Capitol Connection: Slow week as Senate tallies final votes
Senate approves bills to allow mass transit referendum, nix Common Core
The Indiana Senate voted 28-20 to allow a mass transit referendum bill to move forward. The measure would fund the transit proposals through increases in income and employment taxes in Hamilton County, with 25 percent of costs coming from the fares of people who use the service.
State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, voted ‘No’ to allowing voters to take up the referendum; Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who represents a portion of East Carmel, voted ‘Yes.’
SB 176 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration where it will be sponsored by State Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel.
After falling out of favor with Gov. Mike Pence, the national Common Core educational standards that had been adopted during the tenure of former Gov. Mitch Daniels are now under assault in the Legislature.
SB 91 would mandate that Indiana set it own college- and career-readiness standards.
Carmel schools had already adopted the Common Core standards prior to their official start date.
Delph and Kenley both voted ‘Yes’ on the proposal.
SB 91 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate approves Delph’s bill on probate matters
The Indiana Senate voted unanimously in support of a bill authored by State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, that contains various provisions dealing with estates, trusts, guardianships, powers of attorney and transfer of property upon death.
SB 36 is a result of the findings by the Senate Probate Code Study Commission, which is chaired by Delph.
Highlights of SB 36 include:
● When action is commenced to contest the validity of a will, the bill requires the plaintiff(s) to serve a copy of the complaint on the counsel of record for the personal representative.
● Amends the small estate affidavit statute to clarify that it can only be used by heirs, legatees or beneficiaries of the decedent to collect property or money owing, and not used by creditors of the decedent.
● Clarifies which trust beneficiaries are entitled to receive what information from the trustee regarding the trust’s administration, and requires the complete trust instrument to be delivered to income and remainder beneficiaries after a trust becomes irrevocable.
SB 36 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate supports Delph’s bill to help DNR sell excess nursery stock
The Indiana Senate voted 48-0 in favor of a bill authored by State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, that would allow nurseries operated by Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources to sell excess plants to private wholesalers and retailers at state nursery costs.
Senate Bill 177 also establishes limits on the DNR’s annual production of nursery stock.
Delph said permitting the DNR to sell excess plants to private wholesalers and retailers in Indiana could help generate an additional $150,000 to $240,000 a year for the department. He said additional revenue will benefit Hoosiers by preventing increases in ceilings costs, allowing the department to continue providing seedlings for 30 cents each.
The DNR Division of Forestry grows and distributes to Indiana landowners high-quality plant materials for conservation plantings. Conservation plantings include those for timber, windbreaks, wildlife food and habitat, watershed and soil protection, reclamation and education.
According to the DNR, about 3 million tree seedlings are sold in Indiana every year. After Indiana residents have purchased the seedlings they need, there are about 500,000 to 800,000 excess plants. Surplus is converted into mulch.
Delph’s proposal will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Sen. Coats: Hoosiers will pay price for proposed EPA rules
U.S. Senator Dan Coats, R-Ind., said Indiana residents will be significantly affected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed New Source Performance Standards.
He said the rules would require new coal-fired power plants to meet environmental standards not yet achievable by market-proven technology.
“These regulations will place a chokehold on Indiana’s primary and most affordable energy source,” Coats said. “By penalizing the Hoosier coal industry with unattainable environmental restrictions, the construction of new coal power plants will effectively be prohibited.”
As the seventh highest coal producing state in the nation, Indiana relies on coal-fired electricity to meet more than 80 percent of its energy needs.