. The bill would set a terrible precedent if it were to pass.
HB 1226 was not heard in committee but the bill's supporters are trying to amend this language into another bill. AIA Indiana is closely monitoring this matter and will continue to oppose this measure.
CLICK HERE to view the full list of bills being followed by AIA Indiana. Your comments and input are welcome regarding any of the bills listed.

Do not hesitate to contact AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley, , 317-634-6993, if you have questions or concerns regarding these or any other issues.
Use your clout and support your profession by attending an "AIA Indiana Day at the Statehouse."  This is a unique opportunity for you to learn firsthand about the key AIA state legislative and regulatory issues and become a lobbyist for day. You will be able to directly impact the legislative process by meeting with your state legislators and discussing the issues important to architects. Current dates available are: March 6, 14, 20, 22, 23, 27, and 28. Please choose a date and RSVP to AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley,, 317/634-6993. The day will begin at 12 p.m. with lunch and end no later than 3 p.m. A unified voice is vital.  Don't wait to get involved!
Lobbying Basics for Communicating with Your Local Legislators 

*Please contact your state senator and state representative and introduce yourself, if you don't already know them. Invite them to tour your firm. Discuss with them the issues that are important to you and your firm. I am sure they will appreciate hearing from you. To contact your legislators, see the information below.
House of Representatives - 800/382-9842
State Senate - 800/382-9467
AIA Southern Indiana members meeting with Rep Ed Clere (R - New Albany), Sen. Ron Grooms (R - Jeffersonville) and Rep Steve Stemler (D - Jefferonville) at Kovert Hawkins Architects' office in Jeffersonville, IN. 

*Take a personal inventory of how you know legislators with whom you have a personal relationship (political or civic activities, church, business relationships, etc.)
*If you are having an open house, or important press release or ribbon cutting event, add your local legislators to the mailing list.
*Ask legislators and other elected officials to attend local AIA chapter meetings.
*Invite your local legislators to visit your firm.
*Invite your local legislator to lunch or coffee.
Do not hesitate to contact AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley, 317/634-6993 or , if you have any questions.
Architects for Indiana Political Action Committee 

Please contribute to the Architects for Indiana Political Action Committee (ARCHPAC).  The importance of our participation in the political process becomes evident each time we must take action to cope with legislative proposals that call for extending the sales tax to services, requiring stock school plans, or providing interior designers stamping privileges!  
Please join many of your fellow Hoosier AIA members who have already contributed and write a $50 check today to ARCHPAC and return it to AIA Indiana, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 955 S, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
AIA Indiana | 317-634-6993 | |