State House Report 1 - 2017

2017 Legislative Session

Indiana University Office of State Relations

 Statehouse Report 1

Introduction

Welcome to the first weekly Statehouse Report of the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Produced by Indiana University’s Office of Government Relations, these reports will provide concise information on the progress of legislation monitored by IU.

The 120th session of the Indiana General Assembly began on Tuesday, January 3, and by statute the session must be completed by April 29. Most long sessions begin slowly but the first week of the 2017 legislative session has already provided approximately 400 introduced bills in both the House and Senate.

Biennial Budget

The 2017 legislative session is the “long” session during which the biennial budget is the most critical bill to be considered by the legislature. Any growth in the state budget is expected to be very tight, based on the modest state revenue growth projected by the December 2016 Indiana revenue forecast.

The Budget Process

The first two steps of the biennial budget process have been completed. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved its university operating and capital funding recommendations in November. Then, in December, the state revenue forecast was released. The Governor will soon be making his budget recommendations, marking the third step in a long process of deliberation by the General Assembly, leading to final passage of a biennial budget in late April. In two weeks, after the Governor has provided his recommendations, IU will present its formal budget requests to the House Ways and Means Committee, kicking off our participation in the legislative portion of the budget process.

The House will pass its version of a budget in February, and then the Senate will pass its version in late March or early April. The state revenue forecast will be updated in mid-April prior to the conference committee negotiations on a final budget. The purpose of the conference committee negotiations will be to resolve differences between the House and Senate passed budgets. Thus, the budget has a long legislative road to travel before reaching its final destination.

Introduced Bills

The IU State Relations team reviews every bill that is introduced and makes a determination as to whether the bill could impact the university. Here’s a summary of some of the bills that were introduced during the first week of the legislative session that IU will be tracking:

House Bills

HB 1012 – Higher Education Expenses: This bill would require public colleges and universities to provide students a statement each semester that shows how much the student is paying to the institution, along with an itemized invoice of expenses the student’s payment is being used for.

HB 1069 – Immunizations for Higher Education Students: This bill would add meningitis as a required immunization for students at public colleges and universities.

HB 1081 – Teacher Salaries: This bill would make additional degrees and other earned credit hours beyond minimum employment requirements a factor in determining public school teacher compensation plans.

HB 1130 – Protections for Student Journalists: This bill would require public K-12 schools and public colleges and universities to adopt policies that protect the freedom of speech and freedom of press rights of student journalist. Such measures would be required to preclude schools and high education institutions from suppressing school sponsored media, except in circumstances of libel or slander.

HB 1135 – Dental Recruitment Program: This bill would establish financial incentives for new dentists and dental hygienists to commit to serving at least 4 or 5 years in Indiana post-graduation.

Senate Bills

SB 102 – Student Loan Forgiveness Account: This bill would make a $500,000 appropriation to further fund Indiana’s Mental Health and Addiction Services Loan Forgiveness Program, which provides loan repayment assistance to eligible licensed professionals who are accepting a new position or establishing a new practice in Indiana.

Looking Ahead

A signature event next week will be the Governor’s inauguration on Monday morning. IU will also be looking forward to reviewing the Governor’s budget recommendations, which are expected next week as well.

The deadline for filing introduced bills also occurs next week and we expect many more bills to be introduced prior to that deadline.  As more bills are filed, committee hearings on bills will ramp up.

We look forward to a great legislative session in 2017, and hope that you find our Statehouse Reports informative and enjoyable.