Bills to watch 

There are 805 bills currently going through the Indiana General Assembly. The idea that any Hoosier can keep track of all of them is ludicrous. Plus, we know you've been all Colts-crazy and barely paying attention, so we've been working to identify the bills you should keep your eye on, along with where you can keep track of their progress (Bill Tracker).

Sunday carryout by microbreweries

Why you should give-a-damn: You can't purchase beer for carry-out on Sundays at any of the 32 breweries in Indiana. Two bills seek to rectify this:

Bill SB 0075, author/sponsors: Senators Vi Simpson and Ron Alting, allows micro-brewers to sell brewery beer on Sunday on the property with the brewer's permit.

Status: Passed the senate, must now pass the house. (Bill Tracker:

Bill SB 0120, author/sponsor: Senator Alting, allows microbreweries to sell their beer for carryout on Sundays.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

More info:

# Microbreweries one step closer to selling on Sunday

Property Tax Cap

Why you should give-a-damn: After the sudden increase in property taxes in 2007, Gov. Mitch Daniels enacted tax reforms to help prevent property taxes from rising so quickly. The cap was placed at one percent for a private home, two percent for renters and three percent for businesses.

Bill SB 0028, author/sponsor: Senator Connie Lawson, is up for a public vote in November. The bill will make the property tax cap part of the Indiana Constitution. This will make it extremely difficult for future lawmakers to remove or change the caps. Some lawmakers are concerned about the bill because most homeowners in Indiana pay less than one percent of their house's assessed value; taxes for those individuals could be raised to meet the cap. Also, because the limits are tied to the assessed value of those homes, taxes can still rise more than the voters expect. Finally, property taxes have been a major source of funding for cities and towns. The caps will limit revenue available for local services and projects.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

Confined Animal Feeding Operation

Why you should give-a-damn: Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) are facilities that can cause significant damage to Indiana's waterways and overall environment if not properly maintained.

Bill SB 0024, author/sponsor: Senator Johnny Nugent, prohibits setting up a CFO within two miles of a state park or water reservoir operated or maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. But it does not apply to existing CFOs.

Status: In committee — First House (Bill Tracker:

A similar bill, HB 1161, authored by Representive Philip Pflum, is also currently in Committee — First House (Bill Tracker:

Yet another related bill, SB 0144, author/sponsor: Senator Allen Paul places a three-year moratorium on all CFOs between June 30, 2010 and July 1, 2013.

Status: In Committee — First House (Bill Tracker:


Indiana Department of Environmental Management: Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs/CAFOs) (

NUVO stories on this subject:

Complete Streets

Why you should give-a-damn: While many cities and states have begun to designate streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, only a few places have enacted legislation to ensure that all streets are made for pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and public transportation. This legislation would aim to make roads more friendly towards pedestrians, bicyclists and public transportation in future projects.

HB 1182, Author/sponsor: Representative Nancy Dembowski, is asking that there be guidelines created for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and that INDOT comply with these guidelines by Dec. 31st, 2010. According to the report by the Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis, the bill can potentially affect $420 million in construction projects and compliance with the proposed guidelines could mean an additional increase of between $1 and $2 million in additional costs. That said, there are loopholes in the bill that give the INDOT discretion in deciding if it is indeed feasible to make these future streets "complete."

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:


"Launching of the Indiana Complete Streets Campaign"

National Complete Streets Coalition:

Net Metering

Why you should give-a-damn: People trying to cut down their energy consumption through alternative renewable sources could have an easier time. Net metering allows for energy consumers to choose to get their energy from cleaner sources like wind and solar rather than coal.

Bills on net metering include:

SB 0097, author/sponsors: Senator Sue Errington and Senator Bob Deig, requires the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to amend its rules on net metering and make net metering available to certain customer classes, allow smaller generating facilities to connect to the distribution facility of an electric utility and allow net metering customers to interconnect with a generating facility that uses certain technologies. It also requires the IURC to report on their progress in adopting these rules.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

SB 0313, author/sponsor: Senator Jim Merritt, requires electric companies to offer net metering to certain customers who generate energy from renewable resources but also establishes billing methods for these customers.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

HB 1094, author/sponsor: Representative Ryan Dvorak, requires the Indiana Regulatory commission (IURC) to amend its rules on net metering and make net metering available for all customer classes, allows residents to interconnect to any electric utility facility they wish and requires the IURC to report on their progress in adopting these rules.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:


U.S. Department of Energy: Net Metering Policies

Hoosier Environmental Coalition

Eliminating township government

Why you should give-a-damn: On Jan. 14, House Bill 1181 passed the House; now voters will be able to decide in November whether or not local townships should be kept or have power transferred to the county level. But another bill in the house, 1249, asks representatives to simply abolish township government and is more specific in how it would then replace it.

HB 1249, author/sponsors: Representative Ed DeLaney; co-authors: Representatives Jerry Torr, Dan Stevenson and Philip Hinkle, will eliminate all township governments and transfer all functions to the county, including managing of finances and responsibility for fire protection, small claims court and constable duties. Critics argue that the township system is a more accessible form of local government.

Status: In Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

Marriage Discrimination Amendment

Why you should give-a-damn: In 1997, Indiana passed the Defense of Marriage Act. Upheld by the courts, there seems little reason to push the issue further. But this year, Senators Yoder, Holdman and Stutzman have entered another bill that is virtually identical to the previous bill. They believe that one law isn't strong enough and the definition of marriage has to be written into the Indiana Constitution before it can be considered protected.

SJR 0013, author/sponsors: Senators Carlin Yoder, Travis Holdman and Marlin Stutzman would make the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman part of the Indiana constitution.

Status: Out of Committee - First House (Bill Tracker:

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