Statehouse Report 6

February 8, 2010


The 19th annual Hoosiers for Higher Education Statehouse Visit was held this past Tuesday, Feb. 2. The theme, "Innovation Accelerated by Tradition," demonstrated the broad impact of IU around the state, nation and world. Exhibits from several departments, schools and programs at IU showcased IU's engagement activities. President Michael McRobbie, Trustee Sue Talbot, and IU Southeast student James Bonsall addressed the crowd of more than 500.

Special guests, Rep. Peggy Welch (Bloomington) and Senator Vi Simpson (Ellettsville) also challenged the students to ask their elected officials to continue their support of IU and higher education. Sen. Connie Sipes (New Albany) was presented the Welsh-Bowen Distinguished Public Official award by President McRobbie on the floor of the Senate.

Our Government Relations team extends tremendous appreciation to everyone in attendance and to all of our IU advocates for their vital support of our work in the statehouse each year.

Session moves to second half

We reached the half-way point of the legislative session last week when the deadline for third reading of bills introduced in each Chamber was reached. This resulted in evening sessions on Monday and Tuesday, but both the House and Senate completed work on nearly all bills that were heard in committee.

A number of bills died as a result of not being heard in committee and thus not being eligible for third reading. Of the total of nearly 800 bills introduced, about 242 bills are still alive as we begin the second half of the legislative session. We started the session with more than 100 bills of potential impact to IU that we were monitoring. At the halfway point, this number has been reduced by more than half to nearly 45.

Here's an update on the status of some of the bills that are still alive that we will be monitoring during the second half of the legislative session.

House Bills:

1001: The bill addresses lobbying reform, but does not incorporate provisions impacting university government relations activities.

1002: The bill would require that at least 80 percent of contractor employees working on public works projects be Indiana residents.

1063: The bill requires that public facilities be designed to meet energy efficient standards.

1065: The bill would prohibit certain restrictions on carrying firearms but the bill includes exceptions for university campuses.

1086: The bill primarily deals with property taxation but also includes a provision that would require state agencies and universities to report certain financial information to the state auditor for posting on a Web site.

1131: The bill would ban smoking in public places but incorporates exemptions for certain businesses.

1135: The bill would require universities to accept credit for advanced placement coursework completed by high school students when they achieve a score of three or higher on the advanced placement exam administered by the College Board.

1297: The bill incorporates a number of revisions to the university bonding statute.

1365: The bill would prohibit tuition being charged for certain dual credit course offerings.

Senate Bills:

25: The bill is similar to HB 1065 by limiting restrictions on carrying firearms but like HB 1065, includes an exemption for universities.

84: The bill provides members of the General Assembly and its staff access to certain university library and research resources, as long as such access does not violate subscription agreements.

114: The bill addresses government ethics and lobbying reform. It would require universities to report certain government relations expenditures and categorize university and state agency government relations staff as "legislative liaisons."

213: The bill addresses illegal immigration issues and includes a provision prohibiting a state agency from entering into a contract for services unless the contract requires the contractor to verify the legal status of its employees through the federally maintained E-Verify program.

230: The bill provides that the governing body of a public agency shall also give public notice by electronic mail to any person (excluding news media) who annually requests notice of meetings.

237: The bill establishes an interim study committee to review state economic development matters, including the role of state higher education institutions.

257: The bill was amended in committee to require the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to review proposed university facility projects within 90 days of submission of a request for review. The bill was also amended to make NACEP (National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships) accreditation for dual credit courses optional.

Looking ahead to next week, the entire legislative process of hearing bills in committee and then second and third readings on the floor of each Chamber are repeated. Of course, the Senate will be working on House bills and the House on Senate bills. With fewer than half of the original number of introduced bills eligible for further consideration, we expect the volume of legislative activity to be diminished but more focused on key issues.

Media Contacts

Jeff Linder
Associate VP for Public Affairs and Government Relations