2016 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
State House Report 2
It was another very busy week in Indianapolis as the 2016 legislative session has accelerated into high gear. Two major events this week were the annual State of the State address by the Governor on Tuesday as well as the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday. IU also began the first of five regional campus luncheons with members of the General Assembly who represent the service areas of the respective campuses. IU Northwest was the host for the first luncheon. Meanwhile, hundreds of bills were introduced and by the end of the week, 822 bills had been formally introduced. IU’s Government Relations Team spent numerous hours in committee hearings as a large number of bills that the Team is tracking were heard.
As of this report, 397 Senate bills and 425 House bills have been introduced. 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:
HB 1248 State Financial Aid: This bill, sought by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, amends the definition of "accelerated progress" for purposes of additional awards for state financial aid for higher education. It also amends eligibility requirements and award amounts for the Frank O'Bannon grant, the twenty-first century scholars program, the adult grant fund, and the Mitch Daniels early graduation scholarship. The provisions in this bill would not take effect until August 31, 2017.
HB 1302 College Textbook Sales Tax Exemption: Provides a sales tax exemption for books purchased by a college student for a college course.
HB 1311 Education Savings Account Program: Provides that a parent of an eligible student or an emancipated eligible student may establish an account to receive an annual grant amount that may be used to pay for tuition at an accredited nonpublic school or for education related expenses. Money from the account that is contributed to a college choice 529 education saving plan is a qualified expense. Lastly, any money granted to an account can be a deduction from adjusted gross income for tax purposes.
HB 1339 Teachers: This bill would make an appropriation and establishes an Indiana teacher retention and recruitment program to improve teacher retention rates, recruitment, and quality.
HB 1357 Data Breaches: This bill would make updates to the Indiana statute concerning the responsibilities of data owners who retain personal information of Indiana citizens and increases the amount in civil penalty that can be imposed on those that violate the statute.
HB 1370 Dual Credit Tuition Waiver: Requires a state educational institution to waive tuition for a dual credit course teacher who, after June 30, 2016, enrolls in a state educational institution to obtain 18 graduate credit hours in a subject or related subject matter of a dual credit course taught by the teacher.
HB 1397 Education Loan Information: This bill would require postsecondary educational institutions in Indiana to provide certain information concerning financial aid and loan programs to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, post the information on the institution’s website, and make available to the public upon request.
SB 320 Work Ethic Certification: This bill would establish a work ethic certificate that high school students could receive upon graduation if they have demonstrated the development of skills necessary for success in higher education or employment. The bill would also provide a $200 grant to school corporations for each student who received the certificate in the prior school year.
SB 344 Civil Rights: Prohibits discriminatory practices in several situations, including education, based on military status or sexual orientation. Provides protections for religious liberty and conscience and a summer study on civil rights issues related to gender identity.
SB 379 Teacher Shortage: This bill would bar the Indiana Department of Education from adding additional requirements to obtain a teachers license on individuals who have graduated from an accredited teacher training program outside of Indiana or who hold a teaching license issued by another state, so long as the individual otherwise meets the requirements for an Indiana teaching license or is a national board certified teacher. Also, this bill would allow teachers in STEM or special education to enter into contracts with school corporations outside current collective bargaining agreements.
SB 382 Beginning Teacher Residency and M.A. Degree: Requires a state educational institution that has a teacher preparation program to establish a beginning teacher residency and master’s degree program and allows for private teacher preparation programs to do the same. The bill also states that such programs must allow the an individual with an initial practitioner’s license to earn a master’s degree through a combination of classwork and working with a mentor teacher.
Bills that Moved this Week
HB 1019 Law Enforcement Recordings: This bill, which creates a separate set of rules regarding public records requests for law enforcement recordings (including dashboard cameras and body cameras) was unanimously passed out of the House Government and Regulatory Reform committee without amendment. It is now eligible for Second Reading on the House floor.
HB 1032 Various Pension Matters: This bill, which makes updates to the Public Employees Retirement Fund and the Teacher’s Retirement Fund, including replacing the guaranteed investment option with a stable investment instrument, was unanimously passed out of the House Employment, Labor, and Pensions committee and was then amended with technical corrections during second reading on the House floor. It is now eligible for third reading and expected to come before the House next week.
HB 1034 Teacher Scholarships and Stipends: This bill, which makes revisions to the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program, was unanimously passed out of the House Education committee and assigned to the House Ways and Means committee pursuant to House rules to consider its fiscal implications.
SB 301 Workforce Education: This bill, which addresses workforce development needs and prescribes Ivy Tech’s role in that development, was heard by the Senate Pensions & Labor committee where it was amended and unanimously passed by the committee. It is now eligible for second reading on the House floor and excepted to be heard next week.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
If all bills have not yet been introduced, we expect to see the remaining bills early in the week. Once all bills are introduced, activity by committees will accelerate. With more bills heard in committee, 2nd and 3rd reading action on bills on the floors of the House and Senate will increase.