Several Banks’ bills in state senate get approval and move on in process

Several pieces of legislation authored by State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, have been approved by the Senate on Feb. 19.

Senate Bill 177, approved on Feb. 19, would allow certain veterans to qualify for in-state tuition rates upon enrolling in one of Indiana's state colleges or universities.

Currently, veterans serving out of state or overseas can lose their in-state tuition eligibility upon returning to Indiana.

Under Banks' bill, applicants would qualify regardless of whether they are from Indiana or have lived here long enough to meet the school's residency requirements.

To qualify for the proposed tuition benefit, veterans would be required to enroll in a state college or university no later than 12 months after their discharge or separation from the armed forces. They would then have to take steps to establish Indiana residency within 12 months of enrollment.

Three higher education reform bills authored Banks also passed the Senate on Feb. 19.

The bills are intended to make Indiana's higher education system more efficient and accountable.

Senate Bill 98 requires state leaders to study issues related to regional campus governance.

Senate Bill 180 improves transparency in higher education grading and employment practices.
Senate Bill 406 establishes a streamlined program for administering college-level classes to high school students for dual credit.

Legislation to protect the constitutional rights of Hoosiers passed out of the Senate on Feb. 21 by a vote of 31-17.

Senate Bill 400, referred to as the Prohibition on Aiding the Enforcement of Unconstitutional Laws Act, prevents state officials from helping with the implementation of federal laws that do not protect citizens' due process rights, such as the indefinite detention of an Indiana citizen. If a state official intentionally carries out or assists in the implementation of such an act, the bill would make him or her guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

The bills will go to the House of Representatives for further consideration.