Bill seeking ban on local housing rules gets sidelined

Legislative leaders have sidelined a proposed ban on adopting local housing design standards in Indiana cities and counties.

Posted: Feb 19, 2021 4:15 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Legislative leaders have sidelined a proposed ban on adopting local housing design standards in Indiana cities and counties.

The move came after ethics experts questioned whether Republican Rep. Doug Miller of Elkhart should take the lead in pushing the bill, given that he owns a homebuilding company and represents Indiana in the National Association of Homebuilders.

Miller said his proposal, which was endorsed by a House committee of which he is chairman, aimed to increase affordable housing options and restrain local government overreach. Miller argued that simply moving the garage door or changing exterior house materials can add $15,000 to the cost of a house.

Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said Thursday that he pulled the bill from further consideration by the full House before Monday’s deadline for action.

“There was not support in our (Republican) caucus for that,” Huston said.

Huston had defended Miller's sponsorship of the bill, saying Indiana’s Legislature is a part-time job and that Miller had expertise on the issue.

Ethics experts said Miller’s involvement was a “pretty obvious” conflict of interest and that another lawmaker could have sponsored the measure if the issue was so important.

Opponents of the proposed ban argued that local design rules can prevent development of so-called vinyl villages filled with nearly identical homes and questioned whether homebuyers would benefit from cost reductions.

Miller didn’t immediately reply Friday to a message seeking comment from The Associated Press through his legislative press secretary.

While Miller’s proposal failed, Republican lawmakers this past week voted to override GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill blocking local governments from regulating rental properties, which opponents argue would take away the ability of local officials to protect tenants from abusive landlords.

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CountyCasesDeaths
Marion901321624
Lake48105871
Allen35552632
Hamilton31839393
St. Joseph29538510
Elkhart25261412
Vanderburgh21115377
Tippecanoe19765197
Johnson16242352
Porter15838267
Hendricks15723296
Clark11843179
Madison11672314
Vigo11503228
Monroe10248158
Delaware9788178
LaPorte9720194
Howard9017194
Kosciusko8514107
Bartholomew7373147
Warrick7369146
Hancock7362128
Floyd7139164
Wayne6586188
Grant6395157
Morgan6040124
Boone603388
Dubois5868111
Dearborn540266
Henry539492
Marshall5390104
Cass537199
Noble506775
Jackson462063
Shelby458490
Lawrence4154111
Gibson399681
Harrison395160
Clinton392353
DeKalb382078
Montgomery381583
Knox354484
Miami354063
Whitley346235
Huntington338176
Steuben335955
Wabash328775
Putnam325959
Ripley325161
Adams320249
Jasper312943
White295351
Jefferson292770
Daviess284296
Fayette270255
Decatur269388
Greene259978
Posey259731
Wells255374
Scott248446
LaGrange240170
Clay238944
Randolph225076
Spencer215830
Jennings213544
Washington207727
Sullivan202038
Fountain200341
Starke185950
Owen181652
Jay177328
Fulton176437
Carroll175618
Perry172435
Orange170450
Rush163922
Franklin158335
Vermillion158040
Tipton145441
Parke137915
Pike127232
Blackford120027
Pulaski105643
Newton96431
Brown94639
Benton91113
Crawford90113
Martin80114
Switzerland7507
Warren74612
Union66810
Ohio52711
Unassigned0425

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