AIA Indiana Legislative E-Newsletter 

2017 Indiana Legislative Session Concludes    

The 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly at 12:55 a.m., Saturday, April 22, 2017, adjourned sine die, a Latin term denoting no appointed date for resumption. Overall, AIA Indiana had a positive legislative session.
Thank you to all who contacted your state legislators and Gov. Holcomb during this past session to express your views. Your voices helped and your efforts are appreciated!
Please see the information below regarding bills AIA Indiana lobbied for and against in the 2017 state legislative session. 

SB 309 - Distributed generation.
SB 309, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman (R - Buck Creek), was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb on May 2 and will have a negative impact on Indiana's solar energy future. The bill reduces the rate utility companies pay for excess energy generated by homeowners, schools and small businesses with solar panels or wind turbines, which in turn is soled back to the grid. This exchange is known as net metering.
AIA Indiana opposed SB 309 citing a lack of data/analysis that demonstrated 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. CLICK HERE to view the letter sent to Gov. Holcomb from AIA Indiana regarding SB 309.

HB 1001 - Biennial budget (Historic Renovation Grant Program).
HB 1001, authored by Rep. Tim Brown (R - Crawfordsville), is the state's biennial budget and includes language funding the Historic Renovation Grant program. The House passed budget included a $1.25 million per year appropriation for the program, which is the same level as this past year. The Senate budget reduced the appropriation to $675,000 per year. In the end, a $1 million per year appropriation was included in the final passed budget.  
This past year the state awarded the entire $1.25 million in available dollars and had an additional $1.4 million in project applications that were not funded.  The projects that received funding invested another $3.4 million in private funding into those projects and local communities. 
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 supports increased funding of the Historic Renovation Grant Program and will push for it in future legislative sessions.
Please contact your state legislators and ask them to increase the funding to Indiana's Historic Renovation Grant program.

HB 1043, authored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R - Lizton), was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb on April 28, is a positive bill supported by AIA Indiana. In its final form the bill raises the threshold from the current $2 million to $5 million for what is a "controlled project" and raises the threshold from the current $10 million to $15 million for a project to be subject to the referendum process for an ordinance or resolution adopted after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2019. In the case of an ordinance or resolution adopted after December 31, 2018, making a preliminary determination to issue bonds or enter into a lease for the project, the thresholds above are increased by applying the assessed value growth quotient for the year to the threshold amount determined for the preceding year.
HB 1043 also included 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.
HB 1043 makes numerous other changes as well. CLICK HERE to see a more detailed explanation of all the changes made to the referendum and remonstrance processes.
AIA Indiana would like to thank the Indiana Association of School Business Officials and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents for their hard work on this this bill.

HB 1174 - Bicycle trails.
HB 1174, authored by Rep. Wes Culver (R - Goshen), was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb on April 20. The bill 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 supported HB 1174 and testified in favor of the bill.

HB 1226, authored by Rep. Heath VanNatter (R - Kokomo), called for mandating engineers consider "all acceptable piping materials" for all public works. In fact, the bill sought to legislate the criteria engineers use in determining the most appropriate materials to be used on a project.
AIA Indiana opposed HB 1226 and helped stop it from becoming law. The bill imposed arbitrary and unnecessary specification requirements, sought to solve a non-existent problem, and was a thinly veiled effort to promote a product. The bill would have set a terrible precedent if it were to have passed.
SB 112, authored by Sen Dennis Kruse (R - Auburn), among other things, establishes the Indiana health care facilities task force and was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb on April 21. The task force will: study and review hospital and health facility licensure; study, review, and update the American Institute of Architects guidelines for hospitals and health care facilities; and study, review, and update National Fire Protection Association standards for hospitals and health care facilities. Members of the task force will include: the commissioner of the state department, who will also serve as the chair; the Indiana department of homeland security's state fire marshal; a representative of the Indiana Hospital Association; a representative of the Indiana Health Care Association; a representative of the American Institute of Architects Indiana; and a representative of the Indiana Society for Healthcare Engineering.

As always, do not hesitate to contact AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley, 317-634-6993,, if you have any questions.

(L-R) AIA Indiana Executive Director Jason Shelley and State Senator Mark Messmer (R - Jasper).
CLICK HERE to view the full list of bills followed by AIA Indiana during the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
2018 Indiana Residential Code Committee 

The Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission ("Commission"), at their January 4, 2017 meeting, moved to form a Residential Code Committee that would be tasked with adopting a new residential code for the state. The Committee will create a draft proposed rule to update the current Indiana Residential Code using the second printing of the 2015 International Residential Code for one and two family dwellings as the basis. Thank you Clete Kunce, AIA, Mark Demerly, AIA, and David Rausch, AIA for agreeing to serve on the committee. 
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 | |