The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 1:00 am

Trash pickup bid change clears House

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

The Indiana House voted 86-4 Tuesday to allow cities and towns to use a different bidding process for solid waste contacts.

House Bill 1286 was brought by Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, at the request of Fort Wayne city officials frustrated by a troubled garbage contract.

Under current law, cities and towns – except for Indianapolis – must use an invitation to bid process in which they have to choose the “lowest responsible and responsive bidder.” The bill would allow all cities and towns to use a request for proposal process instead and other factors could be considered when awarding a contract.

The only area House member to oppose the bill was Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Goshen.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

No partisan school boards

A bill that would have made school board elections partisan died Tuesday in the Indiana House.

House Bill 1182 received a hearing earlier this month, but no one testified in support of the legislation. Instead, there was universal opposition.

The bill had to pass out of committee by Tuesday or would die for the session.

Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, is chairman of the House Elections Committee and did not call for a vote on the measure that he co-authored.

He said the hearing was used to gather input and many constituents support it. But he also acknowledged a passionate group of people opposing it.

Wesco said this is not the year for the bill, but it could come back in the future.

School board elections are nonpartisan, and the bill would have required candidates to choose Republican, Democrat or Independent. Only a handful of states use this process.

Multiple versions of the bill were filed in both the House and Senate, but none have moved.

Public comment bill advances

School boards would be required to hear public comment under a bill that passed the House 92-1 on Tuesday.

House Bill 1130 was a response to several school districts' refusal to allow public comment in recent months after a summer of raucous meetings sometimes disrupted by the public.

Rep. Tim O'Brien, R-Evansville, said the bill he authored allows boards to limit the time a person can talk as long as it isn't below three minutes. And they can remove someone who interrupts the meetings.

“Hoosiers deserve to have their voices heard, especially when it comes to their children's education,” he said.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

No area lawmakers voted against the measure.

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