Public Policy Program

The Public Policy Program of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana works to increase the awareness of policy-makers and regulators about the issues associated with fair housing. We work with local, state and federal legislators to ensure strong fair housing laws and policies. We also collaborate with fellow organizations to strengthen fair housing laws. Funding restrictions impact significantly the ability of the FHCCI to be involved on issues of public policy.

Below are issues of public policy being monitored by the FHCCI by public policy area. Please note that agendas and hearings may change last minute. Please check government sites for the most up-to-date information on public policy and hearings.

FHCCI Bad Legislation List
General Guidance on Nonprofit Lobbying
2018 Indiana General Assembly Summary
2017 Indiana General Assembly Summary
2016 Indiana General Assembly Summary
2015 Indiana General Assembly Summary

General Guidance: Nonprofits can lobby! In Indiana, nonprofits interested in providing testimony on specific legislation may need to register as a lobbyist with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission. You should also review this excellent resource on nonprofit lobbying put together by our colleagues at Prosperity Indiana. Please speak out in the General Assembly on bills impacting your constituents or members and provide your valuable knowledge.

FHCCI List of Passed Indiana Legislation Which Is Barriers to

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

  • SB 240 (2018): Emotional support animal restrictions in rental housing and infraction for medical professionals. Provides that a dwelling that is exempt from the Indiana fair housing law is not subject to the requirements applicable to emotional support animals. Defines “emotional support animal”. Specifies who may use an emotional support animal, who may prescribe an emotional support animal, and when an individual may be prescribed an emotional support animal. Provides that an individual with a disability that is not readily apparent who submits a request for an emotional support animal that falsely suggests the individual has a disability that entitles the individual to the use of an emotional support animal in a dwelling commits a Class A infraction. 
    • Senate Civil Law Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose January 29 – then scroll to 19:20 mark on the video for the start of the hearing
    • Senate Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the Senate floor discussion and vote, click here and choose Tuesday, February 6 – then scroll to the 2:39:15 mark for the start of the debate
    • House Judiciary Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose February 26 – then scroll to 1:23:44 mark on the video for the start of the hearing   
    • House Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the House floor discussion and vote, click here and choose Thursday, March 1 (part 1) – then scroll to the 1:08:30 mark for the start of the debate
  • SB 558 (2017): Bans cities from passing ordinances to promote inclusionary zoning as it relates to affordable housing and adds language for landlord’s use regarding occupancy limitations in rental housing. Provides that a county or municipality may not adopt or enforce any land use or planning ordinance or regulation that has the effect of: (1) controlling rental or purchase price; or (2) requiring real property to be reserved for lease or sale to certain owners. Provides that a county or municipality may not require the owner of privately owned real property to agree to: (1) any requirement that would have the effect of controlling rental or purchase price; or (2) the payment of a fee, in lieu of a requirement that would have the effect of controlling rental or purchase price, as a prerequisite to consideration or approval of: (A) certain permits; or (B) any primary, secondary, or revised plats. Provides that a county or municipality retains the right to: (1) manage and control the development of a commercial or residential property in which the county or municipality has an ownership interest; and (2) enact, enforce, or maintain any general land use or zoning regulation that does not have the effect of: (A) controlling rental or purchase price; or (B) requiring real property to be reserved for sale or lease to certain owners. Allows an owner of privately owned real property to voluntarily enter into an agreement with a county or municipality that: (1) controls rental or purchase price; or (2) requires real property to be reserved for sale or lease to certain owners; in exchange for incentives or grants. Also includes language as it relates to nuisance ordinances.
    • Senate Civil Law Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose January 30 – then scroll to 27:00 mark on the video for the start of the hearing
    • Senate Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the Senate floor discussion and vote, click here and choose Thursday, February 16 – then scroll to the 1:07:16 mark for the start of the debate
    • House Judiciary Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose April 3 – then scroll to 1:08:55 mark for the start of the hearing
    • House Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the House floor discussion and vote, click here and choose April 6 (part 2) – then scroll to the 26:44 mark for the start of the debate
  • HB 1300 (2015): Section 8 discrimination protection ban. Prohibits a county, municipality, or township from adopting an ordinance that requires or would have the effect of requiring a landlord to participate in: (1) a Section 8 program of the federal Housing Act of 1937; or (2) a similar program concerning housing. Also includes non-fair housing issues.
    • House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose February 3 – then scroll to 1:35 mark on the video for the start of the hearing 
    • House Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the House floor discussion and vote, click here and choose February 12 (part 1) – then scroll to the 08:20 mark for the start of the debate
    • Senate Local Government Committee: To watch the committee hearing, click here and choose March 25 – then scroll to 4:52 mark on the video for the start of the hearing 
    • Senate Floor Debate and Vote: To watch the Senate floor discussion and vote, click here and choose April 9 – then scroll to the 47:00 mark for the start of the debate
  • HB 1165 (2015): Rental registration and inspection programs. Exempts programs that apply only to rooming houses and hotels from provisions regulating local government rental registration or inspection programs.
    • House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform: 
    • House Floor Debate and Vote: 
    • Senate Commerce & Technology Committee: 
    • Senate Floor Debate and Vote: 
  • HB 1403 (2014): Provides that the owner of a rental unit assessed any fee by a political subdivision pertaining to the rental unit may: (1) notify the tenants of the rental unit of the assessment of the fee; and (2) require the tenants of the rental unit to reimburse the owner for the payment of the fee. (Current law refers to “inspection, registration, or other fee”.) Requires fees regarding rental units and rental communities to be deposited in a dedicated fund to for reimbursement of costs actually incurred by the political subdivision relating to the imposition and amount of the fee. Restricts the circumstances and conditions in which a political subdivision may require a rental unit’s owner or landlord to obtain a permit. Allows an owner of a rental unit to obtain an exemption from a political subdivision’s inspection and inspection fee requirements if the rental unit satisfies certain requirements. Allows a political subdivision to impose a penalty for an act constituting a nuisance or ordinance violation. Allows a successful county, city, or town or a successful defendant to recover attorney’s fees incurred in a nuisance action. Provides that a political subdivision may assess an annual registration fee. Repeals superseded statutes relating to local regulation of residential landlord and tenant relations.
    • House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform: 
    • House Floor Debate and Vote: yeas 67 and nays 28
    • Senate Local Government Committee: 
    • Senate Floor Debate and Vote: yeas 34 and nays 12
    • Update: The City of Hammond challenged this law. In 2018, the Court of Appeals ruled this law unconstitutional. See news story and ruling. Pending decision by Indiana Supreme Court.

2018 Public Policy Issues

State of Indiana:

The Indiana General Assembly will begin on January 3, 2018.

Hate Crime Law (Bias Crimes Legislation): The FHCCI supports passage of a comprehensive hate crime law. You can read a fact sheet on frequently asked questions on why such a law is needed here.

2017 Public Policy Issues

State of Indiana:

The Indiana General Assembly will begin in January 2017.

2017 General Assembly testimony issued by the FHCCI and released to the public:

To follow legislation, committee hearings, floor debate, etc. visit the Indiana General Assembly website.

2016 Public Policy Issues

State of Indiana:

The FHCCI is tracking several bills regarding foreclosures, hate crime laws, LGBT protections, and disability rights. Contact Amy at the FHCCI if you wish to be added to our weekly public policy email.

2016 General Assembly testimony issued by the FHCCI and released to the public:

To follow the Indiana General Assembly, go to: https://iga.in.gov/

 

2014-2015 Archived Public Policy Issues

Source of Income/Section 8 Housing Discrimination Protection:

Indianapolis/Marion County 2014:

Proposal 215: Source of Income Protection. Amends Chapter 581 of the code to add as a discriminatory practice the denial of equal opportunities based on source of income.

  • Introduced June 19, 2014 by Councillor Leroy Robinson.
  • Hearing held July 8, 2014 before the Rules & Public Policy Committee. After hearing testimony and with several missing committee members, the Committee voted 3-2 to defeat Proposal 215.
  • At the City/County Council’s request, a new hearing was held before the Rules & Public Policy Committee on August 5, 2014. Testimony was heard, including new testimony. Following debate, the Committee voted 3-3 to refer the proposal to the City/Council Council with a No Recommendation vote.
  • New hearing scheduled before the Rules & Public Policy Committee on November 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM.
  • Passed the Rules & Public Policy Committee 4-3. Moves to City/County Council for vote.
  • December 1, 2014 – Indianapolis/Marion County Set to Vote on Historic Source of Income Protection: Tonight, the Indianapolis/Marion County City/County Council will vote on Proposal 215, which would add source of income as a protected class to the City/County Human Relations Ordinance. If passed, it would be unlawful for housing providers to deny a prospective tenant solely because he or she receives rental assistance such as a Housing Choice Voucher or subsidy from a nonprofit agency such as domestic violence survivors’ organizations or independent living centers. Read more here.
  • Referred back to Rules & Public Policy Committee 15-13. Hearing scheduled for January 27, 2015.
  • January 27, 2015: Rules & Public Policy Committee tabled until City DMD can review options through Task Force.

State of Indiana:

HB 1300: “Prohibits a county, municipality, or township from adopting an ordinance that requires or would have the effect of requiring a landlord to participate in: (1) a Section 8 program of the federal Housing Act of 1937; or (2) a similar program concerning housing.”

HB 1300 FHCCI Senate Testimony

March 31, 2015 – Indiana Senate Set to Vote on HB 1300 Restricting Housing Choice for Low-Income Hoosiers: Any day now, the Indiana Senate will vote on HB 1300, which would restrict the ability of Indiana cities and counties to add or enforce source of income housing discrimination protections under their City/County Human Relations Ordinances. If passed, it would significantly impact the ability of cities and counties with affordable housing limitations to ensure safe, affordable housing options for those of lower incomes. HB 1300 has passed the Indiana House and recently passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee as “Do Pass” on a party-line vote. The Fair Housing Center of Central (FHCCI) urges a “Do Not Pass” on HB 1300. Read more here.

LGBT Housing Discrimination Protection:

State of Indiana:

March 31, 2015 – FHCCI Urges Addition of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Indiana Civil Rights Laws: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) urges the Indiana General Assembly to immediately amend Indiana civil rights laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Hoosiers from discrimination. “While several Indiana cities have made great strides in ensuring equality for LGBT residents, there is a serious risk of backsliding at the state level,” stated Amy Nelson, Executive Director of FHCCI. “It is still perfectly lawful in Indiana to fire or evict someone because of their sexual orientation, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) threatens to deny services to any LGBT customer if a business so chooses and overrides any local LGBT civil rights or housing protections under city/county human relations ordinances. The only way to secure an inclusive and equal society for our LGBT relatives, friends, and neighbors is to add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as protected classes to Indiana civil rights and fair housing laws.” Read more here.

Homeless Protections:

Indianapolis/Marion County:

Proposal 291: This proposal aims to add additional protections for the homeless in the city of Indianapolis. It encompasses such factors including: protections in the event of displacement, a bill of rights, and a micro-homes and engagement center study.

  • Introduced September 22, 2014 by Councillor Leroy Robinson. Referred to the Rules and Public Policy Committee.
  • Hearing scheduled before the Rules & Public Policy Committee on November 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM.
  • Passed the Rules and Public Policy Committee 4-3. Moves to City/County Council for vote.
  • Referred back to Rules & Public Policy Committee 15-13. Hearing scheduled for January 27, 2015.
  • PASSED by City/County Coundil 15-13.
  • Vetoed by Mayor Ballard.

Proposal 72: Creation of an Engagement Center for the homeless. PASSED City/County Council 18-9.

Landlord/Tenant:

Indianapolis/Marion County:

Proposal 195: Landlord Registration Program. Amends the Code by adding a new Chapter 851 establishing the Indianapolis-Marion County Landlord Registration Program.

  • Introduced May 29, 2014 by Councillors Barth, Miller and Adamson. Referred to Rules & Public Policy Committee.
  • Hearing held July 8, 2014 before the Rules & Public Policy Committee. An amendment geared to clear up some ambiguity and to make Proposal 195 more inclusive for both landlords and tenants was introduced. Following testimony, the committee voted 5-0 to amend the proposal and postpone the vote until August 5, 2014.
  • Hearing held on August 5, 2014 before the Rules & Public Policy Committee. Following testimony and debate, the committee voted to approve the proposal and send to the City/County Council for consideration.
  • On August 18, 2014, the full council voted to pass Proposal 195 with a 16-11 final vote. Marion County landlords will now need to register their properties, and all owner information will need be maintained. In addition, a tenant’s bill of rights is enacted with this new law.

 

Federal Level – 113th Congress (2013-2014 Session):

  • S.1242: Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act. Adds to the list of prohibited actual or perceived bases under the federal Fair Housing Act sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income. Introduced June 27, 2013 by Senator Sherrod Brown. Status: Pending before the Judiciary Committee.
  • S.2515: Community Integration Act. Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to require state Medicaid plans to give an individual with disabilities needing the level of care provided in an institutional setting the choice and opportunity to receive such care in a home and community-based setting, including rehabilitative services, assistance and support in accomplishing activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, and health-related tasks, and assistance in acquiring, maintaining, or enhancing skills necessary to accomplish such activities, tasks, or services. Introduced June 24, 2014 by Senator Tom Harkin. Fact sheet here. Status: Pending before the Committee on Finance.
  • S.2889: Universal Home Design Act of 2014. Requires the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) to develop guidelines setting forth the minimum technical criteria and scoping requirements for certain federally assisted single family houses, townhouses, and other specified kinds of dwelling to comply with universal home design. Directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish an Office of Accessible Housing and Development to: (1) disseminate information to the public about the importance of universal home design, including through a website; (2) survey and report to the Secretary on the availability of affordable and accessible housing; and (3) promote universal home design. Introduced September 18, 2014 by Senator Tom Harkin.
  • H.R.2479: Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act. Adds to the list of prohibited actual or perceived bases under the federal Fair Housing Act sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income. Introduced July 15, 2013 by Representative Jerrold Nadler. Status: Pending before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
  • H.R.5547: Community Integration Act. Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to require state Medicaid plans to give an individual with disabilities needing the level of care provided in an institutional setting the choice and opportunity to receive such care in a home and community-based setting, including rehabilitative services, assistance and support in accomplishing activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, and health-related tasks, and assistance in acquiring, maintaining, or enhancing skills necessary to accomplish such activities, tasks, or services. Introduced September 18, 2014 by Representative Matthew Cartwright.
  • H.R.647: ABLE Act of 2014. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 or the ABLE Act of 2014 – Title I: Qualified ABLE Programs – (Sec. 101) States as the purposes of this title to: (1) encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life; and (2) provide secure funding for disability-related expenses of beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) and title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. Introduced on February 13, 2013 by Representative Ander Crenshaw. PASSED the House on December 3, 2014. PASSED Senate. Signed into law by President.

 

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