State legislative update

2019 Legislative Appreciation Dinner
As 2019 winds down, the state looks to officially convene the 2020 Indiana General Assembly.  Your IEC government relations team will unofficially kick things off with the 2019 Appreciation Dinner Nov. 18. This dinner is a time-honored tradition for cooperative leadership and members of the General Assembly. This dinner is hosted the night before the General Assembly’s Organization Day to get as much bi-partisan attendance as possible. Members of the legislature love the opportunity to say hello to old friends and start building new relationships with each other and the larger cooperative community. IEC has carved out a niche with this dinner that no other association or advocate group has been able to match in over 30 years.

2020 Session Begins
Although legislative business does not start until after the first of the year, there are some important things happening later this month. The day after the appreciation dinner, legislators will make their first visit to the statehouse for Organization Day. This day is the official first day of the session and starts the clock on the 2020 calendar. This official first regular session day is required by law to convene on the third Tuesday after the first Monday of November. This day will include the first roll call for state legislators and allows each caucus from the Senate and the House of Representatives to elect officers and finalize committee appointments.

Once Nov. 19 is complete, legislators will return to their home districts for the balance of 2019.  The General Assembly is then mandated to convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. During odd-numbered years the legislature meets for roughly 61 days and must be adjourned by Apr. 30. During even-numbered years the legislature meets for 30 days and must be adjourned by March 15. 

Developing an Agenda
2020 will be what is called a “short session.” Without a budget to pass, these sessions take on a life of their own with other issues. We expect this session for cooperatives to be dominated with talk of broadband grant funding and the 21st Century Energy Task Force. 

With five meetings of the 21st Century Task Force completed and another five planned in 2020, recommendations will not be made to the legislative body until 2021 at the earliest. This means 2020 might include the government relations team taking a defensive posture to rout any onerous language that may pop up, although we do not foresee any large-scale problems. 

For more information on the current status on the Next Level Broadband Grant Program and the latest on the 21st Century Energy Task Force, click on the below links for a deeper dive on the issues:

With an election year looming, many policymakers are reluctant to put their names on any controversial bills. Look for this session to wrap up quickly and let these folks head home to continue their re-election efforts.

Weekly Legislative Update
IEC’s weekly Legislative Updates will resume in mid-December and then continue every Friday through session starting Jan. 10.

This is a great way to learn the latest each week from the Statehouse. The update also includes calendars for future committee meetings, our legislative tracking list, breakdowns of key bills and a link to a live video feed of both chambers and pertinent committees.  Contact Mandy Barth to sign up to receive the weekly Legislative Update.

@IECGR Twitter Page
Follow the government relations Twitter page to see live updates from the Statehouse during the 2020 Indiana General Assembly.