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Advocacy / Member Organizations

May 2, 2019

ACEC/Indiana Scores Two Big Wins in Latest Legislative Session

During the just completed legislative session, ACEC/Indiana won passage of laws expanding water infrastructure planning/funding and limiting professional liability.

ACEC/IN achieved its top legislative priority with the passage of a package of two bills that establish statewide policy and procedures to improve and manage drinking and wastewater systems, as well as stormwater management. ACEC provided a Minuteman Fund grant to the ACEC/IN to support the effort.

Under the new law, the state will provide an additional $20 million in FY 2021 to the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to be distributed through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program.

“That $20 million, once it’s leveraged through our SRF program, will equate to $2 billion, according to the IFA,” said ACEC/IN Executive Director Beth Bauer. “Love that leverage!”

Senate Bill 230 addressed professional liability and was primarily a response to an unpublished decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals holding that even though only a subcontractor was responsible for its employee’s injury, the indemnification agreement between the general contractor and subcontractor was void and unenforceable because the general contractor was sued under a vicarious liability theory. 

Vicarious liability asserts that a party can be legally responsible for the negligence of another, not because the they did anything wrong, but because of their relationship with the wrongdoer.

The new law clarifies that in a standard construction or design contract, agreements to provide indemnification will be enforced by Indiana courts in a vicarious liability scenario.

In addition, in contracts signed after July 1, 2019 between a design professional and its client, the law makes void and unenforceable any provision that imposes on the design professional a contractual “duty to defend” the client against professional liability claims.


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