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Environmental bills to watch in 2020

  • 3 min to read
Environmental bills to watch in 2020

Some of the bills introduced could have a direct effect on the state’s environment or help or impede Hoosiers from improving their own effect on the environment. 

Senate Bill No. 6

Electric vehicle supplemental fee.
Author: Sen. Mike Bohacek

The bill proposes continuing the supplemental registration fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. In its current form, the bill would allow the state to continue imposing a $150 supplemental registration fee on electric vehicles and $50 for hybrid vehicles on top of standard state vehicle registration fees. 

Senate Bill No. 33

School City of East Chicago Loan
Author: Sen. Lonnie M. Randolph

For the fourth year in a row, Sen. Lonnie Randolph introduced a bill that proposed the State of Indiana produce the funds to help East Chicago schools pay off a loan it received from the state to relocate students during the city’s lead crisis. 

Since the 1980s, state and federal agencies have found evidence of lead contamination in residential areas surround the USS Lead Superfund site. In 2016, just weeks before the start of the new school year, officials from the School City of East Chicago announced it would close Carrie Gosch Elementary after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials found parts of the property were contaminated with lead.

The $3 million emergency loan was used to renovate classrooms and bathrooms at an abandoned middle school to convert it into the new, uncontaminated Carrie Gosch Elementary.

Senate Bill No. 56

Homeowners associations and solar energy systems
Author: Sen. Linda Rogers

This bill would clarify which screening and preapproval powers homeowners associations in Indiana have over the installation of solar energy systems. 

Under the bill, HOAs could require homeowners thinking about installing solar power systems to provide more information about those systems before installation. The bill would also delineate HOAs more power to prohibit installation or require system removal under certain circumstances, including if “a court” found the solar energy system threatens public health or safety or “violates a law.”

If stipulations in the law are met, HOAs would not be allowed to prohibit the installation of solar power systems.

Senate Bill No. 63

State forest commission and management plan
Authors: Sen. John RuckelshausSen. Eric Bassler and Sen. Greg Walker

This bill would establish a state forest commission that would be tasked with making up a 100-year plan for the management of the state’s forests. 

If established, the commission would consist of two members of the general public chosen by the governor to serve as co-chairs, two members of the state senate and two members of the state House of Representatives. The commission would also include a governor-appointed commercial logging industry representative, environmental group representative, hunting/fishing representative, outdoor recreation representative, state forester, forest products industry representative and the commission director.

Senate Bill No. 73

Reports of potential violations to IDEM
Author: Sen. James Tomes

Senate Bill No. 73 could eliminate the option for concerned Hoosiers to anonymously report potential environmental violations to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Currently, IDEM gives users the option to omit personal information like name, address and other contact information when submitting a tip online, over the phone and by mail. That would change if the bill is passed.

The bill would force IDEM to program their site to not allow the submission of a report to the department unless the name and address form fields are filled in, and allow IDEM to reveal the reporting person’s name and address to the subjects of the complaint.

Senate Bill No. 99

Study committee on invasive species
Author: Sen. Susan Glick

The bill forwarded to the Indiana Senate’s Natural Resources Committee urges the legislative council to assign an interim study committee to study issues related to invasive species. 

The study committee would have to examine the Indiana Invasives Initiative, an agreement between the Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to establish small partnership organizations called Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA) to manage invasive plants locally.

The bill would also allow the study committee to investigate the possibility of making the Indiana Invasives Initiative a state agency. 

Senate Bill No. 104

Designated wild areas in state forests
Author: Sen. Mark Stoops

Retiring State Sen. Mark Stoops introduced a bill that would set declare 13 areas inside state forests “designated wild areas,” or protected areas where logging, herbicide use, vehicle use and energy development and other disturbances are prohibited.

The bill would include a designated wild area of at least 800 acres in each of the state’s 13 state forests

The text of bills introduced during the legislative session often changes, and more bills will be introduced. We'll keep you up to date.

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