Friday, February 26, 2016

Legislative Update

from The Arc of Indiana:

SB 11 – ABLE ACT PASSED OUT OF HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
SB 11 – ABLE Act, introduced by Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville).  Creates the “achieving a better life experience” (ABLE) authority.  Established the ABLE Board of the authority.  Requires the authority to establish a qualified ABLE program under which a person may make contributions for a taxable year for the benefit of an eligible individual with a disability to an ABLE account to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary in compliance with federal law.  
The makeup of the ABLE Board which will develop the policies of the authority and the accounts has the following makeup:  4 ex officio members including the treasurer of state, the secretary of family and social services, the budget director and the lieutenant governor.  In addition, there are 5 members appointed by the Governor who are: (1) one member who has significant experience in actuarial analysis, accounting, investment management, or other areas of finance that are relevant to the authority; (2) one member who has significant legal expertise and knowledge in estate planning; (3) one member who is a representative of a statewide association  that advocates on behalf of individuals with disabilities; (4) one member who is an individual with a disability; and (5) one member who is a family member of an individual with a disability.
The bill was heard in the House Ways and Means committee this week and passed out unanimously. The bill will now be heard on second and third reading next week. Now is the time to contact your local House member and urge their support of SB 11.  We do not expect this bill to go to conference committee.   
DIPLOMA BILL PASSES SENATE
HB 1219 – High School Diplomas. Requires a high school operated by a school corporation to offer the high school’s students the opportunity to earn any type pf state diploma approved by the state board of education.  Provides that a student with a disability shall not be required to complete local requirements that exceed state requirements to receive a diploma unless approved by the case conference committee.
This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate this week.  Since the bill was not amended in the Senate, it moves straight to the Governor’s desk for his signature. 
  
IDENTIFICATION CARD BILL PASSES OUT OF SENATE
HB 1012 – Developmental Disability Identification Card.  Requires the state department of health, upon request, to issue an identification card indicating that an individual has been medically diagnosed with a developmental disability.  Allows the department to charge a fee for the identification card.  Provides that the information collected by the department is confidential. 
The intent of the card is to help people with disabilities be identified in emergency situations and to help first responders realize that the situation may need to be handled in a sensitive manner.
The bill passed out of the Senate this week.  The bill was returned to the House and Represented Koch filed a dissent.  The bill will now go to conference committee to clean up some language that was changed in the Senate. 
OTHER BILLS:
SB 93 – Various Education Matters. Provides that the financial specialist for the Gary Community School Corporation may perform duties authorized under the statute for not more than 24 consecutive months.  Amends the definition of secondary school to include certain elementary grades for purposes of a federal student loan forgiveness program for highly qualified teachers in high needs areas.  Makes changes to the school report card.  Requests the legislative council to assign to a study committee the following topics: (1) whether a new charter school should be required to establish an escrow account for expenses if the charter school closes, and who should control the account; (2) graduation rates, including the feasibility of amending the definition of “cohort” for purposes of determining graduation rates to exclude students who are pursuing a certificate of completion under an IEP; (3) methods to ensure opportunities for secondary school students to earn college credits while enrolled in high school and to provide incentives for a teacher to obtain a master’s degree or at least 18 hours of graduate coursework in the subject matter the teacher is teaching or wishes to teach as a part of a dual credit course; (4) the feasibility of allowing a school corporation and an individual teacher to voluntarily enter into an employment contract that contains terms that differ from the terms set forth in a collective bargaining agreement, and issues related to the topic; (5) the feasibility of allowing a school corporation to allow a student to receive elective credits for released time religious education, and the conditions under which the credits may be awarded; (6) issues related to the establishment of special education scholarship accounts and a special education scholarship account fund.
This bill is eligible for second and third reading next week.   
SB 192 – Guardianship and Adult Protective Services Report.  Urges the legislative council to assign to the appropriate committee a study of the visitation, communication, and interaction with a protected person.   Requires FSSA in cooperation with the Indiana prosecuting attorneys council (IPAC) to prepare and submit a report to the legislative council before December 1, 2016, concerning adult protective services. 

This bill is eligible for second and third reading next week. Now is the time to contact local House members and urge their support.
SB 206 – FSSA Matters.  Allows the secretary of FSSA to delegate appointment authorities, the issuance of certain orders, and other acts to carry out the functions of the divisions to an individual.  Authorizes the secretary to adopt rules concerning the implementation and administration of the early education grant pilot program.  Changes references from intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded to intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Creates an exception for state institutions concerning advanced practice nurses acting under a collaborative agreement with a practitioner, requiring that the nurse act under privileges by the governing body of the institution.
This bill is eligible for a vote in the House.  
SB 220 – Bias Crimes.  Permits that a court may consider aggravating circumstances in determining a sentence to be imposed.  Allows as an aggravating circumstance of an act of crime committed with the intent to harm or intimidate an individual because of the individual’s race, religion, color, sex, gender, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation or transgender status, or status as a veteran or member of the armed forces.   
This bill did not receive a hearing the House.  We are working to see if language from the bill can be inserted into another bill.
SB 309 – State and local taxation.  Eliminates the exemption for property taxes during planning and construction of a residence that is conveyed upon completion to a low income individual by a nonprofit organization.  Eliminates the exemption for property taxes for improvements on real property that are constructed, rehabilitated or acquired for the purpose of providing low income housing (and also eliminates the PILOTS required from the taxpayers claiming the exemption.  Eliminates the property tax deduction for residential rehabilitation of a dwelling.  Eliminates the property tax deduction for rehabilitation of a structure over 50 years old. Makes numerous other provisions.
Waiting for a hearing in the House.
SB 313 -- Abortion Matters.   Requires the state department of health to develop certain information concerning perinatal hospice care.  Requires physicians to provide information about perinatal hospice care to a pregnant woman who is considering an abortion because the unborn child has been diagnosed with a lethal fatal anomaly.  Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking an abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other disability.
Though this bill did not receive a hearing in the House, it was amended into HB 1337 in the Senate.
SB 321 – Local Government Budgeting.  Makes numerous provisions relating to local government funding. 
As introduced the bill could have had a larger impact on the level of county funding received by a community intellectual disability and other developmental disabilities center located within a county.  The language was changed on second reading to clarify that for property taxes due and payable after December 31, 2016, the maximum allowable appropriation is equal to the result of: (1) the maximum allowable appropriation by the county for the preceding year; multiplied by (2) the assessed value growth quotient determined under IC 6-1.1-18.5-2 for the year.  This should not have an impact on current centers receiving funding but may impact a center receiving first time funding from the county.
This bill passed out of the House Ways and Means committee and is eligible for second and third reading next week.
SB 323 – Combined Reporting Study.  Requires the legislative services agency to: (1) study the combined reporting approach to apportioning income for income tax purposes; and (2) report the results of the study before October 1, 2016, to the legislative council and to the interim study committee on fiscal policy. Requires the interim study committee on fiscal policy to hold at least one public hearing at which the legislative services agency presents the results of the study.
This bill was amended in committee to include language urging the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on fiscal policy the following topics: (1) new requirements from CMS pertaining to home and community based settings; (2) the effect of the requirements on Indiana waiver services for people with disabilities, rate reimbursement and rate methodology; (3) the fiscal impact of the requirements; (4) the impact of the change from daily rate billing to hourly billing for facility based habilitation services on the services provided and the providers of the services.  Also requires FSSA to respond to the above mentioned information by October 1, 2016, the following: (1) the effect of the CMS requirements on Indian waiver services for people with disabilities; (2) the fiscal impact of the requirements of the CMS rule; (3) the impact of the change from daily rate billing to hourly billing for facility based habilitation services on the services provided and the providers of the services; and options identified by FSSA for ensuring viability of facility based habilitation services.
This bill passed out of the House Ways and Means committee this week and will be eligible for second and third reading next week.
SR 39 – A senate resolution urging the legislative council to assign to an appropriate study committee the topic of the Employment First Program.  The Program promotes and expands quality, community employment outcomes for all people with disabilities. 
The resolution will be heard Monday in the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee.    
Other Information

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