2019 Public Policy Issues
State of Indiana:
The Indiana General Assembly began on January 3, 2019. The FHCCI followed several bills, including:
- HB 1190: Group homes for individuals with disabilities. Provides that a dwelling for: (1) not more than four individuals who reside independently of their families and who have a mental illness or developmental disability; and (2) a caregiver and the caregiver’s family; is a Class 2 structure. This bill did not receive a hearing.
- HB 1230: Repeal of statutes preempting local action. Repeals statutes that prohibit a unit of local government from doing the following: (1) Mandating employee benefits, scheduling, or leave policy that exceed federal or state requirements. (2) Regulating firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories. (3) Requiring a landlord to participate in a housing program. (4) Regulating the manufacture or use of bags, bottles, and other single use containers. (5) Regulating the leasing or sale of real property. No hearing provided so the bill failed. The FHCCI supported this bill due to its inclusion of anti-fair housing preemptions.
- HB 1365: This bill repeals the prohibition that prevents certain counties from: (1) purchasing; (2) leasing; (3) acquiring; (4) constructing; or (5) operating a light rail project. HB 1365 passed the House floor 89-5. It then went to the Senate for consideration before the Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation. No hearing provided so the bill failed. The FHCCI supported this bill. A story on this bill is here.
- HB 1372: Inspections of rental properties. Provides that a political subdivision shall establish and enforce a program for inspecting and registering rental units. This bill never received a hearing.
- HB 1495: Real estate land contracts. This bill adds some needed consumer protections as it relates to land contracts. HB 1495 was amended in committee and passed the House floor 82-14. It then went to the Senate for consideration. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it was heard on March 27. It was passed out of Committee with amendments and went to the Senate floor where it passed 26-22. HB 1495 was then assigned to conference committee due to the changes to the bill between the two sides of passage. The House subsequently passed the conference committee bill but the Senate denied passage by a vote of 30-19. The FHCCI supported this bill. A news story highlighted this bill.
- SB 402: Prohibited discrimination in civil rights statutes. Extends certain anti-discrimination and civil rights statutes to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, and ancestry. This bill never received a hearing. The FHCCI supported this bill.
- SB 422: Landlord tenant matters. Provides that, if a tenant refuses or neglects to pay rent and fees when due, a landlord may terminate the lease after giving not less than ten days notice, but not if the tenant pays the rent and fees in full before the notice period expires. Requires notice to a tenant regarding lease termination to include a statement about failure to pay rent and fees. Provides that notice is not required to terminate a formal or informal lease in certain situations and other changes. This bill started with some basic tenant protection that included termination of lease if habitability standards were not met or repaired at move in, as well as changes to eviction notices. The bill was amended in committee to take away the tenant friendly language. It was not taken to the Senate floor for vote. The bill failed. The FHCCI supported this bill.
- SB 524: Residential landlord-tenant matters. This bill would have strengthened renter protections and made changes to address the eviction crisis in Indiana including expanded legal aid and sealing of eviction filings. The bill did not receive a hearing. Press on this bill is here.
- Hate Crime Law bills: Several bills were filed related to a hate crime (anti bias) law. Bill numbers included: HB 1020, HB 1093, HB 1159, HB 1203, HB 1320, HB 1337, HB 1371, SB 12, SB 75, SB 469, and SB 599.
- SB 12: This is the only bill related to bias crimes (hate crime law) that advanced this session. The bill was drastically amended by the Senate in a vote of 33-16 which took out identified characteristics which were championed by the business community and advocates. The Senate later passed the bill in its amended version by a vote of 39-10. It now goes to the House for consideration. The FHCCI cannot support this bill without the named characteristics. The House decided to not take up this bill for vote. Instead, the House chose SB 198 (sentencing bill) for amendment to add in confusing, and possibly unconstitutional, language related to bias crimes. SB 198 also did not reference gender, gender identity, age, or ancestry in its list of personal characteristics. The FHCCI, and many other advocates, could not support this bill with all its many problems. Unfortunately, SB 198 passed the House and was agreed to by the Senate. The Governor then signed this bill into law.