Indiana’s 2023 Mid-Session Legislative Update on Pollution, Energy and Climate Bills
We are at a point in Indiana’s legislative session where the number of bills under consideration has been greatly reduced. What happened?
Simply put,* bills proposed by Senators at the start of the session had to be heard and voted on in a Senate committee. If they passed that hurdle, they went on to the full Senate. The same process took place in the House with bills proposed by House members.
At the end of February, only bills that made it through and were passed by the full House or full Senate crossed over into the other chamber…to go through all these steps again.
Some of the bills we hoped to see cross over did not. Others, some good, some bad, did. They are the ones that now have a chance to make it to the finish line, i.e., becoming law, by the time the session ends at the end of April.
Bills We Supported That Did Not Cross Over
SB 335, Establishing a Climate Task Force
There was some progress. SB 335, promoted by Confront the Climate Crisis, a group of high school students, got a hearing in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee this year. The committee heard excellent testimony from students and many other supporters in favor of this bill. The hearing room was packed, and I and many others had to watch the proceedings on a screen in the hallway. A year earlier, during the 2022 session, the bill had not received a hearing. So, despite the disappointment over the committee not allowing SB 335 to proceed to the full Senate, there was something to celebrate. And Confront the Climate Crisis will keep working on getting a climate task force established!
SB 254, Providing Utility Customer Protections
Though these bills did not cross over, we will continue building momentum within our movement to revisit many of these in the future.
Good Bills that Crossed Over
HB 1138, Mandatory Lead Testing in Preschools and Childcare Facilities
The Senate Environmental Affairs Committee passed it out of committee to the full Senate for second reading. It is now awaiting third reading.
HB 1219, Pilot Program Testing 1000 Firefighters for Exposure to PFAS (forever chemicals)
This bill has passed out of the SenateHomeland Security and Transportation Committee and out of the Appropriations Committee to be voted on by the Senate.
SB 390, Community Readiness for Solar & Wind Developments
Communities can receive certification and financial incentives for establishing a local ordinance with clear standards for siting, construction, operation and decommissioning of commercial solar and wind systems that are not more restrictive than required by Indiana law. This bill passed out of the House Utilities Committee, passed through the House with an amendment, and has been sent back to the Senate.
A Bill We Oppose
HB 1623, Administrative Rulemaking Regarding Coal Ash
You may have responded to our action alert about HB 1623 last month, asking you to contact your Senators and urge them to do what they can to prevent this bill from progressing.HB 1623 includes a provision that would prevent the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) from developing coal ash regulations that are more stringent than EPA’s federal rule. This bill limits Indiana's ability to decide what is best for Indiana, resulting in more contamination of our ground and surface waters with dangerous chemicals that can leach out from coal ash pits. It has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 5.
*Check out WebPageBillLaw.PDF (in.gov) for comprehensive information about how bills become law.
Questions? Contact Indiana Policy Coordinator Christine Glaser at firstname.lastname@example.org.