IU Statehouse Report 8
March 15, 2005
State Republicans unveil their Top 40 priority bills
At the beginning of the second half of this year's General Assembly session, House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma (Indianapolis) presented the Republican party's list of 40 major bills they will attempt to revive. This was in response to the House Democrat's boycott that prevented a quorum from being called that allowed for the demise of 132 bills before the "crossover" deadline to send bills to the Senate.
"We will not be deterred by political efforts that are meant only to slow down the reform that Hoosiers want and deserve," said Speaker Bosma. "We will move forward with our reform agenda and ask again that our Democrat colleagues join us in making the necessary changes to improve our state and seek solutions to the challenges we face."
Of the 132 pieces of legislation that met their demise, the legislature will be focusing its efforts on placing these bills, or elements therein, with companion bills that have already passed the Senate or on legislation that has gone to the Senate from the House that deals with the same subject matter. The Top 40 list is a start and Republicans hope that efforts will be made to revive as many other bills as time and rules allow.
Developments on legislative activities relevant to Indiana University
In the Top 40 priority list, there are several that have ties to IU and higher education.
House Bill 1797 sponsored by Senator Phyllis Pond (New Haven), this is listed as the Guaranteed College Tuition Option. In our reports over the past two weeks, we have laid out the premise and details of this bill. It would require a four-year institution such as IU to offer undergraduate students a guaranteed price option under which tuition could not be increased, with certain exceptions, for four academic years. It did return this week including a number of other restrictive measures that would have a negative impact on IU's ability to fiscally address future state appropriations relative to tuition dollars. To read further coverage on this bill, see The Herald-Times column in the March 11th edition.
House Bill 1546, the Research Indiana Bonds bill, sponsored by Representative Espich (Uniondale), is included in the "Priority Forty" bill list. This is an initiative that would allow universities and private companies bonding authority to build and operate research facilities without returning to the legislature for approval annually. Up to $1 billion over ten years would be available for this program. Those entities that receive the authority would use income generated by research outcomes to pay off the bonds. Language from this bill is being amended to Senate Bill 202.
Other higher education bills that remain alive in the Legislature:
- Senate Bill 200 - Core 40 requirements for admission to state universities
- Senate Bill 202 - Grants IU permission to sell bonds for the purchase of the hotel connected to the IUPUI Conference Center
- Senate Bill 268 - Prohibits human cloning however refined language now lifts unintended restrictions on research
- Senate Bill 474 - Requires universities to study cost savings from merging their benefit and purchasing plans with state government
- Senate Bill 310 - Prohibits "serial meetings" of less than a majority of a public body
President Herbert presents to the Senate Appropriations Committee
On Monday, March 7th, President Herbert presented IU's biennium state appropriations request to the Senate Appropriations Committee. His remarks underscored the critical need for continued support of research funding for the state's public universities. "We are all aware of the difficult tasks you and your colleagues face and of Gov. (Mitch) Daniels's emphasis on balancing the state budget," Herbert told the committee. "It is important that we also not forget that there is a vital role that our research universities play in this state, and we need your support to reach the aspirations you have set," Herbert said.
Areas of concern that President Herbert also addressed included the financial support for enrollment growth at our expanding regional campuses and building repair and rehabilitation. However, the President also shared with the committee IU's commitment to operate as efficiently as possible, including "belt-tightening" within the University.
Joining President Herbert at the Committee hearing was Dr. Linda Malkas, Vera Bradley Chair of Cancer Research at the IU School of Medicine. She shared with the committee the work being done at IU to develop a simple blood test that could detect breast cancer. She and her team came to IU due in large part to the generous breast cancer research grant provided by the Vera Bradley company based in Ft. Wayne.
This report has been brought to you by the Indiana University Office of Government Relations with editorial and technical support from IU University Relations and Corporate Partnerships. Staff members from the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer are frequent contributors to this report.
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