2016 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
Statehouse Report 3
The short legislative session moves more quickly than the long session for the obvious reason that there is less time to hear bills in committee and on the floor of each chamber. For some veterans of the Statehouse, however, this short legislative session feels like it is moving faster than is typical.
This week was dominated by numerous committee hearings on many bills, which stretched the ability of IU's Government Relations staff because different bills we are tracking were being heard at the same time in separate committees. Both the House and the Senate calendar of bills on second and third reading grew by the end of the week as the number of bills passed out of committees increased. We also had our second of five regional campus luncheons with IU Kokomo as this week’s host.
Bills that Moved this Week:
HB 1002 Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship: This bill would create a new scholarship fund for future teachers that, with the approval of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, could award up to $7,500 per academic year to a student. This bill passed unanimously out of the House Education committee and 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 on third reading. It will now move to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 1034 Teacher Scholarships and Stipends: This bill, which makes revisions to the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program, was heard in the House Ways and Means committee to consider its fiscal implications. It unanimously passed out of the committee and is eligible for second reading on the House floor.
HB 1248 Higher Education Matters: This bill, sought by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, would make changes to various state financial aid programs for higher education. The IU Government Relations Team has consulted with IU student financial assistance staff, and IU is comfortable with the bill’s contents. It passed out of the House Education committee on Tuesday and was then read for a second time on the House floor Thursday but no second Reading amendments were adopted. It is now eligible for third reading on the House floor.
SB 10 Teacher Salary Supplemental Payments: This bill would create a set of factors under which teachers could receive supplemental payments. One such factor would be for additional degrees beyond the requirements for employment, with at least 18 graduate credit hours in the content area currently taught by the teacher or a content area the teacher plans to teach upon receiving the degree. The bill passed the Senate Education committee and is now eligible for second reading on the Senate floor.
SB 128 Monroe County Public Transit Funding: This bill, which allows the fiscal body of Monroe County to adopt an ordinance to impose an additional income tax rate to fund country transit projects, unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations committee. It is now eligible for second reading on the Senate floor.
SB 167 University Ownership of Certain Entities: This bill, which is being sought by IU, would authorize state educational institutions to acquire and retain ownership shares in privately held entities. This provision would assist IU in expanding its international engagements through its Gateway Centers. The bill also would simplify the process of streamlining university centers. The legislation was heard in the Senate Appropriations committee, where IU’s General Council Jackie Simmons testified to further explain the bill. It was passed unanimously by the committee and is now eligible for second reading on the Senate floor.
SB 253 Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act: This bill would set the conditions and procedures under which a fiduciary would have access to certain digital assets and the conditions and procedures under which custodians of the digital assets would provide that access. The bill passed the Senate Civil Law committee unanimously and is now eligible for second reading on the Senate floor.
SB 301 Workforce Education: This bill, which addresses workforce development needs and prescribes Ivy Tech’s role in that development, was amended for minor technical corrections during second reading on the Senate floor. It is now eligible for third reading in the Senate.
SB 309 State and Local Taxation: Among other provisions, this bill would repeal the College Donation Tax Credit in Indiana. IU testified in favor of continuing the tax credit, providing evidence that it incents long-term giving that can grow over time as donor income increases. The committee did not take a vote on the bill but it has been scheduled for further committee action next week.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
While next week is only the fourth week of the session, the deadline for hearing introduced bills in committee is this coming Thursday. This will likely mean that the number of bills being heard in committee will be even greater than last week.
A highlight for the Government Relations team this coming week will be the opportunity for our chancellors at IU East and IU South Bend to host their area legislators for a lunch near the Statehouse. The legislators highly value the accomplishments of our campuses.