Ban on local housing rules pushed by Indiana homebuilder, Republican Rep. Doug Miller

Ethics experts maintain Republican Rep. Doug Miller’s involvement in the legislation is inappropriate because of his ownership of Elkhart-based Tailor Made Homes and his role on the board of directors for the National Association of Homebuilders, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Posted: Feb 14, 2021 8:32 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposed ban on Indiana cities and counties adopting local housing design standards is being pushed by a state lawmaker who owns a homebuilding company.

Ethics experts maintain Republican Rep. Doug Miller’s involvement in the legislation is inappropriate because of his ownership of Elkhart-based Tailor Made Homes and his role on the board of directors for the National Association of Homebuilders, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Miller says the bill he’s sponsoring is aimed at increasing affordable housing options and restraining local government overreach, arguing that simply moving the garage door or changing exterior house materials can generate savings of $15,000.

Miller, chairman of the House government reform committee that endorsed the proposal, said during a hearing that the bill “absolutely strikes a balance between local control and restoring our private property rights, which is critical in maintaining our hard-earned reputation as being one of the most affordable housing markets in the country.”

The state’s leading local government associations oppose the proposal, saying it would block cities and counties from having rules such as minimum house sizes, types of siding, varying distances between houses or garage sizes.

Experts say Miller’s involvement in the legislation is a “pretty obvious” conflict of interest, even if it’s not classified as such under state law.

“Why not have somebody else bring it forward, if it’s that significant of an issue?” asked Abe Schwab, a professor of ethics at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said he didn’t object to Miller taking the lead on the issue. He offered a common refrain used by lawmakers with potential conflicts of interest, saying that the General Assembly is a part-time job.

“I think people in the legislative body bring their level of expertise and the experiences they’ve had,” Huston said. “Representative Miller is using his unique experiences in that field to bring forward legislation that doesn’t directly impact Representative Miller, but the industry and, frankly, communities as a whole.”

The Star reported Miller did not return phone calls seeking comment. The Associated Press sent an email message seeking comment to Miller’s legislative press secretary.

Miller’s bill cleared his committee on an 8-5 vote earlier this month and is awaiting a vote by the full House.

Opponents of the proposed ban argue local design rules can prevent development of so-called vinyl villages filled with nearly identical homes and question whether homebuyers would benefit if they are prohibited.

“There’s nothing in this bill that says the builder of that home is selling it below market rate,” said Ryan Hoff, a lobbyist for the Association of Indiana Counties. “They’re going to charge what the market will bear for that construction.”

The Legislature’s consideration of Miller’s proposal comes as the state Senate last week voted to override 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.

The House could vote in the coming weeks on putting that rental regulation ban into law.

Miller, who has worked in the home construction industry since the 1970s, started his current company in 2016 and holds a life directorship at the Indiana Builders Association, according to his legislative website.

Carlie Hopper, a lobbyist for Indiana Builders Association, said that an “ever growing list of government regulations” make up 25% of a new home’s cost.

“By and large, our members are small-business owners doing their best to reconcile the wants and the needs of homebuyers with an ever-growing list of government regulations,” Hopper said. “Whether it’s additional shingles for roofs, a greater roof pitch, another gable or locating the garage on the side of the house or banning vinyl siding in favor another exterior product, it all adds cost and it adds up quickly for first-time homebuyers.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 698692

Reported Deaths: 13148
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion953091706
Lake50868931
Allen38607670
Hamilton34028404
St. Joseph33404537
Elkhart26868431
Vanderburgh21948393
Tippecanoe21483212
Johnson17346371
Porter17059297
Hendricks16638309
Clark12600190
Madison12239335
Vigo12109243
Monroe11253166
LaPorte10639204
Delaware10251183
Howard9572211
Kosciusko9009112
Hancock7866139
Bartholomew7807153
Warrick7660155
Floyd7509175
Wayne6849196
Grant6732167
Boone648199
Morgan6341137
Dubois6054117
Marshall5720108
Cass5658102
Dearborn565275
Henry5545100
Noble534983
Jackson489869
Shelby474495
Lawrence4304118
Gibson425788
Harrison425370
Montgomery414686
Clinton413953
DeKalb404183
Huntington373180
Whitley372639
Miami369965
Knox363889
Steuben359657
Putnam350760
Wabash344977
Jasper342246
Adams336852
Ripley332668
Jefferson306779
White306054
Daviess288199
Wells283680
Decatur278092
Fayette276762
Greene268785
Posey267533
Scott258753
Clay250944
LaGrange249670
Randolph233679
Washington228929
Spencer227231
Jennings224347
Fountain207245
Sullivan207241
Starke199452
Owen191056
Fulton189139
Jay184829
Carroll184520
Perry178536
Orange175852
Rush169424
Vermillion165543
Franklin164835
Tipton160743
Parke143516
Blackford132130
Pike129634
Pulaski112445
Newton102434
Brown98940
Crawford96814
Benton94913
Martin82115
Warren78715
Switzerland7688
Union69510
Ohio55411
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1039455

Reported Deaths: 18827
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1205361345
Cuyahoga1051802040
Hamilton774991164
Montgomery49566984
Summit44613904
Lucas39235757
Butler37466566
Stark31150890
Lorain23831467
Warren23725291
Mahoning20653581
Lake19760360
Clermont19325226
Delaware17811130
Licking15996205
Fairfield15520195
Trumbull15412458
Medina14693255
Greene14510233
Clark13455287
Wood12575182
Portage12183193
Allen11225229
Richland10924197
Miami10470211
Muskingum8653127
Columbiana8482225
Wayne8463209
Pickaway8394120
Tuscarawas8317239
Marion8302135
Erie7434153
Ross6650145
Hancock6608123
Geauga6462146
Ashtabula6374163
Scioto625699
Belmont5523158
Union551747
Lawrence5439102
Huron5237112
Darke5229121
Jefferson5223147
Sandusky5096118
Seneca5050118
Washington5031107
Athens494854
Auglaize470684
Mercer467984
Shelby453489
Knox4339108
Madison417957
Putnam417698
Ashland409186
Fulton402565
Defiance396396
Brown383955
Crawford3827100
Logan370076
Preble368295
Clinton357459
Ottawa352278
Highland345058
Williams318274
Champaign317355
Jackson305051
Guernsey303448
Perry286949
Fayette276348
Morrow272639
Henry261866
Hardin261163
Coshocton256057
Holmes251799
Van Wert237562
Gallia232146
Pike231031
Adams226251
Wyandot224553
Hocking207057
Carroll187846
Paulding167638
Meigs140938
Noble131837
Monroe128541
Morgan105822
Harrison104836
Vinton81013
Unassigned01
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Rain showers taper off throughout Sunday evening. Temperatures overnight will drop into the mid to low 40s. Monday, expect more clouds in the morning, with a littler clearer sky in the afternoon. Isolated rain showers possible on Monday. Highs around 60 on Monday.
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