State House Report 4 - 2015

2015 Legislative Session

Indiana University Office of State Relations

State House Report 4


Committee hearings were in full swing last week and IU’s State Relations Team spent many hours in State House committee rooms monitoring hearings and testifying on select bills. 

IU’s State Relations Team also hosted a luncheon with members of the House Ways and Means Committee, in collaboration with the Government Relations Teams at its sister public universities.  This luncheon is part of a series of sessions that we jointly host with select legislators throughout the session to provide an opportunity to engage legislators in a discussion of higher education policy issues. 

Bills that Moved Last Week

HB 1042 Education Loan Information: The bill requires a postsecondary educational institution that enrolls students who receive certain types of state financial aid to annually provide each student with certain information concerning the student’s educational loans.  IU provided testimony on the bill, which was heard in the House Education Committee.  The bill was amended and passed out of committee and is now eligible for a 2nd reading on the floor of the House.

HB 1108 Dyslexia: The bill, which would require an individual who seeks to receive an initial practitioner elementary school teacher’s license to demonstrate proficiency in the recognition of specific learning disabilities related to reading, including dyslexia. The bill passed the House.

HB 1466 PERF Unfunded Liability:  The bill applies to entities, including IU, which established a new pension plan for new hires of certain 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 on 2nd reading on the floor of the House and passed 3rd reading.

SB 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 passed the Senate.

SB 259 Dual Credit Stem Education: The bill establishes the Dual Credit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Associate Degree Pilot Program, which would lead to secondary school students receiving an associate degree in a STEM related field from a state educational institution before the student graduates from high school.  The bill was amended and passed out of the Senate Education Committee and is now eligible for a 2nd reading on the Senate floor.

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.  The bill passed the Senate.

SB 423 Various Tax Matters:  This bill provides a good example of how IU’s broad operations require IU’s State Relations Team to review all introduced legislation.  SB 423 is the annual Indiana revenue code update bill.  Upon initial review of the bill, we noticed a provision addressing insurance captive companies.  IU is the only public university that has its own captive insurance company, which we established as part of our self-insurance program.  The provision in the bill would subject IU to tax liability.  The bill was heard in committee and we are working with the author to address our concern.

SB 492 PERF Unfunded Liability: The bill includes the provisions found in HB 1466 described above.  The bill was heard in committee and IU testified.  After amendment, the bill passed committee and will be recommitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further deliberation given its fiscal impact.

SB 500 Education Deregulation: The bill, which contains numerous provisions related to deregulation of K-12 education, contains a provision that would authorize public agencies to charge a search and detection fee of $20 for certain public information requests, expands the list of items for which an state agency may not impose a fee under the public records law, and further regulates the public records fees that state agencies may charge.  The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

With four session weeks completed, the deadline for committee hearings on bills (February 18) is now coming into view.   With just two and one-half weeks left to hear introduced bills, committee hearings on bills will intensify.  While thus far the number of bills on 2nd and 3rd readings have not been substantial, floor activity will accelerate as the number of bills on the House and Senate calendars increase.