2016 Legislative Session
Indiana University Office of State Relations
Statehouse Report 7
As expected, activity at the Statehouse increased this week as a substantial number of bills were heard in committees. Many of these bills were passed out of their respective committees thereby increasing floor activity for 2nd and 3rd readings.
Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann also announced her resignation effective March 2 due to her formal application to become the President of Ivy Tech. Her resignation, before the end of a legislative session, will require a very infrequent confirmation process by both the House and Senate for Eric Holcomb, who was nominated by Governor Pence as her replacement.
A highlight this week was the annual Gridiron Event sponsored by the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, which is well attended by legislators and lobbyists. It provides a forum for fellowship as well as an opportunity to poke fun at each other in good humor.
Bills That Moved
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. The bill was heard in Senate Appropriations where the state higher education institutions collectively testified in support.
HB 1005 Career Pathways Program: This bill seeks establish a program and provide funding to facilitate a pathway for new teachers to establish employment in Indiana K-12 schools. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading in the Senate.
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, unanimously passed 2nd and 3rd reading in the Senate. The bill’s author has filed a concurrence motion, meaning that he finds the revisions to his bill made in the Senate acceptable.
HB 1034 Teacher Scholarships and Stipends: This bill, which makes revisions to the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program, passed out of Senate Education and was sent to Senate Appropriations for consideration of its fiscal impact.
HB 1179 Minority Student Teaching Stipend: This bill makes available a stipend for minority students who participate in a school administration internship as part of that student’s graduate degree program. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and was recommitted for Senate Appropriations for a review of its fiscal impact.
HB 1219 High School Diplomas: This bill would require every Indiana public high school to offer all types of diplomas approved by the state board of education and limits excess local requirements from being placed on students with disabilities seeking a diploma. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading in the Senate.
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. It was heard in the Senate Education Committee.
HB 1347 Mental Health Matters: This bill, among other provisions, would require the Indiana Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning to provide Medicaid reimbursement for certain mental health services provided by Advanced Practice nurses. In addition, the bill would make certain mental health services provided by graduate and post-graduate degree level students in specified fields who are interning or in a practicum at a community mental health center under the direct supervision of a licensed professional eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The bill passed the Senate Health & Provider Services Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading in the Senate.
HB 1370 Dual Credit Teachers: This bill would require each state educational institution to develop 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 this plan, state educational institutions may provide a tuition waiver. The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee. IU testified in support of the bill and provided information to the committee about IU’s forthcoming pilot program that will utilize IU faculty members to assist high school teachers with developing and delivering dual-credit courses.
HB 1395 ISTEP Matters: This bill would make updates to the state ISTEP test as well as establish the Committee on Student Success. The bill provides that one higher education representative and the Commissioner for Higher Education will be members of the Committee on Student Success. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and is now eligible for 2nd Reading in the Senate.
SB 93 Various Education Matters: This bill contains numerous provisions related to K-12 education and a provision 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 in the subject matter the teacher is teaching or wishes to teach as part of a dual credit course. The bill was voted out of committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading in the House.
SB 167 University Ownership of Certain Entities: This bill, which is being sought by IU, was amended in the House Ways and Means Committee to remove a provision from the original bill that would have authorized state educational institutions to acquire and retain ownership shares in privately held entities. IU was seeking this provision to simplify the process of establishing International Gateway Centers in certain countries that do not recognize non-profit organizations. However, the bill still contains language that would allow IU to simplify the process of consolidating university centers. The amended bill passed the Ways and Means Committee and is now eligible for 2nd reading in the House.
SB 301 Workforce Education: This bill, which addresses workforce development needs and prescribes Ivy Tech’s role in technical training, was heard in the House Education Committee.
Looking Ahead to Next Week
Next week will be the final week for committee hearings on bills. Thus, we expect a very busy week as committee chairs schedule final consideration of legislation assigned to their committee.