As with the beginning of each session of the state legislature, there’s always a multitude of bills introduced on just about any subject or issue. The vast majority never move forward and even fewer become law. I have included a few which might be of interest to local voters. One of the disturbing trends emerging is the legislature’s interest in extending control and/or oversight in the traditional affairs of local governing bodies, especially Indianapolis, which, at the same time, is one things many of them complain about with federal overreach into state issues.
HB 1123 -— Prohibits the state from restricting the right to worship in a state of emergency and bans local health departments from have more stringent restrictions than those contained in state executive orders unless approved by the local rule making body. (Possible politics vs science.)
HB 1519 — Prohibit the Governor from dictating a business’s hours of operation or its capacity level, ban requiring church goers to social distance or wear masks, ban the Governor from closing private schools and limiting the operations of hospitals. (All very important possible actions needed during a pandemic.)
HB 1164 — Eliminates the height and distance requirements for 5G cell towers and would limit a city’s ability to restrict poles in commercial and neighborhood areas. (Currently a big issue in some Indy neighborhoods as more 5G is made available.)
SB 69 — Would allow law enforcement to issue tickets to the registered owner (not necessarily the driver) of a vehicle which passes a stopped bus and increases fines from $1,000 up to $10,000. (Remember that would be against the registered owner of the vehicle, not necessarily against the driver).
SB 168 — Establishes a state oversight board for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. (Effectively taking over a city police department.)
HB 1156 — Prohibit cities from being able to ban or place favor on any certain type of fuel source. (Could possibly slow, if not stop, a city’s efforts to provide the best energy sources for its citizens?)
SB 311 — Would prohibit municipalities from banning or restricting use of force options. (Example: choke holds could not be banned). It would also allow officers to use force not listed in their department’s use of force policy and to disregard the department use of force continuum “based upon the officer’s determination of what is reasonable and necessary under the totality of the circumstances.” (Would make “use of excessive force” more difficult to prevent and/or prove.)
SB 394 — Gives police chiefs the sole authority to make general or special orders to the police department establishing the department’s procedures and policies on use of force. (Designed to prevent cities from enacting bodies such as the civilian-majority General Orders Review Board recently implanted in Indianapolis.)
HB 114 — Prohibits municipalities from regulating design elements of residential structures, i.e. materials used, garage designs, roof pitches, etc. (In addition to taking local building control away, another issue is that Rep. Doug Mills, the sole proponent of the proposed bill, owns a building development company, is on the board of directors of the National Association of Home Builders and Committee Chairman of the committee hearing the bill that could save builders thousands of dollars per structure.)
HB 1369 — Would allow a person, not otherwise prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun, to carry or possess a handgun in the State of Indiana without obtaining, possessing a license or permit. (Not sure were that leaves background checks, if any.)
These are just a few of the proposed bills that have surfaced this year. Any errors of interruption are mine alone. I would encourage everyone to carefully look into these and other proposed bills to see how they might impact you or your business. Contact State Senator Phil Boots and State Reps. Tim Brown and Sharon Negele and let them know your position on bills they might end up voting for.
S. David Long