INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly has moved into the final days of the 2020 legislative session, which means finalizing bills before being sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature.
Wednesday, the House signed off on an assortment of bills that has been modified in the Senate. They include:
House Bill 1165: Municipally-owned utilities
What it does: HB 1165 prevents a utility that is owned by a municipality from requiring that a landlord either ensure the credit worthiness of an occupant of their property or accept responsibility for charges while the citizen is living there. That requirement has been in place so the utility can collect for services in the event the tenant fails to pay.
What happened: The bill was defeated 33-59 as many Republicans who had served as a local municipal official voted against the bill. Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, is a former mayor and has personally owned rental properties so he has been on both sides of the fence. Torr said he would support the bill because utility companies were “blaming landlords for all of their woes” and they were being used as a scapegoat. Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, disagreed with Torr because he said many of the issues have been worked out with landlords at the local level. He added that he hopes to see the bill go back to committee and clarify the language.
What’s next: Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, as the author of the bill can take HB 1165 back to committee to resolve the concerns raised during the House debate and then return to the House for another vote.
House Bill 1032: Interfering with public safety
What it does: HB 1032 provides that a person who enters a restricted area after being denied access by an emergency medical services provider is interfering with public safety. The individual crossing into the restricted area could face a felony charge if using a vehicle.
What happened: The bill passed by an 87-3 vote. Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington , questioned author of the bill, Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart, asking if nurses and physicians were intended to be included in the definition of “emergency medical providers.” Miller said he cannot directly answer that question but the intent is for firefighters and paramedics to be included in the definition of emergency providers. Pierce said that is not a reason to vote no on the bill, but it may need to be tweaked later on.
What’s next: The bill will head to Holcomb’s to possibly be signed into law.
House Bill 1080: Colorectal cancer testing
What it does: HB 1080 lowers the age at which insurance are mandated to cover colorectal cancer screenings from age 50 to 45.
What happened: The bill passed 89-3. Rep. Rita Fleming, D-Jeffersonville, spoke up in support of the bill saying that it is important to lower the age of coverage because colon cancer is one of the most treatable diseases if caught early.
What’s next: The bill now head to Holcomb’s desk to possibly be signed into law.