2014 Public Policy Issues

In 2014, the FHCCI monitored state legislation and Indianapolis/Marion County ordinance changes:

Indiana General Assembly

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 Repeals superseded statutes relating to local regulation of residential landlord and tenant relations.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.

Indianapolis/Marion County 2014:

Source of Income/Section 8 Housing Discrimination Protection:

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.

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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