2015 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
State House Report 14
It was a very busy week with many bills tracked by IU moving through the legislative process as reported below. The most important bill for IU, the state biennial budget was considered in committee. Committee hearings are now complete for the session, with the last hearings occurring on Thursday.
Bills that Moved Last Week
HB 1001 State Biennial Budget: The Senate Appropriations Committee produced its version of the state biennial budget, which was voted out of committee and will be eligible for 2nd and 3rd reading on the floor of the Senate. While increases vary by campus, the IU system would receive a 3.7% increase in FY 2016 and another 2.2% in FY 2017. The bill also provides bonding authority for:
- Bloomington Old Crescent Renovation Phase II ($48.5 million)
- Evansville Academic Health Science Building ($25.0 million)
- IUPUI Carroll Stadium project ($20 million)
Finally, the bill provides nearly $25 million in state R&R formula funds plus another $12.5 million for deferred maintenance at regional campuses.
HB 1045 Recreational Facility Immunity: The bill would provide immunity for universities and K-12 schools for injuries occurring in recreational facilities if operators of such facilities fulfill duties and procedures specified in the bill. The bill passed the Senate on 3rd reading.
HB 1093 Common Construction Wage: In addition to repeal of the state’s common construction wage statute, the bill would increase the dollar threshold for which universities can use their own staff for small construction projects (from $150,000 to $300,000). The bill was amended in committee and is now eligible for 2nd and 3rd reading.
HB 1102 Patent Protection: The bill makes the practice of sending frivolous demand letters that claim patent infringement illegal in Indiana. Following the example of other states, most notably Vermont, this bill would provide protection to Indiana businesses from so-called “patent trolls.” The bill passed the Senate.
HB 1273 Financing Improvements to Carroll Stadium: The bill, as amended in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, authorizes Indiana University to issue bonds for up to $20 million to make improvements to the existing Carroll Stadium in connection with a lease agreement for use of the stadium by the Indy Eleven professional soccer team. Vice President for Facilities, Tom Morrison, testified in support of the bill. The bill passed the Senate.
HB 1323 Graduate Medical Education: The bill would establish the medical residency fund to increase the number of funded residencies slots throughout Indiana. With the 30% increase in the size of each cohort at the IU School of Medicine, and with the impending graduation of students at the new Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, additional residency slots are essential to provide opportunities for graduates from both schools to remain in Indiana. The bill passed the Senate.
HB 1333 Student Financial Assistance: The bill would make technical corrections to state student financial assistance programs administered by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The bill was amended in Committee and is now eligible for 2nd and 3rd reading.
HB 1466 Public Employee Pension System: The bill applies to entities, including IU, which established a new pension plan for certain newly hired employees while freezing participation in the state’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERF). The bill would require IU to make additional payments to the state to cover any increases in unfunded liability that results from freezing enrollment in PERF. The bill was amended in committee, was not amended on 2nd reading and is awaiting a final vote on 3rd reading.
HB 1637 Various Education Issues: The bill makes changes to guidelines established by the State Board of Education to identify students who are likely to require remedial work at a postsecondary educational institution or workforce training program. The bill also removes the requirement that PSAT assessment scores be included in a student’s transcript. The bill passed the Senate.
SB 293 Medical Peer Review: The bill, sought by IU, would provide for use of a peer review committee by the IU School of Medicine and would permit sharing of peer review information between a medical school peer review committee and another peer review committee. This bills passed the House, and because it was not amended in the House, is eligible for the Governor’s consideration.
SB 492 PERF: The bill is essentially the same as HB 1466 described above. The bill was amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now eligible for 2nd and 3rd reading.
SB 509 Adult Grant: The bill, sought by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, would replace the state’s current part time student grant program with a new adult learner grant program. It would also establish a new “economic priority sector” one-time grant for graduates of programs preparing students for employment in certain employment sectors. The bill was amended on 2nd reading and passed the House.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
With committee hearings complete, all attention moves to the House and Senate floors for 2nd and 3rd readings as the deadline for completing work on bills is Wednesday. On Monday, Chancellor Terry Allison will host the IU South Bend legislative delegation for a luncheon meeting to provide an update on the campus. On Thursday, an update to the state’s revenue forecast will be released. This forecast is important to the budget process since it projects the amount of funds the state will have available to spend during the upcoming biennium and will dictate the final state appropriations for IU and its sister institutions to be enacted in the state biennial budget.