2015 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
State House Report 6
As expected, last week was the busiest week yet as numerous bills were heard in committee. The State Relations Team spent many hours in both the House and Senate Education Committee, the Senate Appropriations and House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Public Health and Providers committee. With more bills being considered on the floor of the House and Senate, we are also spending more time reviewing 2nd reading amendments that have been filed on bills that we are tracking.
Bills that Moved Last Week
HB 1042 Education Loan Information: The bill, which the author based upon the success of Indiana University’s loan notification program, requires colleges and universities that enroll students who receive state financial aid to provide each student with certain information concerning the student’s educational loans on an annual basis. The passed the House.
HB 1102 Patent Protection: The bill prohibits a person from asserting a claim of patent infringement in bad faith. Indiana University worked with the bill’s author to amend the bill to help licensees holding certain patents related to an approved postsecondary educational institution or a technology transfer organization owned by or affiliated with such institution to bring legitimate claims of patent infringement. Brion St Armour, Head of Intellectual Property for the IU Research and Technology Corporation, testified in support of the amended bill in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was amended in committee passed a 2nd reading. The bill is now eligible for a 3rd reading on the House floor.
HB 1262 Return and Complete Grant Program: The bill would establish a grant fund to provide awards 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 was amended in committee to require institutions to either conduct targeted outreach to eligible students or to provide student record data to the Commission for Higher Education for us in targeted outreach. The bill passed out of the House Education Committee and was recommitted to the House Ways and Means Committee due to its budgetary impact.
HB 1231 Accelerated Degree Program: The bill would provide a new financial assistance award for students who participate in an accelerated degree program and graduate within 36 months. Subsequent to its earlier passage in the House Education Committee, it was given further reconsideration by the House Ways and Means Committee due to its budgetary impact and was passed by the Committee.
HB 1323 Graduate Medical Education: The bill would establishes the medical residency education fund for the purpose of expanding the number of funded residencies slots in Indiana. With the 30% expansion in class size at the IU School of Medicine, IU supports the bill and testified at a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill was amended and approved by the Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading.
HB 1457 Higher Education: The bill, supported by IU and Purdue, would permit IU, Purdue as well as Ball State to hold equity in a private entity whose purpose is related to the benefit of students. The bill would also provide these institutions with the ability to merge or discontinue certain university based centers without court intervention. Finally, the bill would permit the same institutions to establish university innovation districts, which would be very similar to Certified Technology Parks, to generate funds for investing in research and technology transfer activities. The bill was heard in committee and both IU and Purdue testified in support.
HB 1641 Principal Endorsement Program: The bill would require Western Governors University Indiana to establish and maintain a program of study to provide principal endorsements to individuals who successfully complete the program. The bill was heard in the House Education Committee.
SB 434 Veterans Tuition and Financial Assistance: The bill would require institutions to extend resident tuition to graduate programs to non-resident students who are serving in the Indiana National Guard members. After previously being hear in the Senate Veterans Affairs and Military Committee, the bill was amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading on the Senate floor.
SB 492 Various Pension Matters: The bill applies to entities which established a new pension plan for certain new employees while freezing participation in the state’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERF). The bill would require such entities, including 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 and passed the Senate.
SB 496 Primary Care Loan Forgiveness: The bill, which would provide an enhanced loan forgiveness grant (if funding is provided in the biennial budget) to primary care physicians serving in rural areas of Indiana, was heard in the Public Health and Provider Services committee and IU testified in support. The bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 509 Adult and Economic Priority Grant Programs: The bill, sought by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, would replace the state’s current part time student grant program with a new adult learner grant program and would establish the a new economic priority sector fund. The bill was approved by the Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
With the deadline for hearing bills in committee falling on Thursday, IU’s team will again be spending many hours in committee hearings. The biennial budget bill, HB 1001, will also be amended in committee and we are very eager to learn the operating funding levels for our campuses as well as capital projects authorization and funding. With the February 25 deadline for 3rd reading of bills looming, it will also be a busy week on the floors of both the Senate and House Chambers.