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Bill Watch, Jan. 24, 2020: Current Environmental Legislation of Note - Environmental Law News

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Environmental Law News


Posted on: Jan 28, 2020

The IndyBar Legislative Committee is currently monitoring the following environmental law related legislation. IndyBar members can request that the Legislative Committee track specific legislation by contacting committee chair Mindy Westrick at mwestrick@indianaenergy.org.

Click here to view the full Bill Watch reports.

HB1055    CIVIL GOVERNMENT PROPERTY TAX CONTROLS. (THOMPSON J) Provides that for years after 2020 an assessed value growth quotient is determined individually for each taxing unit. Provides that the assessed value growth quotient for a taxing unit is determined by a formula that is based on: (1) the average growth in the taxing unit's net assessed value; and (2) the average circuit breaker losses experienced by a taxing unit. Eliminates Indiana nonfarm personal income as a factor in computing an assessed value growth quotient.

HB1113    DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE. (LEONARD D) Changes the deadline for reporting bonds issued or leases executed after September 30. Changes the defined term "assessed value growth quotient" to the term "maximum levy growth quotient" without changing the definition. Allows the department of local government finance (DLGF) to amend certain rules to conform with statutory changes. Changes the deadline before which a township or county assessor must provide notice of the amount of assessment or reassessment. Requires counties to provide data related to property taxation to the DLGF. (Current law requires counties to provide the data to the DLGF and the legislative services agency.) Defines the term "yard improvements" in connection with the assessment of a golf course. Eliminates unnecessary information from the sales disclosure form. Changes the term "industrial facility" in the statutes concerned with the assessment of industrial facilities. Prohibits township assessors and vendors who contract with county assessors or townships from assessing industrial facilities in Lake County. Establishes floating deadlines for assessing officials or the county property tax board of appeals to act when making changes in the assessed value of personal property or issuing a determination in an appeal of a change in assessed value of personal property. Changes the debt service obligation reporting date. Provides that a political subdivision shall submit the date, time, and place of the final adoption of the budget, tax rate, and levy through the department's computer gateway. Requires a political subdivision to indicate on its budget ordinance whether the political subdivision intends to issue debt after December 1 or file a shortfall appeal. Requires a political subdivision that makes an additional unbudgeted appropriation to submit the additional appropriation to the department within 15 days after the additional appropriation is adopted. Provides that a county treasurer shall transmit the statement describing a taxpayer's property tax liability and the notice of assessment together to the taxpayer before April 15 each year. Eliminates the use of the state address confidentiality form to submit a request to restrict access to a covered person's address maintained in a public property data base. Provides that if a taxpayer is owed a refund that exceeds $100,000 for excessive property taxes paid on real property, a county auditor may pay the property tax refund in equal installments of property tax credits for up to five years. Requires the DLGF to provide certain assessment and tax data to the legislative services agency within one business day of receipt. Eliminates the requirement that a candidate for an assessor-appraiser examination be an Indiana resident. Eliminates the restriction that a representative of a taxpayer in a proceeding before the Indiana board of tax review must be an attorney if a matter under consideration in the proceeding is a claim that taxes are illegal as a matter of law. Provides that if an adopting body under the local income tax law wishes to submit a proposed notice, ordinance, or resolution to the department for preliminary review, the adopting body shall submit the notice, ordinance, or resolution on the prescribed forms. Eliminates the requirement in the context of teacher collective bargaining for the department to certify the amount of an operating referendum tax levy or a school safety referendum tax levy. Transfers responsibility for reporting by political subdivisions of other post-employment benefits from the department to the state board of accounts. Aligns the deadline for public libraries to adopt a budget with the general deadline to adopt a budget. Rephrases and reorganizes various provisions. Makes technical changes.

HB1257    NOTICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION. (BOY P) Requires a person who causes a spill of certain substances into waters of the state to report the spill immediately to the following: (1) The department of environmental management (department). (2) The county health officer of each county in which the spill occurred. (3) A downstream water user. (4) At least one emergency response agency. (5) Each park located in the county in which the spill occurred. Requires the department, the county health officer, the downstream water user, the emergency response agency, and each park (entity) to: (1) post the information received about the spill on each entity's Internet web site; and (2) in a manner determined by each entity, make the information received about the spill available to the public. Requires the person who caused the spill to immediately provide notice by publication to the public in each county in which the spill occurred. Establishes a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for each day that the person fails to make the report or provide the notice required by the bill. Provides that the civil penalty is not more that $50,000 for each day that the person fails to make the report or provide the notice if a court has entered a judgment against a person for a previous violation of the reporting and notification requirements added by the bill. Provides that a person who fails to make the report or provide the notice required by the bill commits a Class A misdemeanor. Specifies that a person commits a Level 6 felony if the person has a prior unrelated conviction for a violation of the reporting and notification requirements added by the bill. Provides that money collected by the department for a civil violation of the reporting and notification requirements added by the bill shall be deposited into the environmental management special fund. Adds definitions of "downstream water user", "objectionable substance", "park", and "spill". Makes conforming changes.

HB1282 EXCESS LIABILITY TRUST FUND. (EBERHART S) Provides that the administrator shall, not later than March 31, 2020, pay claims for costs from the excess liability trust fund (ELTF) for claims submitted within a specified period of time. Establishes a formula for paying claims for reimbursement from the ELTF to claimants before the establishment of standards for reasonableness and cost effectiveness by the underground storage tank financial assurance board.
 
HB1309 DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. (WOLKINS D) Amends the law concerning the property tax exemption for industrial waste control facilities to: (1) require the property owner seeking the exemption to certify that the property for which the exemption is claimed meets the exemption requirements; and (2) provide for the township assessor or county assessor, instead of the department of environmental management (department), to allow or deny the claimed exemption. Amends the law concerning assessed value deductions for hydroelectric power devices and geothermal energy heating or cooling devices to: (1) eliminate the requirement that the department determine whether a system or device qualifies for the deduction; and (2) provide that the township assessor or county assessor may consult with the department in determining whether to verify the certified statement of the property owner concerning a claimed deduction. Eliminates the requirement that the department itself, at least once per year, administer a certification examination for operators of water treatment plants, water distribution systems, and wastewater treatment plants. Requires instead the department to ensure that the examination is administered at least once per year, and allows the examination to be administered by independent third parties authorized by the commissioner of the department.
 
HB1337 NOTIFICATION OF WATER UTILITIES AND WATER TREATMENT FACILITIES. (HATFIELD R) Provides that the environmental rules board shall amend provisions within the administrative rules governing spills to provide for notification to a water utility and water treatment facility by a responsible party in the case of a spill or permit exceedance that may cause a threat to human health or the environment or otherwise impact the operation of a water utility or water treatment facility.
 
HB1357 INDEPENDENT TESTING OF LAKE MICHIGAN WATER. (HATCHER R) Requires the commissioner of the department of environmental management to engage an independent testing service to test and analyze the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan and report to the commissioner the results of its testing and analysis at least four times per year. Provides that the independent testing service must test and analyze the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan for the presence and concentration of pollutants that are known to constitute the greatest environmental problems for the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan. Requires that the results of the testing and analysis be made available to the public.
 
HB1366 INDUSTRIAL WASTE. (LEHE D) Provides that in determining whether a biosolid or an industrial waste product resulting from anaerobic digestion must be evaluated for characteristics of hazardous waste under certain federal regulations applicable to hazardous wastes, the commissioner of the Indiana department of environmental management: (1) may not apply standards that are more stringent than the federal standard; and (2) shall act expeditiously in making the determination for purposes of implementing a state administrative rule.
 
HB1403 WASTE TIRES. (WOLKINS D) Adds a definition of "used tire", for purposes of the law governing solid waste management. Makes a change to the definition of "waste tire processing operation". Adds requirements for the adoption of administrative rules concerning the regulation of waste tire storage sites and waste tire processing operations.

SB43    FRAUD CONSOLIDATION. (YOUNG M) Repeals and consolidates various fraud, deception, and mischief offenses. Defines "financial institution" for purposes of crimes involving financial institutions. Defines "item of sentimental value" and enhances the penalties for mischief, theft, and fraud if the offense involves an item of sentimental value. Makes conforming amendments. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the interim study committee on corrections and criminal code.)

SB73    REPORTS OF POTENTIAL VIOLATIONS TO IDEM. (TOMES J) Authorizes the department of environmental management (department) to facilitate the submission of reports of potential environmental violations by means of a printed form, a dedicated telephone number, and an online form available through the department's Internet web site. Provides: (1) that the printed report form must include a space in which the individual submitting the report is directed to write the individual's name and address; (2) that when a call is made to the dedicated telephone number, the caller must be asked to give the caller's name and address; and (3) that the online form must include fields in which the individual submitting the report is to enter the individual's name and address, and that the department's Internet web site must be programmed so as not to allow the submission of a report unless those fields are filled in. Provides that, upon the request of a person to whom a report of a potential violation refers, the department shall disclose the identity of the individual who made the report unless the individual's identity is excepted from disclosure under the public records law.

SB130    RESIDENTIAL SEWAGE DISCHARGING DISPOSAL SYSTEMS. (KRUSE D) Makes changes to the process to issue permits for onsite residential sewage discharging disposal systems that are installed to repair failed septic systems in certain counties.

SB165    VEHICLE BILL. (BRAY R)

SB166    VEHICLE BILL. (BRAY R)

SB229    MAINTENANCE OF REGULATED DRAINS. (SPARTZ V) Provides that a permit is not required from the Indiana department of environmental management for the reconstruction or maintenance of regulated drains for purposes of the law concerning state regulated wetlands.

SB248    ANNUAL INSPECTIONS OF CAFOS. (NIEMEYER R) Requires the department of environmental management, at least once per year, to conduct an onsite inspection of every concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), which, under federal regulations, is: (1) a large CAFO, at which more than 1,000 head of beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 swine weighing more than 55 pounds, or 125,000 broiler chickens are confined onsite for more than 45 days during a year; (2) a medium CAFO, at which 300 to 999 head of beef cattle, 200 to 699 dairy cows, 750 to 2,499 swine weighing more than 55 pounds, or 37,500 to 124,999 broiler chickens are confined onsite for more than 45 days during a year, and from which pollutants are discharged directly or through a manmade device into waters of the United States; or (3) a small CAFO, at which fewer animals are confined than at a medium CAFO but which has been determined to be a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States.

SB432 PRODUCER RECYCLING OF WASTE PACKAGING AND PAPER. (STOOPS M) Requires every producer of a product or material that results in waste packaging or waste printed paper to register with the department of environmental management (department) and, either singly or jointly with one or more other producers, to submit to the department for approval a producer recycling program plan under which the producer or group of producers will provide for or finance the recycling of packaging and printed paper. Provides that a proposed producer recycling program plan must include a description of the methods by which packaging and printed paper will be collected from households in a convenient manner in all parts of Indiana and recycled, an explanation of how the plan will be financed, and other contents. Requires a producer or group of producers to solicit comments and input from stakeholders on its proposed producer recycling program plan. Provides that the department may require a producer or group of producers to revise a producer recycling program plan that does not meet the requirements of the law. Provides that a producer recycling program plan, once accepted by the department, must be updated every two years. Establishes goals of: (1) recycling 50% of all household packaging and printed paper by July 1, 2026; and (2) recycling 60% of all household packaging and printed paper by July 1, 2029. Exempts a producer of packaging or printed paper with gross sales in Indiana of less than $250,000 per year from these requirements, and provides that a producer of packaging or printed paper with gross sales in Indiana of at least $250,000 but less than $500,000 is required to pay an annual fee to a producer recycling organization of not more than $750 but is not otherwise required to comply with these requirements.

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