Statehouse Report 4
January 31, 2012
Summary of last week
Last week was the deadline for hearing bills in committee, and thus there were numerous committee hearings to attend to monitor and testify on bills as you will read about below. The so-called right to work legislation again dominated Statehouse activity early in the week. Both the Senate and House required many hours of time for consideration of amendments on second reading and debate on third reading in both chambers before both bills passed. With passage of this legislation, each chamber turned its attention to second and third readings of dozens of other bills as the deadline for passage of bills in the chamber in which they were introduced approaches.
Action on bills
Some the bills IU is monitoring that progressed through the legislative process last week include:
SB 54 University Eminent Domain: The bill, which stipulates compensation to an owner of a business affected by eminent domain procedures, passed the Senate 34-13, after considerable floor debate.
SB 56 and HB 1200 Ball State/IU Trustees: As introduced, SB 56 incorporated language that eliminates a current requirement that a Ball State trustee be an Indiana resident. As amended in committee, the bill also incorporates technical provisions and updates to an IU statute governing its Board of Trustees included in HB 1200 that passed the House last week. Both bills also include language that defines "research intensive campuses," which IU, Purdue and Ball State support. SB 56 is now pending second and third reading on the floor of the Senate.
SB 92 Public Access: The bill, which makes a number of revisions to existing public meeting and public records access statutes, was passed out of committee after being amended. IU has worked with the bill author, who has been very responsive to IU's concerns.
SB 155 Higher Education Employment Age Limits: The bill, which provides that a state university may not impose any mandatory age limits in the hiring or continuation of employment, was amended on second reading and is eligible for a final vote in the Senate.
SB 182 State Educational Institutions, Credit Transfers: IU and its sister institutions have worked with the bill author, the Senate Education Committee chair and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education on an amendment that was adopted in committee. The amendment specifies that, rather than all institutions renumbering all of their courses with identical numbering, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education will develop a common course numbering system where institutions would assign courses with their own, unique course numbers to a statewide system. The amended bill also requires the institutions, in collaboration with the commission, to develop a statewide transfer general education core, rather than individual curriculums that other institutions would be required to accept. This allows students to take a set of courses that would result in a set of outcomes agreed upon by the institutions. This would provide students the ability to transfer that set of courses, which equates to 30 credit hours, to another state educational institution.
SB 361 State Provision and Use of Communications Services: The bill, which places limitations on expansion of I-Light, was amended on second reading and is awaiting a final vote on third reading.
SB 392 State Educational Institutions Grading Practices: As introduced, the bill requires each state educational institution to provide the the Indiana Commission for Higher Education with information concerning grading practices for courses that are required to fill general education requirements and requires the commission to file an annual report of the information with the general assembly. As amended in committee, the issue of grading practices will not be enacted into law but instead may be assigned to an interim study committee.
HB 1093 Public Access: The bill, which is similar to SB 93, passed the House on a vote of 90-3.
HB 1270 Indiana Commission for Higher Education: The bill, which abolished the State Student Assistance Commission and the Commission for Proprietary Education and places their responsibilities under the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, was heard and passed out of committee and passed second reading on the floor of the House.
Looking ahead to this week
The deadline for passage of bills introduced in the first chamber is Wednesday. The General Assembly will then adjourn for a week, due to the Super Bowl activities, which, among other things, will tie up all hotel rooms for several days. With committee hearings complete, all activity will be centered on second and third readings of remaining bills. At the end of the week, all introduced bills that failed to pass third reading will be dead for the session.