General Assembly Overview
The Indiana General Assembly concluded the 2018 legislative session in bizarre fashion. According to Indiana Code 2-2.1-1-3, in a non-budget “short” session the legislature must adjourn sine die no later than March 14. The House and Senate worked right up to the stroke of midnight on March 14 leaving some priority bills dead due to the lack of time.
As the clock began to creep towards midnight, it became clear time was short for a number of conference committee reports which still needed approval from the House and Senate Rules Committees before they could be voted on the floor. Some of the priority remaining bills included: SB 242, HB 1104, HB 1230, HB 1315, HB 1316 and HB 1341.
The rules committees quickly met to vote on conference committee reports. The Senate Rules Committee approved the last batch of conference committee reports sending bills to the floor. The House Rules Committee passed a few bills and then adjourned in order to get to the floor in hopes of voting on some of them. Tensions flared as some bills were prioritized to move and others died in House Rules.
The Senate quickly approved a number of conference reports with the exception of HB 1315, a bill dealing with Gary and Muncie schools financial management. However, the House did not make it to the floor in time to vote on a number of key tax bills and administration priority bills.
Governor Holcomb intervened in both chambers and attempted to extend session one hour in order to finish some of the bills left on the calendar. However, after reviewing available options, House and Senate leadership were uncomfortable moving forward with the uncertain authority to extend session past the sine die deadline. The decision was made to adjourn sine die leaving a number of bills left to die.
The chaotic ending left Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) casting blame and pondering a special session.
In the early morning hours of March 15, Gov. Holcomb issued the following statement:
“The General Assembly adjourned Wednesday with many accomplishments that will matter to people: Hoosiers will get training for high-demand jobs. People struggling with addiction will have more treatment options. Moms will deliver babies in hospitals equipped to meet their needs. But, there’s still work to be done. After meeting with Speaker Bosma and Senator Long, I’ll look at all that can be done to complete unfinished business—whether that’s by administrative or legislative authority, if needed.”
Gov. Holcomb’s bill watch update is active and lists which bills have been signed thus far.
There were a total of 901 bills introduced this session. At the halfway point this session, there were only 130 House bills still alive and 172 Senate bills still alive. In the end, 212 bills were passed by the Indiana General Assembly: 101 House bills and 111 Senate bills. Overall, 23% of all bills introduced will arrive on Governor Holcomb’s desk.
On March 19, Gov. Holcomb held a press conference to make some announcements, call for a special session and summarize the 2018 session:
- Gov. Holcomb announced a special session in mid-May to address a number of the key bills that did not make it across the finish line in the final hours of session.
- Gov. Holcomb identified five specific items that require immediate attention before the next budget session.
- Increase funding for the Indiana Secured School Fund by $5 million now and in FY19.
- Allow school corporations to obtain funding advances for school security equipment and capital purchases.
- Provide Muncie Community School Corporation with a one-time $12 million loan from the Common School Fund.
- Conform with federal tax reform changes by updating the state’s conformity date to Feb. 11, 2018.
- Comply with IRS rules to protect federal taxpayer information and assure access to federal tax data.
- Rep. Dave Ober (R-Albion) is the new appointment to the Indiana Regulatory Utility Commission (IURC). Rep. Ober will immediately resign his House seat. Interim IURC Chairman Jim Huston will become the current IURC Chairman and Rep. Ober will serve as an IURC Commissioner.
- Gov. Holcomb’s Deputy Chief of Staff Danny Lopez will become the new Chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Development Cabinet which was established in SEA 50. This new cabinet will replace the State Workforce Innovation Council (SWIC).
HB 1301 – IDOI Omnibus Bill – Updates names of health care provider billing forms. Amends the financial responsibility requirement for a contract carrier that transports railroad employees. Permits the department of insurance and governor to apply for a state innovation waiver under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Provides for reduced limits and removal of commercial umbrella or excess liability coverage and requires notice of a reduction or removal. Repeals the law providing for a multistate surplus lines insurance compact, which has not gone into effect due to an insufficient number of states enacting the legislation. Amends the law concerning taxation of surplus lines producers on business sold to insureds whose home state is Indiana. Corrects a provision of HEA 1143-2018 providing for paper prior authorization requests. Requires health maintenance organizations to be member insurers in the life and health insurance guaranty association. Repeals unnecessary deposit requirements of HMOs to the department of insurance for noncovered healthcare expenditures. Urges the legislative council to assign the issue of bond requirements for public-private agreements for study during the 2018 interim of the general assembly. Resolves conflicts with SEA 341-2018.
Thankfully, the bill passed out of the legislature within hours of sine die. It now heads to the Governor for consideration.