The House finished its Third Reading calendar on Monday and the Senate on Tuesday. Conference committees are now in full swing as legislators seek to resolve differences in those instances where the House and Senate passed different versions of a bill.
The 2014 Indiana General Assembly is on track to conclude one or two days before the March 14th statutory deadline date. The rush to finish early can be attributed in part to the Big Ten Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis next weekend and the pressure that puts on hotel rates and availability.
Among those bills awaiting a conference committee to determine the bill's final provisions are the following:
SB 44, requiring the Dept. of Health and FSSA to establish an Electronic Health Data workgroup to study provider access issues. Sen. Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) chairs the conference committee and is the bill's author.
SB 173, extends the nursing home moratorium until June 30, 2015, and lowers the asset threshold for the CHOICE program from $500,000 to $250,000. Sen. Pat Miller (R-Indianapolis) is both conference committee chair and the bill's author.
SB 176 would establish a Central Indiana Transit system and authorize local referenda to fund the system. Sen. Pat Miller is the bill's author and conference committee chair.
SB 233 is another bill that lowers the asset limitation for the CHOICE program and contains provisions amending various professional licensing requirements. Sen. Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville) is author and conference committee chair.
SB 406 now contains a number of health and human services issues. Among them, it requires a diagnosis of autism at any age be reported to the Birth Problems Registry. It also limits to 50% the amount of the funds in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury fund that can be used to develop a statewide trauma system, and requires the Department of Health to adopt rules for the regulation of facilities treating traumatic brain injuries. Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) is author and conference committee chair.
SB 421 is now a collection of Professional Licensing issues, among them directing the Professional Licensing agency to study and report concerning establishing a process for members of currently unlicensed professions to certify their qualifications and to be included on a published listing of persons with those qualifications. This is a mechanism to achieve Medicaid reimbursement. Sen. Randy Head is author and conference committee chair.
Senate rules generally result in House amendments to Senate bills being removed in conference committee. The language is then inserted in House bills in conference committee, since House rules are more flexible.
HB 1004 establishes a Pre-kindergarten and Early Learning Study Committee. Efforts are expected to return the bill to establishing some form of funding for Pre-K programs. Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) is the bill's author and conference committee chair.
HB 1020 now establishes a 2020 "sunset" date on numerous Indiana Tax credit programs. Sen. Brandt Hershman authored a lengthy second reading amendment containing those provisions. He has led efforts in recent years to review the roughly 50 state tax credit programs to see if they are being used and if they are achieving their intended purpose. He has explained the 2020 sunset provisions as forcing another review in six years. Rep. Eric Koch is author and chair.
HB 1235 now contains some increased prize limits for charity gaming. Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) is author and chair.
HB 1266 was also amended by Sen. Hershman on second reading to establish 2022 as the "sunset" date on many of the same Indiana Tax Credits as described in HB 1020. He made the same explanation. Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Columbia City) is author and chair.
HB 1391 also extends the nursing home moratorium provisions to June 30, 2016 in this version. Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) is author and chair.