As the new year begins, so does the Legislative Session. January 3, 2019 is the first day that the Indiana General Assembly convenes to draft and modify laws. Because 2019 ends in an odd number, this year is a long Legislative Session that must pass an Appropriations Bill which includes a budget for the state.
During the Legislative Session, the General Assembly introduces bills that may become laws. Before becoming a law, the bills must pass a series of requirements and deadlines. First, all bills must be filed in the Indiana House or Senate prior to January 10, 2019. After the filing deadline, the bills move to committees and are read three times on the floor of the chamber which introduced the bill. During committees and readings on the floor, the bills may be debated and amended. After each reading on the chamber floor, the House or Senate votes on whether the bill should move on or go to another committee. If a bill does not pass one of the three “Reading Deadlines,” then it is considered to be “dead.” The third Reading Deadline for the House is February 25, 2019, and the third Reading Deadline for the Senate is February 26, 2019. Though several hundred bills will be introduced, many will not make it past this third Reading Deadline.
If a bill is read three times in the chamber in which it originates, it then moves to the opposite chamber and repeats the process of going to committee and being read on the chamber floor. For all bills that move chambers, the third Reading Deadline is April 15, 2019 for the Senate and April 16, 2019 for the House. Once a bill survives all Reading Deadlines in the House and Senate, it moves to conference committee if it has been amended. A conference committee is composed of House and Senate members who meet to reconcile the differences in legislation that has passed both chambers. During conference committees, many bills are changed and language from previously dead bills may be added. Identical bills must be passed by both the House and the Senate no later than April 29, 2019, the date that the 2019 General Assembly must adjourn Sine Die. Any bills that have not passed the House and Senate by that date are considered dead.
After both chambers pass a bill, it becomes an “enrolled act” and moves to the Governor’s desk. The Governor may sign the enrolled act into law, allow the enrolled act to become law without his signature by letting it sit for seven days, or veto the enrolled act. The Governor likely will present his own goals and priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session during his State of the State address on January 15, 2019.
As this Legislation Session is a budget year, it is expected that many bills will be introduced that will affect education and school funding. Though yesterday was the first day the General Assembly met, there are already several bills that have been introduced. Bills of note include:
- Senate Bill 116: Polling locations in schools – prohibits elementary or secondary schools from being designated as a polling place, satellite office, or vote center;
- Senate Bill 189: Emergency communication disorder permits – allows the Department of Education to issue an emergency communication disorder permit;
- Senate Bill 207: Probation - Provides that a court must require, as a condition of probation, that an offender against children not reside within 1,000 feet of a school; and
- Senate Bill 219: Statute of limitations - Extends the statute of limitations for a civil cause of action against a person or entity whose negligent or intentional act or omission led to the sexual abuse of a child.
Additional bills will continue to be introduced until the filing deadline of January 10, 2019. Lewis Kappes education attorneys will continue to track bills that affect schools and provide additional client alerts throughout the 2019 Legislative Session. Please contact us if you would like discuss your concerns regarding any issues introduced or left out of bills introduced by the Indiana General Assembly.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.