Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Statehouse Report 9: Moving to Conference Committees this week

March 1, 2010

It was very busy last week in both the House and Senate chambers with a large number of bills being considered for second and third reading on the floors of the Senate and House. The deadline for third reading was reached and any bill not passing third reading is dead, although its contents are eligible for insertion into another bill during the conference committee process as described below.

The following is an update on bills that we have been monitoring and working on:

HB 1001: The bill deals with legislative ethics and lobbying reform and would require state and university employees that spend 10 percent or more of their time performing "legislative liaison" activities to begin reporting certain expenses to the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission. The bill passed the Senate.

HB 1063: The bill, which requires that government buildings, including university buildings to meet LEED or other energy efficient standards, was not called down on second reading and thus died. However, since the bill passed the House, it is eligible for insertion into another bill during conference committee.

HB 1086: The bill, which had included a provision requiring extensive reporting of state agency and university financial transactions, was amended to delete this requirement for universities.

HB 1135: The bill, which requires universities to accept credit for AP coursework in which the student scores a 3 on the AP exam, passed the Senate as an elective, but not for courses in the students major. The bill is now subject to the conference committee process.

HB 1297: The bill makes changes in the university bonding procedures. The bill passed the Senate and is now subject to a decision by the House author on whether to accept changes made by the Senate or subject the bill to conference committee process.

HB 1365: The bill, which was amended in committee to affirm that higher education institutions may charge tuition for dual credit courses, was not called down on second reading. Once again, however, since the bill passed the House, it is eligible for insertion into another bill during the conference committee process.

SB 84: The bill requires state colleges and universities to make certain research resources available to legislators and legislative staff. It also requests that the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) in conjunction with the IU School of Law-Indianapolis study the establishment of a research and policy division with LSA. The bill passed the Senate and is awaiting signature or veto by the Governor.

SB 257: The bill, which includes a provision that permits a state college or university that offers dual credit courses to be accredited by either National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) or approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, passed the Senate and awaits the Governor's signature or veto.

Looking ahead to next week, the General Assembly intends to adjourn the session by week's end. To do so, all bills will have to complete final legislative consideration. If a bill passes the second chamber without amendment, it is sent straight to the Governor for his consideration, and he can decide to sign, veto or permit the bill to become law without formal action on his part. For a bill amended in the second Chamber, the author can either "consent" to the changes made by the bill sponsor or "dissent." If the author consents, a concurrence motion is filed and a final vote taken on the bill. If the author dissents, the bill is subject to the conference committee process whereby differences between the two versions passed by each chamber are ironed out by a small committee of legislators and if agreement can be reached, a final vote in each chamber is taken on a conference committee report.

We expect it to be a very busy week and are very hopeful that the General Assembly's goal of completing the session a week early can be achieved. 

This report has been brought to you by the Indiana University Office of Government Relations with editorial and technical support from the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations.
Please contact IU Government Relations via e-mail at gov@indiana.edu or by phone at 317.681.1776 if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for improvement.