By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana
Indiana lawmakers wrapped up the 2023 legislative session in late April, approving 252 bills. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda focused on several major funding increases in the state budget, including education, public health and safety, and community development.
In addition, under Gov. Holcomb’s leadership, Indiana is advancing a more collaborative, strategic approach to growing and enhancing its defense industry. Indiana is strengthening its efforts to increase the state’s competitiveness in the defense economy. Two Senate Bills and two House Bills affecting the military bases and military families were passed this spring and will improve Indiana’s defense environment.
Senate Bill 332 deals with planning and zoning that affects military bases. This bill allows a unit to establish a military impact zoning district for an area adversely impacted by the effects of military operations, and will make planning, zoning, and development activity in these areas subject to the military installation commander’s determination regarding the activity’s impact on military operations. This bill covers the majority of the state’s action items identified in the 2017 NSA Crane Joint Land Use study. In essence, the local communities have been doing this, and now it’s codified by state law.
Senate Bill 477 limits threats to critical infrastructure. Starting June 30, 2023, a prohibited person may not purchase, lease, or acquire a parcel of real property that is directly adjacent to a military installation. This helps protect NSA Crane from a foreign company spying on activities on base. This concept of foreign direct investment adjacent to military bases is a significant national security issue and this Senate bill will help prevent such threats.
On the House side, House Bill 1555 focuses on occupational licenses for those in military families. This bill provides that a military service applicant who has held an occupational license, certification, registration, or permit in another jurisdiction for at least one year may qualify for an Indiana license, removing the requirement that an applicant must have had a license for at least two of the five years preceding the date of the application. This eases the burden on military families as they move across the country every two to three years. This is an issue the military tracks across all states, and allows Indiana to become more welcoming to those individuals by eliminating barriers.
House Bill 1034 exempts Hoosier military members from paying state income taxes starting July 1, 2023. The final draft of the measure signed by Gov. Holcomb increases the active duty military income tax deduction from its current $5,000 cap to a full exemption, which follows a 2019 law allowing all retired military income to be tax-exempt.
Radius Indiana, the White River Military Coordination Alliance and Crane Regional Defense Group worked closely with Indiana Representatives and community partners on the creation of these bills and we commend our leaders for recognizing the importance of the defense industry in our state.