April 11th, 2019
Turn Out the Lights, the Party’s (Almost) Over …
My how time flies when you’re having fun … the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly is winding down to its April 29 final day. Monday marks the final reading of bills in both the House and Senate; this week has been back-to-back-to-back committee meetings, weighing in on the final nitty-gritty bill details. To catch the legislative wrap up in person, reserve your seat for tomorrow’s Legislative Breakfast. Here’s the updates from our on-the-scene team advocating for OneZone members.

Brown Bags & BYOB . HB 1518 covered a lot of territory when it comes to “alcohol matters” as the lawmakers call it (though that sounds a little like a legislative title from Hoda & Kathie Lee, who would undoubtedly proclaim, “Of course it matters … cheers!”). In addition to making liquor sales from golf carts legal (yep, we know) as well as running a tab in a bar or restaurant (again, yes, we know), the Senate bill version amends Civic Center liquor permit restrictions as well as that of “Entertainment Revitalization Areas.” The latter begins to peel back the restrictions on liquor license quotas that don’t keep up with growing communities. However, punting to a referendum to obtain more licenses (for which the municipalities would have to foot the bill) is NOT something we support. We concur with Public Policy Chair Ron Altig who notes a referendum would be, “a step toward more government, not less government.” The bill passed out of committee 10-0, and back to the House it goes, stay tuned.

Good News, Bad News, Good News. Senate Republicans introduced their budget proposal this morning, including a notable increase in funding for schools ($14.9 billion - a 2.7% increase in 2020 and a 2.2% increase in 2021), which is higher than the Governor and House Republican proposals. Good news, right? Teachers may not see it as such with no direct increase in salary. However, it retains the Teacher Appreciation Grant program -- giving $30 million each year to distribute to qualifying educators and $15 million to support new teachers who are in their first five years in the classroom. In addition, the Senate has included Governor Holcomb’s proposal to pay down school pension liabilities, freeing up nearly $70 million annually for schools, which could be used for salary bumps.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch. Numerous announcements in the last week regarding workforce and building expansions. BCforward, an information technology consulting and staffing firm announced today they will be adding 300 employees to their Carmel location. Medical billing firm Zotec is touting the same number of new employees in addition to a new five-story, 120,000 square foot new HQ located at Illinois and Fidelity Way. Fishers’ developer Corby Thompson is actively working to acquire Stoneycreek Farm Nursery & Landscaping in Noblesville and hopes he will NOT develop it. Instead, he wants to preserve Loren Schmierer’s pumpkin fields and hayrides. And, say good bye to that big ‘ol tenderloin …After nearly three decades, the final day for firing up the Nickel Plate Bar & Grill deep fryer is April 20. Get it while it’s hot.

PLUS ONE : Don’t everyone RUSH, now. According to Hamilton County Clerk Kathy Williams, a whopping 42 folks voted on the first day of early voting for the upcoming May 7 primary. You, too, can avoid the rush and vote early … either at the Judicial Center in Noblesville or at satellite locations in Carmel, Fishers and Westfield. Click here for those details.