‘Gary bill’ one step closer to law; House votes for it, 97-0
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2013 11:50AM
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:25AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Senate Bill 585, known as the “Gary bill,” passed the Indiana House on Thursday morning with a 97-0 vote.
The language passed by the bill includes the removal of the governor’s airport board veto, and removes a provision on placing a 1 percent income tax. Instead, an amendment by Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schereville, would prevent the state from imposing penalties if the local governing body does not pass a specific tax.
The bill provides for a study to expand the Ports of Indiana to include Lake County and a study for a new trauma center and teaching school.
The existing members of the airport board would end their service on Sept. 1, and new members will be appointed.
The airport board members must have five years experience in business, administration, economic development or finance. The governor’s appointee would serve as the airport chairman. Four members will be appointed by the mayor of Gary, one by the Porter County Board of Commissioners and one by the Lake County Board of Commissioners.
The board will also be required to conduct an annual audit with an outside accountant.
Other benefits from the bill include the access to $3 million from the Gary Sanitary District.
Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, authored the bill, and said he was glad to see the unanimous support for helping Northwest Indiana. He said he had not had the chance to study changes made in the House and is unsure if the bill will head to the governor in its current form or will go to a conference committee.
“My belief is that as bills go through the process, they generally get better,” Charbonneau said. “I just want to make sure that as we go through that process, the important points are still in the bill.”