As the 2019 Legislative Session has ended, we wanted to share some of our final reviews of key legislation we tracked this year. Each year we compile a scorecard with key legislation to access the support of our legislators on labor issues. Below are brief summaries of bills included in the 2019 Legislative Scorecard and the 2019 Scorecards.
HB1001 - Budget Education Funding & South Shore Board
The state budget appropriates money for capital expenditures, the operation of the state, K-12 and higher education, the delivery of Medicaid and other services, and various other distributions. There were two major impacts to labor in this year’s budget. The first was a 2.5 percent statewide average tuition support increase. The increase is on total tuition support to schools, not on teacher salaries. It’s important that voters hear that voucher funding will increase at an estimated $25M over the two-year budget, that Scholarship Granting Organization tax credits will go up first to $15M then $16.5M. AFT Indiana recommended a 4% increase in funding to begin making some headway in sorely lagging teacher salaries. AFT Indiana opposed the bill. In addition, this bill also eliminates a union position (SMART-TD) on the South Shore Board. See House roll call #657 and Senate roll call #625.
HB1002 - Career & Technical Education
We support the idea of increased technical training in high schools but language was added late in the process that requires work-based learning in high schools be paid “or meaningful” which is problematic. CTE programs are supposed to incentivize high school students to go into the Building Trades, NOT to potentially provide free labor to bad actors. With the additional language we opposed the bill. See House roll call #601 and Senate roll call #581.
HB1003 – School Expenditure Targets
The bill establishes “target” goals of 85% to Education and 15% to Operations. Many schools already fall within those ranges, however some salaries for school personnel come from Operations. AFT Indiana opposed the bill because we believe in local control; these determinations are best made at a bargaining table. In the House, Rep. DeLaney offered an amendment that would have provided an incentive teacher pay grant to corporations that provided a beginning teacher salary of $40,000. The amendment was defeated and we stand opposed to the bill. See House roll call #597 and Senate roll call #574.
HB1062 - Unemployment Insurance Matters
This bill made numerous tweaks to Indiana’s Unemployment law including the elimination of a mail option to claimants and changing the appeal process for seasonal determinations. We opposed this bill and scored are reflected in the House of Representatives scorecard. See House roll call #536.
HB1062 - Amendment for Option of Paper for UI Notices
Rep. Lisa Beck added this beneficial amendment to allow the option for paper UI mailings. It failed but we used it to influence the score on the House Scorecard. See House roll call #1062.
HB1170 - Public Safety Officer Contract Negotiations
Requires a county, city, town, or township (unit) that does not have a procedure for resolution of an impasse in contract negotiations through alternative dispute resolution with an employee organization for the unit's police or fire department employees, to include in a written agreement entered into with the employee organization with certain guidelines. We supported this bill and it passed nearly unanimously. See House roll call #22 and Senate roll call #342.
HB1182 - Reduction of Agreed Upon Death Benefit
We were in support of this bill as it increased the Increases the maximum amount of burial expenses that an employer must pay under the worker's compensation act for the burial expenses of a covered employee who dies from an injury by an accident arising out of the employee's employment from $7,500 to $12,500. It was then decreased from $12,500 to $10,000 and we opposed that change. See House roll call #412.
HB1341 - Civil Penalties for Safety Violations
This bill creates a new civil penalty for certain occupational safety and health violations. This bill can fine company’s up to $132,598 for safety violations that contribute to a fatality. The bill could increase state revenues depending on the number of civil penalties the Commissioner of Labor assesses on employers that knowingly violate any standard, rule, or order where the violation can reasonably be determined to have contributed to the death of an employee. We supported the bill and thank Rep. Carbaugh for fighting for Shecara Hogue and introducing legislation that holds company’s responsible. See House roll call #453 and Senate roll call #376.
HB1660 - Design Build Construction Projects
This public works study bill explored third tier contractors on public works projects not having to be trained through a certified BAT apprenticeship program. The bill was amended in the Senate to send it to a summer study committee, which we supported. The House dissented on the Senate version and the bill ultimately died for lack of a conference committee report. See House roll call #145 and Senate #381.
HB1660 – Amendment for Additional Transparency in Design Build Process
Rep. Beck tried to add this good amendment, but it failed. See House roll call #125.
Work zones study. Urges the legislative council to assign to an appropriate interim study committee the task of studying the use of automated traffic control systems in work zones. We support this bill and it was sent to summer study. See House roll call #454 and Senate roll call #185.
SB390 - School Representation Fines and Collective Bargaining
In her annual attack on teacher unions, Sen. Houchin brought this bill having two teachers from the same district alleging harassment and bullying by their local and state union representatives because they wanted to disaffiliate. This bill would add civil penalties where a teacher’s union could be fined for unfair practices, it was amended to include employers as well. AFT Indiana opposed this bill from start to finish. See Senate roll call #583 and House roll call #619.
SB442 - Terre Haute Carbon Capture Pilot Program
This bill declares the underground storage of carbon dioxide to be a public use and service, in the public interest, and a benefit to the welfare and people of Indiana. Authorizes the establishment of a carbon sequestration pilot project that will capture carbon dioxide at a proposed ammonia production facility in West Terre Haute. We support this bill as it will create many jobs for the Wabash Valley area. See House roll call #596 and Senate roll call #571.
SB496 - Voluntary Family Leave Insurance Program
Requires the department of insurance to develop a proposal for a voluntary family leave program. We supported this bill as a step in the right direction to address family leave. The bill passed the Senate but failed to receive a hearing in the House. See Senate roll call #145.