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Approval of Indiana Solar PV Property Tax Exemption in Final Stretch; HB 1072 Goes to Governor Daniels for Final Step March 14, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in 2012 Indiana General Assembly, Uncategorized.
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Many of you already know that the 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly adjourned during the wee hours of Saturday, March 10th.

Indianapolis Star State House reporters Mary Beth Schneider and Chris Sikich described the end of the session as follows:

“It was nearly 2 a.m. Saturday when Indiana’s lawmakers concluded the 2012 legislative session, with the final votes passing a bill that addressed everything from the victims of last year’s State Fair disaster to taxpayers to schools.

While lawmakers could have stretched this session out until Wednesday — the statutory deadline for them to finish their work — legislative leaders decided to cut the session short instead. After a bitter fight in January over the so-called “right to work” legislation, which brought thousands of protesters to the Statehouse and sparked days of boycotts by House Democrats, all were ready to wrap this session up.

Not, however, before voting on a flurry of bills through the night Friday into this [Saturday] morning.”

It was a grueling evening at the State House. So what do I mean by grueling? The last day of the session is typically physically but perhaps more importantly mentally demanding to the point of exhaustion. During one of the many recesses on the final day I saw Conference Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Espich in the back of the House Chamber engaged in conversation along with Senate Democratic conferee John Broden. At one point, Espich put a stack of papers on the ledge by the large windows at the rear of the Chamber. I could read upside down that this was a Conference Committee Report (CCR) for HB 1072 because that appears in larger type and bold faced at the top of the page. I desperately tried to nonchalantly read the Synopsis upside down through the window without Espich noticing what I was trying to do. A few minutes later when Sen. Broden left the House Chamber to return to the Senate floor, I was able to confirm with Broden that the solar PV language was in the CCR circulating for signatures. Whew! What a relief.

Even though you think you know what is going to happen, the final day of the session when law makers are dealing with Conference Committees it feels like you are in the Twilight Zone. Anything can and frequently does happen. The 800 pound gorilla was the lingering prospect of re-emergence of the tax credit language for the beleaguered Indiana Gasification, LLC, and SNG plant proposed for Rockport, Indiana.

Although most Conference Committees start out with one House Republican, one House Democrat, one Senate Republican and one Senate Democrat, if one of the minority conferees, i.e. Democratic members does not sign the CCR they are summarily removed and replaced by someone, i.e. a Republican who can and will sign the CCR. Yup. That’s the way it works. After the four conferees sign the CCR, there is not an opportunity to amend the CCR. It is either voted “up” or “down” on the floor of the House and the Senate. If the CCR report is defeated, it goes back to the conferees for another try.

After a Conference Committee Report (CCR) for HB 1072 was finally signed, state legislators suspend the rules and look over the CCR in the House and Senate Rules Committees. Following presentation to the respective Rules Committee members the CCR then goes back to both the House and the Senate for final roll call votes. For example, suspension of the House Rules then allowed a CCR to be considered on the House floor after merely 30 minutes.

The House called down the CCR a little before 11:00 pm but was withdrawn a few minutes later because hard copies had not been distributed to House members. Later it was called down again around 11:49 pm and the roll call in the House approved HB 1072 about 11:53 pm by a vote of 87-8.

The Senate did not vote on the CCR for HB 1072 until 12:28 am Saturday morning by a vote of 50-0.

After the House and the Senate vote on the CCR then the Senate Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House sign the bill. This took place on 3/13/2012. The last and final step is approval by Governor Mitch Daniels. Once HEA 1072 reaches the Governor he has one week to 1) sign the bill, 2) allow the bill to become law without his signature or 3) veto the bill. The Governor has one week to act once it reaches his desk. You can track action by the Governor by visiting: http://www.in.gov/gov/billwatch.htm.

So continue to keep your fingers crossed and/or “knock on wood.”

The legislation is now referred to as House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1072. The final reversion can be found at: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/PDF/HE/HE1072.1.pdf

The solar photovoltaic (PV) property tax exemption can be found in Sections 15 &16 on pages 10 & 11 of 191 pages.

For more information, please see http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2012&session=1&request=getBill&docno=1072

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