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Legislative Update for March 2015 by John Radcliffe

There have been 197 bills introduced in the 2015 Legislative Session that have to do with the University system, UHPA, or related subjects.

Of those, many have had to do with some aspect of the University that makes someone upset about something.  Some have to do with other more mundane subjects.  However, the main thing for our members to understand is that many of these legislative proposals are intended to  “send a message” to UH officials.  Of the 197 bills introduced (a lot for a single agency of government) 176 are already dead for this Session.  They are still “out there,”  they do not really die until the end of the 2016 Session, but for right now, they will have served their purposes.  in that  the “message has been sent.”

The message is, generally, “Shape up!”

There are 21 bills remaining:

  • HB 475 Appropriates money for positions and material to comply with Title IX and the Violence Against Women  Act.
  • SB 387 Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University’s  executive  policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
  • SB 546 Requires UH to provide nonsupervisory employees in blue collar jobs with the same educational benefits provided to faculty.
  • SB 1208 Authorizes the ERS Board to hold closed door meetings to discuss matters.
  • HB 1356 Establishes a rate stabilization fund that will cap employer contributions to the EUTF on the unfunded liability once the balance of the fund reaches $2 billion.
  • HB 543  Requires the State Auditor to audit faculty workload one year prior to the  expiration of the UHPA contract.
  • HB 553 Establishes a UH graduate assistant collective bargaining unit.
  • SB 638 Also establishes a UH graduate assistant collective bargaining unit.
  • HB 285  Establishes a JABSOM scholarship program for MD’s in exchange for five years of state service.
  • HB 354 Requires licensed registered nurses and practical nurses to submit evidence of completed continuing competency requirements.
  • HB 493 Appropriates funds for a permanent, full-time faculty position within the UH Center for Aging.
  • HB 540 Extends sunset provisions with respect to UH accounting and fiscal management.
  • HB 541 Requires each UH campus to prepare an operations plan relative to Tuition and fees.
  • HB 544 Requires BOR to study the feasibility of selling or leasing the UH Cancer Center.
  • HB 547 Directs the UH to explore administrative   that will increase on-time graduation.
  • HB 1509 Requires UH to  establish a goal to become net-zero energy efficient by 2035.
  • SB 160 Requires UH  to transfer various unencumbered special fund balances to the state’s general fund.
  • SB 262  Continues the Nursing Facility Sustainability Program
  • SB 314 Appropriates money for CTHAR Extension Service
  • SB 1144 Clarifies that the State Ethics Code shall not apply to faculty and others engaged in technology transfer activities.
  • SB 1146 Requires the UH BOR to submit program reports to the Legislature quarterly. Extends the UH authority for independent management for an additional year.