March 6, 2014
Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops in Indiana regarding state and national matters.
Upon finishing third reading at the beginning of the week, this week began the phase of the session known as conference committee. During this approximately 2 week period, the House and Senate review changes each has made in bills and determine if they concur (agree with changes) or dissent (disagree with changes). Hence, this period contains many caucus meetings to decide not only what the original authors want but what the caucus concerns may be. Then a concurrence or a dissent is filed. When a concurrence is filed the bill is then voted on again by the originating chamber to agree to the changes in the bill. When a dissent is filed, leadership assigns conferees from each chamber to meet and try to find compromise or to agree upon the content of the bill. If agreement is reached, then the bill is voted upon by the entire body in each chamber. If no agreement is reached, the author can concur or all can continue to disagree and the bill dies. This period is very fluid with much discussion in committee, but more outside of formal meetings.
Third reading results
SB 292, Abortion providers, passed with a bipartisan vote of 88 – 9. Because the bill was amended to only provide names of back-up doctors with hospital privileges to the State Department of Health, it now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The Senate concurred on Thursday with a vote of 34 – 6.
HB 1123, Abortion coverage, passed the Senate 37 – 10 on a bipartisan vote. The bill returns to the House with an amendment to adjust the effective date. The House is expected to concur with the change next week.
HB 1036, Child care and development fund eligibility, passed the Senate 36 – 12 with a bipartisan vote. There were changes regarding authority of the department to establish rules regarding nutrition and daily activities. The House author, Representative Kevin Mahan (R – Hartford City), will take this to conference committee next week. The purpose will be to see if current rules regarding nutrition and daily activities which licensed facilities must follow could be incorporated into the bill. Current rules are guidelines but do not establish specific requirements.
SB 176 Central Indiana transit, passed the House 52 – 47. Because significant changes were made in the House version, it will go to conference committee. Many are optimistic that some compromise will result but the vote shows that there are many concerns.
House concurred with amendments to the following bills which now go to the Governor for signature:
HB 1190, Treatment of miscarried remains, passed 89 – 1. The bill requires hospitals to notify parents of options regarding the disposition of the miscarried baby.
HB 1222, Adoption committee and tax credit, passed 90 -2. It provides a tax credit for families who adopt and establishes a study committee to seek ways to improve Indiana’s adoption policy and programs. This was one of Governor Pence’s priorities for the session.
Conference committee discussions continue regarding several high profile bills.
Governor Pence and many supporters of HB 1004 are working very hard to convince Senate Republicans that in addition to the study of preschool needs and best practices, the pilot passed by the House should be added back in conference committee. While three of the four caucuses seem to be supportive of the pilot program passed in the House, Senate Democrats are now raising concerns regarding the tie-in to K-12 voucher program. Senate Republicans continue to raise fiscal concerns.Getting agreement to include the pilot with funding to come in 2015 will be difficult. Yet on Thursday, Senator David Long (President Pro Tempore of the Senate) announced that leadership was working with the Governor to come up with an alternative.
Other major bills/issues still under discussion include mass transit for Central Indiana, business personal property tax reduction, and as many as five other bills dealing with taxes, several bills dealing with firearms, including one that would allow guns on school property and drug testing for welfare recipients.
The session must end by next week Friday; however, they could finish earlier since the number of bills and the differences in most bills are not that far apart.
In addition to the Update, one can obtain more detailed information regarding the bills and detailed information about the legislative process through the ICC Legislative Action Center. Under “policy tools” click on “issues and legislation” and access the state or federal bills by clicking “current legislation”. Also, you can access the archived updates, ICC positions and other background information at the ICC website www.indianacc.org