The Senate killed a bill on wind and solar siting regulations because it did not have enough votes for passage. House Bill 1381 initially overruled local governments that had already banned or severely limited wind and solar farms. But it was amended in committee and on the floor to grandfather existing regulations and offer standard rules for the rest of the state. Local governments would have had until July 1 to pass their codes.
INDIANAPOLIS – A trio of controversial bills met their fate Tuesday on a legislative deadline day – from overweight trucks to wind and solar regulations.
The Senate first approved a bill 30-19 expanding the use of overweight trucks carrying up to 120,000 pounds of goods.
The debate at times was intense with several former semitrailer drivers in the chamber.
Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, said House Bill 1190 is a compromise by stakeholders that is a moderate, phased-in expansion of the number of overweight truck permits on Indiana’s roads. Right now, only metal and agriculture commodities can use them but all sectors could under the bill.
“This allows government to meet the demands of industry and make Indiana businesses more competitive,” he said.
Ford said local authorities can deny loads on local streets and if a truck deviates from an approved route, it can face increased fines.
But others spoke about the danger these heavier trucks pose to those on the road and a poll of Hoosiers opposing the move.
“A vote against this bill is a vote to save lives,” said Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville.
The bill was changed in the Senate and the House must still accept those modifications.
Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, was the only area senator to vote no.
Wind, solar energy
The Senate killed a bill on wind and solar siting regulations because it did not have enough votes for passage.
House Bill 1381 initially overruled local governments that had already banned or severely limited wind and solar farms. But it was amended in committee and on the floor to grandfather existing regulations and offer standard rules for the rest of the state.
Local governments would have had until July 1 to pass their codes.
Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, compared handling the bill to a hostage negotiator working with a schizophrenic. He said he gave local officials everything they wanted but the schizophrenic still shot the hostage.
Republicans met in an emergency caucus a few hours beforehand but he did not have the votes so he withdrew it. Language could be inserted elsewhere in the final days.
A third bill revamps the grain indemnity fund, which helps cover losses by farmers when licensed grain buyers fail.
But House Bill 1483 doesn’t go far enough, according to GOP Huntington Sen. Andy Zay.
He wanted language in the bill to help about 25 farmers from his district who lost money when AgLand Grain and Salamonie Mills failed last year. More than 200 farmers or groups have or will receive payouts totaling $9.2 million.
But some farmers were ineligible because state law only covers transactions up to 15 months before a failure. Their claims total $1.2 million.
Zay said several farmers who paid into the fund will go bankrupt and lose their farms because the state is being so rigid on the claims.
“This is very tragic,” he said, saying he is going to stand behind his farmers.
Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, is the author of the bill and said her heart goes out to them but they signed a contract knowing the rules.
“We are just abiding by state law,” she said.
Zay was the only local senator to oppose the bill.
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