2016 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
Statehouse Report 5
The halfway point of the session was reached this week as Wednesday was the deadline for final action on introduced bills. Both the Senate and the House worked hard and completed 2nd readings as required on Tuesday evening and 3rd readings by early Wednesday afternoon. Veterans of the General Assembly appreciated the timely work by the General Assembly recalling days in the past when meeting the 2nd and 3rd reading deadlines involved days ending at midnight!
By completing their work on Wednesday, legislators earned a long weekend before beginning the second half of the short legislative session next week.
Of the 822 bills that were introduced, 268 passed the House and Senate. The other 554 bills died because they either did not get a committee hearing or were not acted on by the 2nd or 3rd reading deadline.
Bills That Moved
HB 1034 Teacher Scholarships and Stipends: This bill, which makes revisions to the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program, passed the House unanimously and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 1370 Dual Credit Teachers: This bill would require each state educational institution to develop and submit to the Commission for Higher Education a plan to ensure teachers who currently teach high school dual credit courses on behalf of or under an agreement with the state educational institution meet accreditation requirements. As part of that plan, state educational institutions may provide a tuition waiver. The bill passed 3rd reading in the House and now moves to the Senate.
SB 10 Teacher Salary and 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 and now moves to the House for their consideration.
SB 93 Various Education Matters: This bill contains numerous provisions related to K-12 education, including provisions that would request the Legislative Council to assign an interim study of the methods to ensure opportunities for secondary school students to earn college credits while enrolled in high school and to provide incentives for a teacher to obtain a master’s degree or at least 18 hours of graduate coursework for the purposes of teaching dual credit courses. The bill was twice amended on 2nd reading with K-12-specific updates and then passed the Senate unanimously on 3rd reading. It has now moved to the House.
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 county transit projects, passed 3rd reading in the Senate and now moves to the House.
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 bill passed 3rd reading in the Senate and will now be considered by the House.
SB 309 State and Local Taxation: This bill would have, among other provisions, repealed the College Donation Tax Credit in Indiana. IU had previously testified in opposition to this repeal when the bill was still in committee. On 2nd reading, an amendment was offered to remove the College Donation Tax Credit repeal from the bill and this amendment was adopted by the Senate. The bill then passed 3rd reading without the repeal provision and has moved to the House.
SB 328 Teacher Assistance: This bill would provide grants to individuals in speech-language programs. It moved through 2nd reading, passed the Senate unanimously on 3rd reading, and is now eligible for further consideration in the House.
Bills That Died
HB 1055 Possession of Firearms: This bill would have prohibited state agencies, including state supported colleges and universities, from regulating the possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories: (1) on land that is; or (2) in buildings and other structures that are; owned or leased by the state. This bill never received a committee hearing and officially died after Wednesday’s 2nd reading deadline.
SB 344 Civil Rights: This bill would have added sexual orientation and military status to Indiana’s non-discrimination laws and provided an exemption from these provisions related to sexual orientation for some religious entities and businesses with fewer than 5 employees when providing marriage-related services. Additionally, it would have prohibited new local ordinances, post-December 31, 2015, that differed from these provisions. Finally, the bill would have also set limits in relation to government sanctions against religious organizations. Many 2nd reading amendments were filed for this bill, but ultimately it was not offered for 2nd reading and died at the deadline.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
With the advent of the second half of the session, the process essentially begins where it started, albeit with fewer bills in play. Committee hearings will begin on bills passed by the opposite chamber (Senate bills heard in House committee and vice versa). We expect that there will be a number of bills heard in committee next week, but the volume may be modest as committee chairs take the time to review bills assigned to their committees and decide on which bills to hear. Floor action on bills will be modest until a volume of legislation passes out of committees and is eligible for 2nd and 3rd readings.
A highlight next week will be a resolution authored by Rep. Ed Clere honoring IU Southeast on its 75th anniversary. President McRobbie and Chancellor Wallace will be on the floor of both the House and Senate for passage of the resolution. Prior to the offering of the resolution, Chancellor Wallace will also host our final Regional Campus luncheon with southeast Indiana legislators.