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Indiana Farm Bureau

NEWS RELEASE

March 18, 2014

For more information: Katrina Hall, 317-692-7805

Andy Dietrick, 317-692-7818, adietrick@infb.org

Indiana Farm Bureau extremely pleased with results of the 2014 legislative session

The fall of the gavel ending the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly marked the end of a very successful legislative session for Indiana Farm Bureau and Indiana agriculture.

IFB saw positive movement in its legislative priorities: soil productivity ratings, ag trespass protections, water resource planning and tax assessment.

“These and all of our successes do not happen by accident. They come about because of the hard work of one of the most respected lobbying teams at the statehouse,” said IFB President Don Villwock. “But we also had almost daily contact between legislators and Farm Bureau members, so lawmakers knew that our positions on issues truly reflect the thinking of interested voters back home.”

Villwock also thanked the members of the General Assembly for their willingness to work with Farm Bureau on a variety of tax, fiscal and legal issues, a clear recognition by lawmakers of the industry’s importance to the state’s economy and the health of rural Indiana.

While the IFB public policy team tracked and monitored more than 100 bills throughout the session, some of the more high-profile victories achieved were:

SB 111 (soil productivity factors) – After passing the Senate 45-0, the bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote. This is the third session in a row that the General Assembly has recognized the need to stop the unjustified tax increases proposed by the Department of Local Government Finance in the soil productivity factors issued in February 2012. Without this legislation an unjustified $57.4 million in taxes would have been shifted to farmers each year.

SB 101 (criminal trespass on farms) – The amended bill adds causing property damage to an agricultural operation to the existing crime of institutional criminal mischief. Indiana farmers will not be required to post “no trespassing” signs to protect the production areas of their farms. If a trespasser commits an intentional act that causes property damage, it could result in additional penalties depending on the amount of damage caused. The bill, authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, passed the Senate 41-5 and the House 73-25.

SB 186 (state policy on agriculture and farmers’ rights) – The bill states that the Indiana Code shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever-changing technology. Despite misleading publicity by the measure’s opponents, it passed the Senate 40-8 and the House 67-30. IFB thanks Sen. Carlin Yoder and Rep. Don Lehe for their dedication to this measure.

SB 273 (annexation moratorium) – While IFB saw positive votes in the House to curb involuntary annexations and to provide for a study of the issue, the bill ultimately did not get the 26 votes needed in the Senate to move it; however, 24 senators did vote to move it. We thank Sen. Buck and Rep. Cherry for their work on this priority issue in spite of push back from cities and towns that want to maintain their ability to bring landowners into their borders involuntarily.

SB 1 (income tax issues) – SB 1, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman and sponsored by Rep. Eric Turner, includes a phase-down of the corporate income tax rate from 7.5 percent to 4.9 percent in 2023. The bill includes three options for local officials to reduce the personal property tax burden for both small and large businesses. SB 1 includes a study commission that will review the entire property tax base, including how to eliminate personal property tax. IFB strongly supports the study portion of this bill and a specific seat was designated for agriculture.

“We’re extremely pleased with the outcome of this General Assembly, and we thank all of our legislators who authored, coauthored and otherwise supported our legislative agenda,” said IFB’s director of state relations Katrina Hall. “We’re especially proud of the grassroots efforts of our members throughout the session, and on their behalf we are looking forward to seeing all of this important legislation signed into law by Gov. Pence.

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