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Advocacy Update | February 8, 2021

Issue Statement for Catalytic Leadership:  The role of 1si in promoting a fiscally-stable, business-friendly environment transcends local, regional, state and national issues.  Our members and investors support our leadership as a change agent to further our organizational mission.  Through our leadership and advocacy initiatives, we promote positive change by serving as the “Champions of Ideas” to achieve economic and business vitality for the region.  Additionally, we strive to provide for our investors and members access to policy makers through forums, roundtables and one-on-one meetings.

February 8 Advocacy Leadership Update:

  1. Small Business Restart Grants – 1si Director Jim Epperson testified in support of HB-1004 last month and the bill passed the full House by a vote of 93-3! If approved by the Senate, this action will establish the Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart grant program to provide grants to eligible entities to accelerate economic recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. COVID-Related Liability Protections – 1si’s Public Policy Leadership Group is supporting two bills currently being considered to protect business, public bodies and venues against liabilities related to COVID 19 transmission. Both for HB-1002 and SB-01 center around civil immunity and are moving through their respective Chambers.  Differences between the two Bills will likely be worked out during the second half of session.
  3. Broadband Support – This is a big week for broadband! Several bills designed to increase and enhance the reliability and affordability of broadband service are scheduled for hearings this week, and several others are moving.  The specific bills include HB-1413, HB-1426, HB-1449, SB-352, SB-359 and SB-377.  1si is on record to support broadband enhancement and we expect to see movement on many of these proposals this session.
  4. Wetlands Regulation SB-389 has passed the full Senate 29-19 and is crossing the hallway to be taken up by the House of Representatives. If approved, this will repeal the law requiring a permit from IDEM for wetlands activity in a state-regulated wetlands, leading to enhanced development opportunities.  1si supports this Bill.
  5. Local Economic Development Tools – 1si continues to support economic development as a priority.  As we partner with local governments to attract, expand and retain jobs and investment, we support protecting and enhancing existing economic development tools, including:
    1. Tax Increment Financing.  We will continue to look for ways to encourage flexible and responsible use of TIF to maximize the needs of our growing businesses.   Bills addressing TIF include HB-1187, HB-1249 and SB-408.
    2. Certified Technology Parks. Giving greater flexibility for state certified technology parks (CTPs) is the intent of SB-213.  We support CTPs and the enhanced use proposed by this bill, which is scheduled for a hearing this week.
    3. Enterprise Zones. As presented, HB-1025 outlines the process for extending Enterprise Zones – a valuable economic development tool – by an additional five (5) years.
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