Bill Watch 2013

The Hoosier Environmental Council worked with our allies and supporters to prevent potential rollbacks in environmental protection in the 2013 Indiana General Assembly, and we have had some exciting successes this year.

Supporters like you sent nearly a thousand messages through our Action Center alone, helped us spread the word on potentially damaging legislation through social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – and by writing to legislators, committee members, and staying engaged up to the final day of the session.

Below is a summary of the fate of HEC’s priority bills. For a more comprehensive summary of all environmental bills, go to HEC’s 2013 Indiana General Assembly Wrap-up.

2013 Indiana General Assembly Wrap-up

Public Transportation

Indy Connect — Central Indiana Public Transit

The final version of House Bill 1011 enacted by the Indiana General Assembly provides for a legislative study committee to review the central Indiana transit issue.

Transit advocates will continue building support for enabling legislation next session that allows voters to decide in November 2014 whether to fund an expanded regional transit system.  Learn more here.

Conservation Funding

Fact: Environmental and conservation funding represents just 1% of the Indiana state budget.

HEC and our allies in the Indiana Conservation Alliance sought significant funding increases for Indiana’s most important conservation programs.  Our request for $1 million a year in general funds for Clean Water Indiana was added to the budget bill in the House.  But our request for $2 million a year in general funds for the Indiana Heritage Trust was disregarded, and instead, just a token amount of $97,000 a year was approved.

After budget cuts in FY 2011 and FY 2012, the new FY 2014-FY 2015 budget maintains operating funding for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Indiana Department of Natural Resources at existing levels.

Learn more about conservation funding in the 2013 budget bill here.

Consumer Education Concerning Phosphorus (SB 546/HB 1202)

HEC worked with Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) and Representative Sue Errington (D-Muncie) to propose legislation to reduce phosphorus run-off from residential lawns by requiring distributors, retailers and licensed commercial lawn care applicators to provide a phosphorus-free alternative to consumers and consumer educational information about the need to reduce phosphorus run-off at the point of sale. Although HEC was able to garner broad support for SB 546 and HB 1202, lobbyists for retailers and the lawn care industry were opposed to the bill’s education “mandate” and convinced members of the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee not to give the bill a hearing.

Right to Ranch and Farm (SJR 21/HJR 5) and the Right to Hunt and Fish (SJR 7) — a/k/a/ Creating a Constitutional “Right to Harm”

Two companion resolutions, SJR 21 and HJR 5, would have amended the Indiana Constitution to create a fundamental right to “engage in traditional and modern farming and ranching practices.”  Despite its title, the “Right to Hunt and Fish,” SJR 7 would have created a constitutional right to “engage in the commercial production of meat, poultry and dairy products.”

We expect to see SJR 7 revived next year.  Learn more about these resolutions – and how you can help HEC stop them in the 2014 legislative session – by clicking here.

View HEC’s Legislative Webinars: