Indiana Lawmakers gathered in Indianapolis on May 14th for a brief one-day special session to deal with five bills that Governor Holcomb and the Republican controlled General Assembly deemed emergencies. Democrats, on the other hand, argued that when added together the bills did not warrant the price tag to bring the legislature back into session.
HB 1230 adds an additional $5 million to the Indiana Secured School Fund to provide money to schools that need help with safety costs. The bill also requires a state audit of all school safety plans and allows schools to seek an advance for safety capital costs from the common school fund. The measure passed the House 96-1 and the Senate 47-1.
HB 1242 implements a new IRS rule that requires fingerprinting for state tax employees and contractors. The bill also allows Vigo County to impose a food and beverage tax that would be used for construction and maintenance of a downtown Terre Haute convention center. The measure also eliminates some underused tax credits. It passed 74-20 in the House and 41-7 in the Senate.
HB 1315 allows Ball State University to take over the Muncie school system and replace their elected school board with an appointed board. It changes Gary’s elected school board to an advisory board only. The bill also directs a formula to be established to identify struggling school districts across the state and allows them to receive confidential technical assistance. HB 1315 passed the House 63-30 and the Senate 34-14.
HB 1316 largely conforms state tax code with changes made to the federal tax code by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. The bill allows 529 college savings plans to be used for K-12 expenses. The measure passed the House 75-22 and the Senate 40-8.
HB 1457 makes technical corrections to bills from the 2018 legislative session. It passed 97-0 in the House and 46-2 in the Senate.
Governor Holcomb signed all five bills immediately into law after session ended.
New President Pro Tempore
Indiana Senate Republicans gathered, following the Special Session, to replace retiring Pro Tem, David Long (R-Fort Wayne). After all was said and done, the caucus elected Senator Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) to be the next President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate. Senator Bray chose Senator Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) to be the Senate’s new Majority Floor Leader.
Summer Study Committee Topics
The next step for the legislature was to assign summer study committee topics. The Legislative Council met on May 15th to vote on a resolution that contains the topics which will be studied in the coming months.
There were five study committees that were not assigned any topics:
- Interim Study Committee on Elections
- Interim Study Committee on Employment and Labor
- Interim Study Committee on Environmental Affairs
- Interim Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance
- Probate Study Subcommittee of the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary.
An official list of topics can be found here.
Two legislators, Senator Joe Zakas (R-Granger) and Representative Dick Hamm (R-Richmond), lost their primary races on May 8th. With 3 retirements in the Senate and 13 in the House, we can expect to see at least 18 new faces at the statehouse come November. They will be joined by any candidates that are successful in their attempt to unseat incumbents in the general election.