INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced today that he will call legislators back to the Indiana statehouse in May for a special session to advance priority bills that died when time ran out on the 2018 session—bills related to funding schools and school safety, aligning state and federal tax policy, and complying with IRS rules.
“I will call lawmakers back in May to finish their on a very narrow and urgent list of priorities,” Holcomb said. “After speaking at length with Speaker Bosma and President Long, I’m confident we can act quickly deliver on these critical issues with minimal taxpayer impact. The cost of doing nothing would be far greater.”
Gov. Holcomb’s Special Session Priorities
Schools and School Safety
- Deliver on the governor March 9 request for additional funding for the Indiana Secured School Fund by $5 million now and for fiscal year 2019. These additional funds will allow the state to provide more financial support for school safety to more schools.
- Allow school corporations to obtain funding advances of up to $500,000 for school security equipment and capital purchases. Total advances may not exceed $35 million.
- Provide Muncie schools a one-time $12 million loan to remain operational and make needed capital improvements.
Federal Compliance Issues
- Update state’s tax code to conform with federal tax changes by updating state’s conformity date to Feb. 11, 2018. Indiana’s current conformity date is fixed by statute at Jan. 1, 2016. If the state’s conformity date is not updated, taxpayers will calculate their taxes twice to file—once under 2018 rules for federal taxes and once under 2016 rules for state taxes.
- Comply with IRS rules to protect federal taxpayer information and assure access to federal tax data
Despite this unfinished business, bills representing all five pillars of Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda advanced to his desk for signature this legislative session. These new laws will lay the groundwork to transform the state’s workforce strategy, take comprehensive steps to attack opioid crisis, and set the stage for future economic growth and innovation.
“This legislative session was all about people, people, people,” Holcomb said. “The issues that dominated this short session were far reaching and overwhelmingly focused on improving Hoosier lives and communities. Just as important, once again, our elected lawmakers worked civilly and collaboratively to reach consensus on the many important topics we advanced.”
2018 Next Level Agenda: Legislative Roundup
Cultivate a strong and diverse economy.
- SEA 257: Software as a Service (SaaS) Sales Tax
This bill helps makes Indiana one of four states that eliminates state sales tax for software as a service. This change will help support Indiana’s growing tech sector that is transforming every industry.
Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure.
- HEA 1267: Water Infrastructure Task Force
This bill brings together the many agencies that oversee Indiana’s water infrastructure with the goal of better assessing, managing and developing high-need water and waste water assets around our state.
Develop a 21st Century skilled and ready workforce.
- SEA 172: Computer Science
Computer science skills are in high demand for today’s jobs, and they will be critical for future generations. This bill requires every Indiana public school to offer computer science courses and creates a funded grant program to provide training for educators to teach the subject.
- HEA 1002 & SEA 50: Workforce Development
These two bills strengthen tools to prepare Hoosiers quickly for high-demand, high-wage jobs. They’ll help assess our current workforce programs, align them better with the needs of real job creators, and make sure our programs are accessible and easy to use for both employees and employers.
Highlights of the bills include:
- Expand access to training funds for Hoosier adults and employers
- Encourage employer-driven, regionally-focused training models
- Target high-demand careers experiencing shortages, like nursing
- Create a governor’s cabinet on workforce
Improve Health & Attack the Drug Epidemic.
- SEA 139: Coroner Data Reporting
The state needs accurate information on drug overdose deaths to know the full scope of the opioid problem and attack the epidemic gripping Indiana. This bill will improve the data received from local coroners have and help state officials make more informed decisions.
- HEA 1359: Enforcement for Drug Dealing that Leads to Death
This bill charges those who deal or illegally manufacture drugs that lead to the death of a drug user with the highest possible felony. Enforcement plays an important role in decreasing the supply of and demand for these devastating substances, and this bill is a key part of the state’s comprehensive approach to curb the opioid epidemic.
- SEA 221: INSPECT Database
This bill requires certain health care professionals to check the state’s prescription database before prescribing potentially addictive medications. Increasing the use of the state’s INSPECT database gives health care practitioners another tool to ensure quality care and fight the growing opioid epidemic.
- HEA 1007: Expanding Drug Treatment Access
Increasing the number of opioid treatment locations from 18 to 27 ensures that nearly every Hoosier in the state is within an hour’s drive of treatment to overcome addiction. I commend lawmakers for advancing this bill that will save lives and families.
- SEA 360: Quality Levels of Care
The bill takes an important step to help reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate by ensuring pregnant women deliver their babies and receive pre- and post-natal care at a facility that is equipped to meet their needs.
Deliver Great Government Service.
- SEA 236: Say’s Firefly Official State Insect
After years of advocating for the Say’s Firefly to become the official state insect, students from Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette finally achieved their goal this legislative session. In the process, they inspired students around the state to be more civically engaged and learned about how our state government works.
SOURCE: News release from the Office of Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb