State House Report 2 - 2015

2015 Legislative Session

Indiana University Office of State Relations

 State House Report 2


It was another very busy week as the 2015 legislative session progresses as quickly as any long session in recent memory.  This week was highlighted by the annual State of the State address by the Governor on Tuesday as well as the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday. President McRobbie presented IU’s biennial budget request to the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, hundreds of bills were introduced and committees began hearing bills that were assigned to them.

Introduced Bills

As of this report, approximately 550 Senate bills have been introduced and about 500 House bills.  We believe that nearly all, if not all, bills have now been introduced.  Here’s a summary of some of the bills that were introduced during the second week of the legislative session that IU will be tracking:

House Bills

1001 Biennial Budget Bill:  The bill includes funding for all state agencies and universities.  Of course, this is the most important bill that IU will be following this session.

1207 and 1407 Merger of Public Benefit Corporation: The bills, which mirror each other, would allow a public benefit corporation to merge with a state educational institution.

1262 Return and Complete Grant: The bill would establish a grant fund to be administered by the Commission for Higher Education, which would award a grant for Indiana residents who were previously enrolled in an Indiana postsecondary institution and earned some college credit, but had not yet earned an associate or baccalaureate degree.  The student would receive the grant upon completion of an associate or baccalaureate degree program.  The bill also requires the Commission, in consultation with postsecondary institutions, to adopt guidelines for the institutions concerning the administration of the project.

1323 Medical Residency Fund:  The bill would establish the residency fund to pay for an expansion of graduate medical education in Indiana.

1349 Various State Tax Provisions:  Among numerous provisions, the bill would repeal the college donation tax credit.

1457 University Innovation Districts:  The bill would create university innovation districts, which would be similar to certified technology parks.  Under the legislation, incremental income tax revenue within a specified boundary encompassing the university would be captured for continued investment in research and technology transfer activity.

1467 Higher Education Performance Funding:  The bill would require the state’s performance funding formula to include a metric for rewarding 4-year institutions for graduating students in six years.

Senate Bills

123 Centers for Medical Education:  The bill, sought by IU, would update statute for references to the locations of the Centers and correct current statute.  The bill was heard in committee this week and IU testified in favor of the legislation.

434 Tuition for Veterans: The bill would require state universities to provide resident tuition to non-resident students who are a member of the National Guard.  It would also provide that veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and persons serving on active military duty to be eligible for resident tuition.

492 State Pension Matters:  Among other provisions, the bill would require entities such as IU and several sister institutions who established an alternative to the state Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF) pension plan for new hires, to make a supplemental payment to the PERF system.  This supplemental payment is intended to address any increase in the state’s unfunded pension liability resulting from a reduced number of employees enrolled in the PERF system.

509 State Financial Assistance Programs:  The bill would change the current part-time grant program to a new “adult grant” program and establish a new economic priority sector grant for students completing degrees in areas that are an economic priority for the state.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

If all bills have not yet been introduced, we expect to see the remaining bills early in the week.  With all bills introduced, activity by committees will accelerate as introduce bills receive their initial consideration.  With more bills heard in committee, 2nd and 3rd reading consideration on bills will increase.