Thursday, May 17, 2018
On May 14, the General Assembly convened for a one-day special session to pass five important bills that could not wait until the next regular session in 2019 to become law. These included bills to increase funding for school security, support at-risk schools and align Indiana with the major federal tax reform passed by Congress in 2017.
To help increase safety for Hoosier students, House Enrolled Act 1230 creates a low-interest loan program for school security projects and requires the Department of Education to conduct an audit of every school’s safety plan. HEA 1230 also allows up to $5 million in extra funding for the Secured School Grant Program to fully fund every school that applied for a grant this year.
House Enrolled Act 1315 deals with the financial health of school districts. HEA 1315 provides emergency assistance to aid the turnaround efforts in Indiana’s only two financially distressed school corporations– Muncie and Gary. More importantly, HEA 1315 establishes a process to annually monitor the financial health of all school districts so the state can provide confidential support for local turnaround efforts without the need for more drastic interventions.
The other two major bills, House Enrolled Act 1316 and House Enrolled Act 1242 (formerly Senate Bill 242), update Indiana’s tax code and other tax policies to respond to recent federal changes. Without this legislation, Indiana businesses could face $100 million in compliance costs because they would have to keep two sets of accounting books – one for federal taxes and another for state taxes.
The General Assembly made sure to act with maximum transparency for the one-day special session. These four bills received a full public vetting during the regular session. For the special session, they were reintroduced and passed in the same form they were in at the end of the regular session, with the exception of two minor changes in HEA 1316 that respond to IRS issues that arose after the conclusion of the regular session. The other bill passed was a routine technical corrections bill suggested by the Legislative Services Agency. The five bills were posted to the General Assembly’s website for the public to view on April 30, two weeks before the special session.
For more information on these bills and others passed during the 2018 legislative session, visit iga.in.gov.