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The Opportunity Zones (OZ) Program was established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as a way to transform economically distressed rural and urban communities through renewed investment. Specific areas are designated (using the same standards as those for New Market Tax Credits) as certified census tracts by the U.S. Department of Treasury. States nominated up to 25 percent of their qualified census tracts based on range of factors including likelihood of attracting short- and long-term investment. There are 8,764 certified OZs around the United States, which includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb nominated 156 zones, which were approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Those 156 OZs include parts of 58 counties, 83 cities and town covering more than 1,000 square miles and are home to 500,000 Hoosiers.[1]

The Indiana Supreme Court’s recent opinion (“Opinion”) in an annexation case affirming the trial court’s order voiding an annexation ordinance adopted by the Town of Brownsburg (“Brownsburg”) provides guidance to municipalities on the “subdivided” and “reasonably near future” requirements in Indiana’s annexation statutes. The Opinion also clarifies the standards of review by courts regarding annexations. And the Opinion adds to the catalogue of required reading for municipalities seeking to successfully pass and defend annexation ordinances.

Water and wastewater utilities around Indiana should take note of several laws passed this most recent legislative session that will impact current practices or institute formal data collection and reporting requirements. Legislators emphasized and sent a clear message prioritizing the collection of key data sets and collaboration amongst Indiana utilities.

Late into the evening on Wednesday, April 24th, the Indiana General Assembly voted to approve what may fairly be referred to as the most significant omnibus gaming bill in a decade. 

Thank you for being a part of the authoritative policy discussions on issues impacting life and business in Indiana during the 27th Annual BGD Legislative Conference at the Indiana Convention Center on Dec. 12, 2018. The impressive lineup of speakers, including 25 elected officials, and a robust agenda helped make this year’s conference another premier event; thank you again to event sponsors Casino Association of Indiana, Inside INdiana Business, Indianapolis Bar Association Government Practice Section and Hannah News Service!

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the “Seventh Circuit”) recently decided the case of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness v. City of Naperville, 900 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 2018). The suit brought by Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (“NSMA”) alleged that the collection of smart meter energy-consumption data by the City of Naperville, Illinois, (the “City”) constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and should be prohibited.[1] The Seventh Circuit made two important holdings in the case. First, it held that the collection of smart meter data is, in fact, a search under the Fourth Amendment. Second, it held that under the specific facts of the case, the City’s smart meter program constitutes a reasonable search and thus does not violate customers’ Fourth Amendment rights.

[1] NSMA also brought state constitutional claims under the Illinois constitution that are not addressed here.

Republished in Louisville Business First 8.1.2018 

Before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting last month, CEO Warren Buffett told CNBC that bitcoin was "probably rat poison squared." Berkshire’s long time Vice Chairman, Charlie Munger was even more blunt when he stated "[t]o me, it's just dementia. It's like somebody else is trading turds and you decide you can't be left out."  

Two global companies have recently announced their plans to invest in talent in Indianapolis, providing training in tech skills to not only those in their workforce, but for the community at large. As a result, central Indiana will become more attractive as other companies seek to find in-demand talent for their workforce. Will your company be ready to dip into this talent pool?

On Monday, May 14, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released a decision that will effectively overturn a federal law that has, for the past 25 years, prohibited states from legalizing and regulating sports wagering within their own borders.

Community leaders in Evansville, Indiana, understand that quality of place drives economic growth. Many in the community have worked behind the scenes to grow a vibrant and inclusive culture, but the public perception has not caught up to the reality of life in Evansville today.

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