ISTA Government Relations – Bill update for February 11
SB 114 (Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg)
The bill passed 10-0. This is the excused absences for State Fair participation bill. It was amended to align with the House version, HB 1056 (Rep. Bob Cherry, R-). Sen. Leising acknowledged that there was concern in the Senate about the 180 day requirement, and so we could see a change to the number of absences allowed on the floor.
SB 331 (Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange)
The bill passed 11-0. It is a follow up to the Combat to College program that passed in legislation during the 2013 session. The bill allows military service members to use GI benefits to attend state institutions in Indiana for the purpose of retaining them in the state.
Service members would receive in-state tuition, academic and career counseling and receive credit for courses while in service if those courses meet institutional standards. Each institution’s policy for granting credit would be reviewed by the Commission for Higher Education.
SB 330 (Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville)
The bill was held for amendments and a later vote. It would require the Commission for Higher Education to allocate half of the $7.5 million appropriated for scholarships to students seeking courses in high-demand and high-wage fields. The Department of Workforce Development would define what meets the high-demand, high-wage requirement.
While the bill is not really our concern, there was some confusion. Sen. Boots seemed to present one understanding of the bill – scholarships targeted to adult part-time students seeking to obtain a degree in an advanced field. On the other hand, Jacky Dowd from CECI indicated that the target would be non-traditional adult students entering vocational, technical and certificated programs for middle skills jobs as a pathway to degree-granting programs later.
SB 85 (Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon
In House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety, this bill passed 12-0. It is a follow-up to SB 1 last session regarding School Resource Officers (SRO). SB 85 seeks to clarify some issues from last year’s version that went to study committee in the interim.
One change is that SROs must follow the chain of command from a law enforcement agency. Grant money may also be used for the 40 hour required training, as well as conducting a building threat assessment. Reserve officers (retired) may also qualify if they have the certified training. An amendment was offered to send it to a summer study, but due to concern about the number of summer committees/workload, they are trying to work out the issues on 2nd reading.