Much has been made of the ending of the 2018 state legislative session, and with good reason! It was, by all accounts, chaotic and messy, leaving more than a few broadly supported issues unresolved. Governor Eric Holcomb will be calling legislators back to the Statehouse in May to finalize a couple of these issues (federal/state tax law conformity, additional school safety funding) in a short special legislative session. But what happened with ICI’s legislative issues? Let’s recap.
ACTION ALERT UPDATES
HB 1015 (Torr) contained two different sections aimed at changing some language in state indemnity statutes. After some early negotiating on the House side, Rep. Torr agreed to alter his approach and support changes to the law aimed at eliminating problems with vicarious liability issues on worksites – a stance the construction industry broadly supported. However, the second section of the bill contained provisions supported by design professionals that would have statutorily removed them from the private negotiation process with owners and contractors in regards to duty to defend provisions in contracts. A business coalition made up of contractors, utilities, manufacturers and other entities staunchly opposed this section of the bill to the point where the entire measure died in a conference committee. We should be prepared for this idea to come back in a future legislative session.
HB 1021 (Torr) was an attempt to make it easier for private sector project developers to “bond around” liens that have been placed on a project in order for contractors to get paid for work they have performed. After the bill passed the House, ICI members jumped into the battle and began contacting state Senators to voice concerns about taking away what little leverage contractors have in ensuring payment. And your efforts worked! Senators didn’t even hear the bill in committee.
HB 1341 (Soliday) was one of the bills caught in the last-day-of-session shenanigans. This bill, a priority of the Governor, would have set up a regulatory framework for the operation of autonomous vehicles on Indiana roads and highways. Despite some differences in the two legislative chambers, it was expected to pass, but ultimately didn’t get across the finish line. We expect this bill to come back in 2019.
SB 242 (Holdman) was the omnibus Department of Revenue bill also caught up in the final minutes of the session. The bill contained language that would have put into statute the decades-long sales tax exemption on equipment used in the manufacture of asphalt. Though elements of this bill related to federal tax law conformity are expected to be considered during this year’s special legislative session, this portion of the bill will not come back until 2019.
OFF TO SUMMER STUDY COMMITTEE
HBs 1301 and 1374 (Carbaugh and Soliday) both contained language asking for a summer legislative study relating to payment and performance bonds for future public-private projects. Both items are awaiting the Governor’s signature.
HR 8 (Pressel) is another measure asking for a summer study committee, this one on the use of speed cameras in work zones and increased fines for distracted drivers. Ultimately, Legislative Council will decide if these issues will make the limited list of study topics.
We want to express our appreciation to ICI members for picking up the telephone or typing out an email whenever we requested your help. Your work on these measures made a HUGE difference. Please remember this next year, and in future years, when similar requests come across your desk – your input matters!