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Indiana General Assembly Enters the “Twilight Zone”; HB 1117 and HB 1280 Conferees Named March 2, 2008

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.

We are now moving into the final two weeks of the 2008 session of the Indiana General Assembly. State legislators at this stage of the game only address bills that have already passed both the House and the Senate. Conference Committees are appointed to work out the differences between the versions or the variations of the proposed legislation.

Quite frankly, I refer to this period of the session addressing Conference Committees as the “Twilight Zone”.

Wikipedia says this: “The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created (and often written) by its narrator and host Rod Serling. Each episode (156 in the original series) is a self-contained fantasy, science fiction, or horror story, often concluding with an eerie or unexpected twist.”

It’s the eerie or unexpected twist I guess that causes me to think of Conference Committees as sometimes taking place in the “Twilight Zone”. Anything can and does happen during this part of the session. Just remember that this episode of the bizarre fantasy known as the 2008 session of the Indiana General Assembly will conclude March 14th! Of course, there is the possibility that Governor Mitch Daniels will call state legislators back to the State House for a Special Session, however, that is not likely unless they fail to act on property tax relief.

HB 1117 addresses a variety of coal issues including coal gasification. Sen. Hershman added an amendment in the Senate that establishes a weak renewable electricity standard.

For more information see these recent articles:
from the Speedway Navigator http://www.speedwaynavigator.net/V3I1/a24.html
and from the South Bend Tribune http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080223/BIZ/802230442.

Renewable energy advocates will want to watch HB 1117 closely during conference and to communicate with conferees, advisors and their own state legislators to urge that the renewable electricity standard language be strengthened in the bill.

The conferees and advisors appointed for HB 1117 last week (02/28/08) are as follows:

House conferees appointed: Reps. Stilwell and Koch
House advisors appointed: Reps. Battles and Lutz
Representative Grubb appointed as House advisor
Senate conferees appointed: Sens. Hershman and Lewis
Senate advisors appointed: Sens. Wyss and R. Young

HB 1280 as introduced set out procedures for energy efficient buildings. In the Senate Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee, the bill was amended to require the Environmental Quality Service Council (EQSC) to study whether public entities should be required or encouraged to seek to achieve energy and environmental design ratings in the construction and renovation of buildings and structures. Sen. Gard, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee, agreed to allow HB 1280 to go to a conference committee to allow parties an opportunity to continue to work on compromise language to address concerns expressed by the Indiana hardwood lumber industry.

Thus far, only House conferees and advisors for HB 1280 have been appointed as follows:

House conferees appointed: Reps. Pierce and Wolkins
House advisors appointed: Reps. Austin and Friend

Stay tuned for the next episode of the “Twilight Zone”!



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