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State House Report
Government Relations
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State House Report 1
October 05, 2014
 

Introduction

The 2014 session of the General Assembly ended on Thursday night, March 13, one day earlier than the statutory ending date. It was a busy week, characterized by late evenings as the General Assembly worked hard to complete final work on bills. Most of the week’s focus was on bills subject to the conference committee process.

Overall, IU’s Government Relations team is very pleased with the outcome of the session. In particular, we were pleased with the disposition of HJR 3, the constitutional amendment on gay marriage, passage of HB 1361 (discussed below), and success in working with legislators on academic legislation such as HB 1388 (also discussed below). We were also pleased to have been instrumental in presenting testimony supporting continuation of the college donation tax credit and engagement on retirement benefit issues on behalf of IU PERF member employees, especially HB 1075 (discussed below).

Open quotation markFor the record: there were over 800 bills introduced of which IU actively tracked nearly 150 bills, of which 49 were enacted.

Bills Moving through the Legislative Process

The bill, would reduce personal property and corporate income taxes, but, in the Senate passed version, also eliminated the college donation income tax credit. IU was the leader among the higher education institutions testifying in support for continuation of the college donation tax credit. A conference committee report was passed by both Chambers that included provisions to reduce both personal property and corporate income taxes but the college donation tax credit elimination was not included in the final bill and remains in statute.

SB 91 State Educational Standards

The bill, which defines “college and career readiness,” would require the State Board of Education to adopt Indiana college and career readiness standards by July 1, 2014, voids the previously adopted set of standards, and requires a new assessment to be authorized to align with the new educational standards.

Herman B Wells Library
Herman B Wells Library

SB 180 Veterans Matters

The bill establishes the Veterans Disability Clinic Fund to provide funding for grants to qualified law schools to maintain a disability clinic for veterans and also requires the Indiana State Department of Health to study and recommend implementation of a program to treat veterans with traumatic brain injury of posttraumatic stress disorder. The bill also urges the Legislative Council to assign a study of veterans’ benefits to an interim study committee.

SB 330 Better Skills for Adults

The Senate concurred with House changes to the bill, which requires that 50% of state part-time student financial assistance be distributed to independent students pursuing a program of study that will lead to a “high demand, high wage job”. The bill also requires the Commission for Higher Education to submit a report to the Legislative Council about the part-time student population in Indiana. In addition, the bill would allow a high school to replace a high school course with a dual credit or advanced placement course in the same subject matter with equal or greater rigor on a student transcript to count towards the course requirements for an Indiana Academic Honors Diploma. The bill would also provide an educational loan repayment for public k-12 teachers with certain academic qualifications who teach a STEM subject, special education, or teach in a critical shortage geographic area.