Inside the Statehouse: Week 16 (Sine Die)








 
 
 


This week is the last week of the 2015 General Assembly, and Wednesday April 29th is the last day for the Senate and House to adjourn also known as Sine Die (a Latin term for without a day.)  

This is the last opportunity for
HB 1616 - a bill to smooth out the childcare benefit-cliff - to be amended into the conference committee report for SB 465. It's not too late to call the author of SB 465, Senator Luke Kenley (also an advisor to the conference committee) and/or Senator Pat Miller, Chairwoman of the conference committee. Remind them that this bipartisan bill - which assures that families aren't punished for working harder - sailed through two House committees, the full House and a Senate committee so far without a single vote against it.
The Individual Development Account (IDA) credits can still be restored in conference committee in HB 1349 or SB 441. The IDA tax credit is a program that allows non-profit IDA providers to sell tax credits in their communities and invest the funds raised back into their IDA program. Because these funds are state based and not part of a federal match, they are more flexible and provide non-profits with a pot of money that can be used for program innovation. Please call the conferees, Senator Brandt Hershman, Rep.Todd HustonSen. John BrodenRep. Steven Stemler, and Rep.Gregory Porter, and  urge them to reinstate tax credits for the IDA program.

As a reminder, legislative calendars are subject to change, so please check back for updates. Here is a complete list of all legislation affecting working families we are following. We'll send a separate email calling for specific action on legislation as necessary. For now, you can contact your legislator to support any of this week's activity here.

This Week

There are no conference committees listed at this time. 
  
Last Week

SB 509: Scholarships and Grants
Description:
Scholarships and grants. Provides that at the end of each state fiscal year, the commission for higher education (commission) may order the auditor of state to transfer money among certain funds if the commission determines that the remaining appropriation in a particular fund could be used by eligible applicants for an award under one of the other funds in the following state fiscal year. Provides that the auditor of state shall make a transfer ordered by the commission. Renames the "part-time student grant" as the "adult student grant". Renames the "part-time student grant fund" as the "adult student grant fund". Establishes the economic priority sector fund (fund). Provides that the fund shall be used to provide graduation grants to certain applicants who earn a degree or certificate aligned with economic priority sectors. Makes technical and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Conference committee report passed the House 89-0 and the Senate 48-0.
Our Position: SUPPORT: The bill will better align state resources for the nearly 1/3 of Indiana's adults with no post-secondary education, as well as those with some college but no degree. For the majority of Indiana's adult students, working more than part-time is needed to go to school, whether as a part-time or full-time student. Re-shaping the state's current Part-Time Grant into an Adult Student Grant that provides incentives for adults to pursue study in priority economic sectors will both help those students complete degrees and credentials leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs and will also help close Indiana's skills gap.


SB 441: Various Tax Matters
Description: Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony heard at conference committee. No votes were taken.


SB 438: State and Local Tax Issues
Description: Amends the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices to: (1) restate the application of the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices; and (2) provide a sales tax exemption for food, food ingredients, and dietary supplements that are sold by a licensed practitioner or pharmacist. Amends the sales tax exemption for drugs, insulin, oxygen, blood, or blood plasma to restate the application of the sales tax exemption. Repeals the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients prescribed as medically necessary by a physician.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony heard at conference committee. No votes were taken.


SB 436: State and Local Taxation
Description: Provides that if a taxpayer has personal property subject to assessment in more than one township in a county or has personal property that is subject to assessment and that is located in two or more taxing districts within the same township, the taxpayer shall file a single tax return with the county assessor. Provides that a personal property return notice must be filed with the county assessor, and not the township assessor, of the county in which the owner resides when the personal property is located in a different county.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony heard at conference committee. No votes were taken.


HB 1001: State Biennial Budget
Description: State biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony heard at conference committee. No votes were taken.


HB 1333: Higher Education Financial Assistance
Description: Provides that the commission for higher education: (1) may consider only the residency status of a student; and (2) may not consider the residency status of the student's parents or legal guardian even if the student is considered a dependent for purposes of federal or state financial aid; for purposes of eligibility for the National Guard tuition supplement program and the National Guard scholarship extension program.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony heard at conference committee. No votes were taken.


HB 1469: Wage Payment and Wage Assignment
Description: Wage payment and wage assignment. Provides that an employer who fails to make timely payment of wages or withholds wages in bad faith, may, in addition to the wages due, pay liquidated damages, court costs, and a reasonable fee for the employee's attorney. Provides that an employee may assign wages for: (1) the purchase, rental, or use of uniforms or equipment necessary to fulfill the duties of employment; (2) reimbursement for education or employee skills training; (3) an advance for payroll or vacation pay; and (4) meals eaten by the employee at a location provided by the employer.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony was heard. No votes were taken. The conference committee included a proposal to allow garnishment of wages for credit card debt.


SB 465: FSSA Matters
Description: Makes multiple changes to the administration of the office of the secretary of family and social services. Repeals the step ahead comprehensive early childhood grant program. Makes changes in the manner that voter registration applications and declinations can be transferred. Removes language that provided an incentive payment to the offices of prosecuting attorneys for the investigation or prosecution of food stamp fraud. Repeals language concerning: (1) civil penalties for Medicaid fraud; and (2) public records reports of Medicaid recipients. Makes technical and conforming changes.
Last Action Taken: Conference Committee heard public testimony. The Institute testified in support of adding HB 1616 language to the conference committee report. A proposal to have the language that requires welfare recipients to be drug tested be changed to send the issue to a summer study committee.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Inside the Statehouse: Week 15








 
 
 
 
Conference committees continue this week, but even with the end nearing there is still an opportunity for HB 1616 to be amended into the conference committee report for SB 465, which now also includes troubling language that would require drug testing for welfare recipients. In addition, SB 509, which would create Indiana's first Adult Learners Grant, is scheduled for conference committee Tuesday morning.

Even though the Senate voted down an amendment to fully  fund the Individual Development Account (IDA) credits to the budget, it's not too late for the legislature to fund this important tax credit (by amending HB 1349 or SB 441) in conference committee. The IDA tax credit is a program that allows non-profit IDA providers to sell tax credits in their communities and invest the funds raised back into their IDA program. Because these funds are state based and not part of a federal match, they are more flexible and provide non-profits with a pot of money that can be used for program innovation.

As a reminder, legislative calendars are subject to change, so please check back for updates. Here is a complete list of all legislation affecting working families we are following. We'll send a separate email calling for specific action on legislation as necessary. For now, you can contact your legislator to support any of this week's activity here.

This Week

HB 1469: Wage Payment and Wage Assignment
Description: Wage payment and wage assignment. Provides that an employer who fails to make timely payment of wages or withholds wages in bad faith, may, in addition to the wages due, pay liquidated damages, court costs, and a reasonable fee for the employee's attorney. Provides that an employee may assign wages for: (1) the purchase, rental, or use of uniforms or equipment necessary to fulfill the duties of employment; (2) reimbursement for education or employee skills training; (3) an advance for payroll or vacation pay; and (4) meals eaten by the employee at a location provided by the employer.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 32-18
Conference Committee: Monday April 20, 2:30PM, Room 156-B


SB 509: Scholarships and Grants
Description: Scholarships and grants. Provides that at the end of each state fiscal year, the commission for higher education (commission) may order the auditor of state to transfer money among certain funds if the commission determines that the remaining appropriation in a particular fund could be used by eligible applicants for an award under one of the other funds in the following state fiscal year. Provides that the auditor of state shall make a transfer ordered by the commission. Renames the "part-time student grant" as the "adult student grant". Renames the "part-time student grant fund" as the "adult student grant fund". Establishes the economic priority sector fund (fund). Provides that the fund shall be used to provide graduation grants to certain applicants who earn a degree or certificate aligned with economic priority sectors. Makes technical and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 95-0
Our Position: SUPPORT: The bill will better align state resources for the nearly 1/3 of Indiana's adults with no post-secondary education, as well as those with some college but no degree. For the majority of Indiana's adult students, working more than part-time is needed to go to school, whether as a part-time or full-time student. Re-shaping the state's current Part-Time Grant into an Adult Student Grant that provides incentives for adults to pursue study in priority economic sectors will both help those students complete degrees and credentials leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs and will also help close Indiana's skills gap.
Conference Committee: Tuesday, April 21, 10:00AM, Room 431
  
Last Week

HB 1601: Various Workforce Development Matters
Description: Reorganizes and recodifies the duties and programs of the department of workforce development (department). Allows the division of family resources and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning administering federal work requirements for public welfare programs. Permits the Indiana career council to meet only at the call of the chair rather than monthly. Repeals obsolete, expired, and superseded provisions. Updates cross-references and makes conforming and technical changes.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 50-0
Our Position: While most of this bill deals with technical corrections needed for the implementation of the new federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, two provisions are of consequence to us. First, we support and are encouraged by the provision allowing for a memorandum of understanding between DWD and FSSA for the purposes of the federal work requirements of public benefit programs. This indicates to us a movement toward greater access to the DWDs workforce training programs for Indiana's public benefit recipients. However, we oppose another provision of the bill which repeals a requirement to measure and report on Middle Skill Credentials. Reporting on these credentials regularly is crucial as Indiana tries to align workforce development and post-secondary resources and programs and tries to put Indiana on the path to realizing the Big Goal of 60% of Hoosiers with a post-secondary credential or degree by 2025.


SB 441: Various Tax Matters
Description: Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 88-6


HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Amended bill passed Senate 27-22. House concurred with the Senate 54-40
Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (with an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the
hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example:
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century - down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states' median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages - which are still declining - are down by about .80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 - 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands. Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 - 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs. Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.

SB 438: State and Local Tax Issues
Description: Amends the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices to: (1) restate the application of the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices; and (2) provide a sales tax exemption for food, food ingredients, and dietary supplements that are sold by a licensed practitioner or pharmacist. Amends the sales tax exemption for drugs, insulin, oxygen, blood, or blood plasma to restate the application of the sales tax exemption. Repeals the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients prescribed as medically necessary by a physician.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 96-0

SB 436: State and Local Taxation
Description: Provides that if a taxpayer has personal property subject to assessment in more than one township in a county or has personal property that is subject to assessment and that is located in two or more taxing districts within the same township, the taxpayer shall file a single tax return with the county assessor. Provides that a personal property return notice must be filed with the county assessor, and not the township assessor, of the county in which the owner resides when the personal property is located in a different county.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 91-4

HB 1349: Various Tax Matters
Description: Eliminates various adjustments to income for purposes of determining Indiana adjusted gross income. Eliminates various income tax exemptions, deductions, and credits. Provides that business income is all income apportionable to the state under the Constitution of the United States. Eliminates the taxation of income that is attributed to a state that does not have an income tax (the "throwback rule"). Provides that sales of a broadcaster that arise from the broadcast or other distribution of film programming or radio programming are in this state if the commercial domicile of the broadcaster's customer is in this state. Broadens the addback to Indiana adjusted gross income related to intercompany interest expenses. Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit. Provides for a tax amnesty program. Makes technical corrections and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 50-0

HB 1001: State Biennial Budget
Description: State biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 42-8

HB 1333: Higher Education Financial Assistance
Description: Provides that the commission for higher education: (1) may consider only the residency status of a student; and (2) may not consider the residency status of the student's parents or legal guardian even if the student is considered a dependent for purposes of federal or state financial aid; for purposes of eligibility for the National Guard tuition supplement program and the National Guard scholarship extension program.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 50-0

HB 1042: Education Loan Information
Description: Education loan information. Requires a postsecondary educational institution that enrolls students who receive Frank O'Bannon grants or twenty-first century scholarships to annually provide each student with certain information concerning the student's education loans. Provides that an eligible institution does not incur liability for any information provided to students.
Last Action Taken: Signed by the Governor
Our Position: SUPPORT: By requiring post-secondary institutions to provide students with estimates of their total loan payoff and monthly repayment amounts, HB 1042 will help Hoosier students make better decisions about course selection and loans, and will promote on-time college completion while reducing unnecessary credits and student debt.
  
SB 465: FSSA Matters
Description: Makes multiple changes to the administration of the office of the secretary of family and social services. Repeals the step ahead comprehensive early childhood grant program. Makes changes in the manner that voter registration applications and declinations can be transferred. Removes language that provided an incentive payment to the offices of prosecuting attorneys for the investigation or prosecution of food stamp fraud. Repeals language concerning: (1) civil penalties for Medicaid fraud; and (2) public records reports of Medicaid recipients. Makes technical and conforming changes.

The amendment that requires welfare recipients to be drug tested passed the House 83-13. The amendment requires that those receiving TANF who have been identified as high risk for drug abuse or charged with a drug-related crime in the past to be tested. The Institute's Senior Policy Analyst Derek Thomas said that "It's going to further stigmatize the program, which means less people will be on the program, we should be trying to help more people out of poverty." To learn more, see the IndyStar article here, and see the chart from our Status of Working Families report illustrating how this bill would exacerbate the already abysmal response of Indiana’s TANF program to the lingering effects of the recession.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 84-13

HB 1186: Unemployment Insurance
Description: Provides that any part of an unemployment insurance surcharge not used to pay interest on the advances made to the state from the federal unemployment trust fund must be credited against the total amount of benefits charged to the state's unemployment insurance trust fund before determining each employer's share of those benefits.
Last Action Taken: House concurred with the amended bill the Senate sent back to them 65-20


HB 1497: Reemployment services for unemployment recipients
Description: Reemployment services for unemployment recipients. Provides that certain individuals who have been determined by the department of workforce development to need reemployment services may be required to participate in certain additional services provided by the department of workforce development.
Last Action Taken: House concurred with the amended bill sent back by the Sent 62-24


HB 434: Financial Aid and Tuition
Description: Financial aid and tuition. Provides that a person who: (1) is a nonresident; (2) is a member of the Indiana National Guard; and (3) attends a state educational institution; is eligible to pay the resident tuition rate for undergraduate and graduate courses. Provides that certain: (1) veterans; and (2) persons who serve on active military duty; are eligible to pay the resident tuition rate for graduate courses.
Last Action Taken: Signed by the Governor




Sunday, April 19, 2015

Inside the Statehouse: Week 14








 
 
 
 
 
Wednesday is the last day for bills to be heard on third reading.  Conference committees  will be formed this week to reconcile differences in legislation that's passed both chambers.

Despite legislation to smooth out the childcare cliff (HB 1616) passing the House unanimously, the Chair of Senate Appropriations refused to give the bill a hearing.  The last chance for HB 1616 to pass this session is for it to be amended into a conference committee report.  From the Journal Gazette: “In a divisive session that seems to be giving little regard to low- and middle-income families, HB 1616 is sound bipartisan policy. [Senator] Kenley should rethink his objection.” 

Current tax proposals authored in both the House and Senate repeal Individual Development Account (IDA) credits, but it's not too late for the legislature to reinstate this important tax credit (by amending HB 1349 or SB 441). The IDA tax credit is a program that allows non-profit IDA providers to sell tax credits in their communities and invest the funds raised back into their IDA program. Because these funds are state based and not part of a federal match, they are more flexible and provide non-profits with a pot of money that can be used for program innovation.
  
As a reminder, legislative calendars are subject to change, so please check back for updates. Here is a complete list of all legislation affecting working families we are following. We'll send a separate email calling for specific action on legislation as necessary. For now, you can contact your legislator to support any of this week's activity here.


This Week
  
HB 1601: Various Workforce Development Matters
Description: Reorganizes and recodifies the duties and programs of the department of workforce development (department). Allows the division of family resources and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning administering federal work requirements for public welfare programs. Permits the Indiana career council to meet only at the call of the chair rather than monthly. Repeals obsolete, expired, and superseded provisions. Updates cross-references and makes conforming and technical changes.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Commerce and Technology Committee 7-0. Now on second reading.
Our Position: While most of this bill deals with technical corrections needed for the implementation of the new federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, two provisions are of consequence to us. First, we support and are encouraged by the provision allowing for a memorandum of understanding between DWD and FSSA for the purposes of the federal work requirements of public benefit programs. This indicates to us a movement toward greater access to the DWDs workforce training programs for Indiana's public benefit recipients. However, we oppose another provision of the bill which repeals a requirement to measure and report on Middle Skill Credentials. Reporting on these credentials regularly is crucial as Indiana tries to align workforce development and post-secondary resources and programs and tries to put Indiana on the path to realizing the Big Goal of 60% of Hoosiers with a post-secondary credential or degree by 2025.

SB 441: Various Tax Matters
Description: Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit.
Last Action Taken: Passed Committee on Ways and Means. On second reading in the House Chamber.
HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Passed Tax a Fiscal Policy committee 8-5. Is now on second reading.

Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (with an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example: 
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century - down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states' median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages - which are still declining - are down by about .80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 - 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands. Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 - 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs. Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.

SB 438: State and Local Tax Issues
Description: Amends the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices to: (1) restate the application of the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices; and (2) provide a sales tax exemption for food, food ingredients, and dietary supplements that are sold by a licensed practitioner or pharmacist. Amends the sales tax exemption for drugs, insulin, oxygen, blood, or blood plasma to restate the application of the sales tax exemption. Repeals the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients prescribed as medically necessary by a physician.
Last Action Taken: Amended bill passed Ways and Means committee 24-0. Now is on Second reading.

SB 436: State and Local Taxation
Description: Provides that if a taxpayer has personal property subject to assessment in more than one township in a county or has personal property that is subject to assessment and that is located in two or more taxing districts within the same township, the taxpayer shall file a single tax return with the county assessor. Provides that a personal property return notice must be filed with the county assessor, and not the township assessor, of the county in which the owner resides when the personal property is located in a different county.
Last Action Taken: Passed Ways and Means Committee. Now on second reading.
State Biennial Budget
Description: State biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes.
Last Action Taken: Amended bill passed Appropriations committee 8-3. Is now on second reading

Last Week

HB 1601: Various Workforce Development Matters
Description: Reorganizes and recodifies the duties and programs of the department of workforce development (department). Allows the division of family resources and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning administering federal work requirements for public welfare programs. Permits the Indiana career council to meet only at the call of the chair rather than monthly. Repeals obsolete, expired, and superseded provisions. Updates cross-references and makes conforming and technical changes.
Last Action Taken: Passed out of the Commerce and Technology committee 7-0.
Our Position: While most of this bill deals with technical corrections needed for the implementation of the new federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, two provisions are of consequence to us. First, we support and are encouraged by the provision allowing for a memorandum of understanding between DWD and FSSA for the purposes of the federal work requirements of public benefit programs. This indicates to us a movement toward greater access to the DWDs workforce training programs for Indiana's public benefit recipients. However, we oppose another provision of the bill which repeals a requirement to measure and report on Middle Skill Credentials. Reporting on these credentials regularly is crucial as Indiana tries to align workforce development and post-secondary resources and programs and tries to put Indiana on the path to realizing the Big Goal of 60% of Hoosiers with a post-secondary credential or degree by 2025.
SB 509: Scholarships and Grants
Description: Scholarships and grants. Provides that at the end of each state fiscal year, the commission for higher education (commission) may order the auditor of state to transfer money among certain funds if the commission determines that the remaining appropriation in a particular fund could be used by eligible applicants for an award under one of the other funds in the following state fiscal year. Provides that the auditor of state shall make a transfer ordered by the commission. Renames the "part-time student grant" as the "adult student grant". Renames the "part-time student grant fund" as the "adult student grant fund". Establishes the economic priority sector fund (fund). Provides that the fund shall be used to provide graduation grants to certain applicants who earn a degree or certificate aligned with economic priority sectors. Makes technical and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Passed the House 95-0
Our Position: SUPPORT: The bill will better align state resources for the nearly 1/3 of Indiana's adults with no post-secondary education, as well as those with some college but no degree. For the majority of Indiana's adult students, working more than part-time is needed to go to school, whether as a part-time or full-time student. Re-shaping the state's current Part-Time Grant into an Adult Student Grant that provides incentives for adults to pursue study in priority economic sectors will both help those students complete degrees and credentials leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs and will also help close Indiana's skills gap.
  
HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Passed Tax a Fiscal Policy committee 8-5

Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (w
ith an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example: 
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century – down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states’ median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages – which are still declining - are down by about $0.80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 – 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands.  Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 – 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs.  Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.
SB 438: State and Local Tax Issues
Description: Amends the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices to: (1) restate the application of the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices; and (2) provide a sales tax exemption for food, food ingredients, and dietary supplements that are sold by a licensed practitioner or pharmacist. Amends the sales tax exemption for drugs, insulin, oxygen, blood, or blood plasma to restate the application of the sales tax exemption. Repeals the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients prescribed as medically necessary by a physician.
Last Action Taken: Amended bill passed Ways and Means committee 24-0 


HB 1349: Various Tax Matters
Description: Eliminates various adjustments to income for purposes of determining Indiana adjusted gross income. Eliminates various income tax exemptions, deductions, and credits. Provides that business income is all income apportionable to the state under the Constitution of the United States. Eliminates the taxation of income that is attributed to a state that does not have an income tax (the "throwback rule"). Provides that sales of a broadcaster that arise from the broadcast or other distribution of film programming or radio programming are in this state if the commercial domicile of the broadcaster's customer is in this state. Broadens the addback to Indiana adjusted gross income related to intercompany interest expenses. Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit. Provides for a tax amnesty program. Makes technical corrections and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Engrossed. Now is on third reading.

HB 1001: State Biennial Budget
Description: State biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes.
Last Action Taken: Amended bill passed Appropriations committee 8-3.
HB 1333: Higher Education Financial Assistance
Description: Provides that the commission for higher education: (1) may consider only the residency status of a student; and (2) may not consider the residency status of the student's parents or legal guardian even if the student is considered a dependent for purposes of federal or state financial aid; for purposes of eligibility for the National Guard tuition supplement program and the National Guard scholarship extension program.
Last Action Taken: Passed Appropriations committee 12-0


SB 465: FSSA Matters
Description: Makes multiple changes to the administration of the office of the secretary of family and social services. Repeals the step ahead comprehensive early childhood grant program. Makes changes in the manner that voter registration applications and declinations can be transferred. Removes language that provided an incentive payment to the offices of prosecuting attorneys for the investigation or prosecution of food stamp fraud. Repeals language concerning: (1) civil penalties for Medicaid fraud; and (2) public records reports of Medicaid recipients. Makes technical and conforming changes.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Public Health committee 13-0

Monday, April 13, 2015

Inside the Statehouse: Week 13













This week is make-or-break for legislation making its way through the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly, as it is the last week for committee hearings. Next week, conference committees will be formed to reconcile differences in legislation that has passed both chambers.

The Senate Appropriations committee calendar   does not yet include HB 1616 - a bill to smooth out the child care benefit-cliff. TAKE ACTION here by asking lawmakers to give this bill a hearing to remove this barrier to economic mobility. Remind them that this bipartisan bill sailed through two House committees, the full House and a Senate committee so far without a single vote against it.

A bill (
SB 441) to strengthen the state EITC by recoupling to the federal EITC- meaning larger families will receive the benefit and the marriage penalty will be eliminated - is on second reading in the House. The Commerce and Technology Committee will vote on SB 1601 dealing with workforce development matters, opening the door to increased cooperation between agencies on training programs for low income Hoosiers. And finally, despite still-declining household incomes and hourly wages, the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee will vote on HB 1019, a bill to repeal the common construction wage (see our opposition testimony from last week here).

As a reminder, legislative calendars are subject to change, so please check back for updates. Here is a complete list of all legislation affecting working families we are following. We'll send a separate email calling for specific action on legislation as necessary. For now, you can contact your legislator to support any of this week's activity here.


This Week
  
HB 1616: Eligibility for Child Care Voucher
Description: Provides that a child who is otherwise eligible for participation in the federal Child Care and Development Fund voucher program may continue to participate unless the child's family income exceeds 250% of the federal income poverty level.
Last Action Taken: The bill passed committee on Family & Children Services 7-0. Referred to Appropriations committee. The Institute testified in support of the bill.
Our Position: SUPPORT- The 'exit-level' threshold in the Childcare Development Fund (CCDF) design is responsible for the economic phenomenon known as the childcare
'cliff effect' - which occurs when a .50 increase in hourly wages leads to the complete termination of the benefit and a dramatic net loss of resources. This creates a disincentive towards economic mobility; a parent or guardian turns down the raise due to the prohibitive cost of childcare, or does accept the hard-earned increase but is now financially worse off. By reforming income thresholds in the childcare development fund, policymakers can restore the most basic incentive for hard work - a raise that results in an increase in net resources - and provide Hoosier families with a smooth landing into economic self-sufficiency. See our infographic video here.
Hearing Location & Time: Thursday April 9, 9AM, Room 431


HB 1601: Various Workforce Development Matters
Description: Reorganizes and recodifies the duties and programs of the department of workforce development (department). Allows the division of family resources and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning administering federal work requirements for public welfare programs. Permits the Indiana career council to meet only at the call of the chair rather than monthly. Repeals obsolete, expired, and superseded provisions. Updates cross-references and makes conforming and technical changes.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony was heard. No votes were taken.
Our Position: While most of this bill deals with technical corrections needed for the implementation of the new federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, two provisions are of consequence to us. First, we support and are encouraged by the provision allowing for a memorandum of understanding between DWD and FSSA for the purposes of the federal work requirements of public benefit programs. This indicates to us a movement toward greater access to the DWDs workforce training programs for Indiana's public benefit recipients. However, we oppose another provision of the bill which repeals a requirement to measure and report on Middle Skill Credentials. Reporting on these credentials regularly is crucial as Indiana tries to align workforce development and post-secondary resources and programs and tries to put Indiana on the path to realizing the Big Goal of 60% of Hoosiers with a post-secondary credential or degree by 2025.
Hearing Location & Time: Thursday April 9, Room 233. Vote only

SB 441: Various Tax Matters
Description: Uses the most recent Internal Revenue Code for determining the earned income tax credit.
Last Action Taken: Passed Committee on Ways and Means. On second reading in the House Chamber.
HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Tax a Fiscal Policy committee heard public testimony. The
Institute testified against the bill. No votes were taken
Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (with an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example: 
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century - down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states' median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages - which are still declining - are down by about .80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 - 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands. Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 - 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs. Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.
Hearing Location & Time: Tuesday April 7, 9AM, Room 431. Amend and vote


SB 438: State and Local Tax Issues
Description: Amends the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices to: (1) restate the application of the sales tax exemption for medical equipment, supplies, and devices; and (2) provide a sales tax exemption for food, food ingredients, and dietary supplements that are sold by a licensed practitioner or pharmacist. Amends the sales tax exemption for drugs, insulin, oxygen, blood, or blood plasma to restate the application of the sales tax exemption. Repeals the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients prescribed as medically necessary by a physician.
Last Action Taken: The Institute testified asking for an amendment to reinsert language regarding recoupling Indiana's state EITC to the Federal eligibility guideline. Public testimony was heard. No votes were taken.
Hearing Location & Time: Wednesday April 8, 1:30PM, Room 404. Amend and vote

HB 1001: State Biennial Budget
Description: State biennial budget. Appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions and purposes.
Last Action Taken: The Appropriations committee heard testimony. No votes were taken.
Hearing Location & Time: Thursday April 9, 9AM, Room 431


Last Week

HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Taken: Tax a Fiscal Policy committee heard public testimony.  The
Institute testified against the bill. No votes were taken
Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (w
ith an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example: 
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century – down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states’ median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages – which are still declining - are down by about $0.80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 – 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands.  Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 – 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs.  Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.

HB: 1613: Family and Social Services Administration
Description: Specifies that the secretary of family and social services, rather than certain division directors, is: (1) the appointing authority for divisions within the office of the secretary of family and social services (office of the secretary); (2) authorized to advise the governor concerning adopted rules; (3) authorized to adopt administrative rules; (4) authorized to enter into contracts for the office of the secretary; and (5) the authority for administering specified programs and grants.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 47-1

HB 1497: Reemployment services for unemployment recipients
Description: Reemployment services for unemployment recipients. Provides that certain individuals who have been determined by the department of workforce development to need reemployment services may be required to participate in certain additional services provided by the department of workforce development.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 45-3


 

 
Monday, April 6, 2015

Inside the Statehouse: Week 12











This week, despite  declining household incomes and hourly wages, the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee will hear HB 1019, a bill to repeal the common construction wage. 

As a reminder, legislative calendars are subject to change, so please check back for updates. Here is a complete list of all legislation affecting working families we are following. We'll send a separate email calling for specific action on legislation as necessary. For now, you can contact your legislator to support any of this week's activity here.


This Week
HB 1019: Common Construction Wage
Description: Repeals the common construction wage statute. Repeals related statutes superseded by the repeal of the common construction wage statute. Makes conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: First Reading: Referred to committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy
Our Position: Oppose: Construction, a mid wage industry (w
ith an average hourly wage of nearly $25 an hour) was one of the hardest hit industries during the recession, representing 38% of the mid wage jobs in the state from 2007 - 2013. This law would force a low-road wage-dive for highly skilled construction workers at a time when there is demand for skilled workers in Indiana and wages are still declining in Indiana. For example: 
->Median household income has been on the decline since the beginning of the century – down by nearly $8,000 since 2000, and still declining as of last count. Again, while all neighbor states’ median household incomes are growing, ours is still declining.
->Median hourly wages and 20th percentile wages – which are still declining - are down by about $0.80 each since 2007.
->Of the half-million jobs in the top three industries, 74% pay below $13.00 per hour.
->During the growth period from 2001 – 2007, Indiana netted only around 18,000 jobs, while the population grew by hundreds of thousands.  Only the low-wage category experienced a net gain (97% of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
->Or, since the recession started, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain. Of the jobs lost in mid-wage industries during the recession (2007 – 2010), 43% were manufacturing jobs and 38% were construction and contracting jobs.  Despite a strong comeback in manufacturing, both of these middle-class jobs are still well below pre-recession levels.
Hearing Location & Time: Tuesday March 31, 8AM, Room 431

Last Week

SB 509: Scholarships and Grants
Description: Scholarships and grants. Provides that at the end of each state fiscal year, the commission for higher education (commission) may order the auditor of state to transfer money among certain funds if the commission determines that the remaining appropriation in a particular fund could be used by eligible applicants for an award under one of the other funds in the following state fiscal year. Provides that the auditor of state shall make a transfer ordered by the commission. Renames the "part-time student grant" as the "adult student grant". Renames the "part-time student grant fund" as the "adult student grant fund". Establishes the economic priority sector fund (fund). Provides that the fund shall be used to provide graduation grants to certain applicants who earn a degree or certificate aligned with economic priority sectors. Makes technical and conforming amendments.
Last Action Taken: Amendment #5 passed the committee by constant. The amendment says a student who applies for a twenty-first century scholars program tuition scholarship must certify in writing that the student complied with certain requirements before the student's graduation from high school. The amended bill passed the Committee on Ways and Means 20-0
Our Position: SUPPORT: The bill will better align state resources for the nearly 1/3 of Indiana's adults with no post-secondary education, as well as those with some college but no degree. For the majority of Indiana's adult students, working more than part-time is needed to go to school, whether as a part-time or full-time student. Re-shaping the state's current Part-Time Grant into an Adult Student Grant that provides incentives for adults to pursue study in priority economic sectors will both help those students complete degrees and credentials leading to high-wage, high-demand jobs and will also help close Indiana's skills gap.

HB 1601: Various Workforce Development Matters
Description: Reorganizes and recodifies the duties and programs of the department of workforce development (department). Allows the division of family resources and the department to enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning administering federal work requirements for public welfare programs. Permits the Indiana career council to meet only at the call of the chair rather than monthly. Repeals obsolete, expired, and superseded provisions. Updates cross-references and makes conforming and technical changes.
Last Action Taken: Public testimony was heard. No votes were taken
Our Position: While most of this bill deals with technical corrections needed for the implementation of the new federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, two provisions are of consequence to us. First we support and are encouraged by the provision allowing for a memorandum of understanding between DWD and FSSA for the purposes of the federal work requirements of public benefit programs. This indicates to us a movement toward greater access to the DWDs workforce training programs for Indiana's public benefit recipients. However, we oppose another provision of the bill which repeals a requirement to measure and report on Middle Skill Credentials. Reporting on these credentials regularly is crucial as Indiana tries to align workforce development and post-secondary resources and programs and tries to put Indiana on the path to realizing the Big Goal of 60% of Hoosiers with a post-secondary credential or degree by 2025.

 
HB: 1613: Family and Social Services Administration
Description: Specifies that the secretary of family and social services, rather than certain division directors, is: (1) the appointing authority for divisions within the office of the secretary of family and social services (office of the secretary); (2) authorized to advise the governor concerning adopted rules; (3) authorized to adopt administrative rules; (4) authorized to enter into contracts for the office of the secretary; and (5) the authority for administering specified programs and grants.
Last Action Taken: Passed committee on Family & Children Services 6-0

HB 1469: Wage Payment and Wage Assignment
Description: Wage payment and wage assignment. Provides that an employer who fails to make timely payment of wages or withholds wages in bad faith, may, in addition to the wages due, pay liquidated damages, court costs, and a reasonable fee for the employee's attorney. Provides that an employee may assign wages for: (1) the purchase, rental, or use of uniforms or equipment necessary to fulfill the duties of employment; (2) reimbursement for education or employee skills training; (3) an advance for payroll or vacation pay; and (4) meals eaten by the employee at a location provided by the employer.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 32-18

HB 1438: Adult high schools
Description: Provides that the department of education shall distribute funding for adult high schools to the adult high school's organizer. Provides that an adult high school may be authorized by the executive of a consolidated city.
Last Action Taken: Passed the Senate 48-1
HB 1186: Unemployment Insurance
Description: Provides that any part of an unemployment insurance surcharge not used to pay interest on the advances made to the state from the federal unemployment trust fund must be credited against the total amount of benefits charged to the state's unemployment insurance trust fund before determining each employer's share of those benefits.
Last Action Taken: Passed Senate 39-10 change so please check back for updates. 


Monday, March 30, 2015

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