OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5279 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

SUMMARY:

This bill eliminates a requirement that public higher education institutions advertise, in hard copy publications, bidding opportunities for goods and services expected to cost more than $ 50,000. It retains a requirement that such opportunities be posted online. Under current law, institutions must advertise the opportunities at least once in two or more hard copy publications, one of which must be a major daily Connecticut newspaper.

The bill requires annual, rather than semiannual, internal audits of public higher education institutions' compliance with their faculty consulting policies adopted under the State Code of Ethics for Public Officials. By law, the policies must address (1) the appropriate use of the institutions' proprietary information, (2) conflicts of interest, and (3) the appropriate use of a faculty member's association with the institution.

The bill eliminates a requirement that an independent auditor verify the book values of certain UConn Health Center (UCHC) accounts receivables that are estimated as collectible. These accounts include (1) John Dempsey Hospital and its clinical programs at UCHC and (2) UCHC's university physicians' clinical operations. The bill instead allows the state auditors to verify these book values at the comptroller's request. It also removes obsolete language concerning Uncas-on-Thames Hospital. By law, UConn must report the book values quarterly to the comptroller, who can approve expenditures against these values.

Under current law, UConn is entitled to (1) own or participate in the ownership of and (2) place in its research foundation's custody, inventions created by its employees under certain conditions. The employee inventor must assign to the university his or her rights, title, and interest in an invention. The bill instead specifies that UConn automatically owns or participates in the ownership of and is entitled to custody of these inventions. The requirement applies to inventions conceived by UConn employees solely, jointly, or with non-employees (1) in performance of their customary or assigned duties; (2) that emerge from any research, development, or other university program; or (3) conceived or developed at UConn's expense or with the aid of its equipment, facilities, or personnel. Under the bill, for such inventions developed by university employees, the entire right, title, and interest in the invention automatically vest to UConn. For inventions in which employees collaborated with non-employees, the employees' disposable interests automatically vest with UConn.

Lastly, the bill eliminates requirements that UConn (1) submit its mission statement to the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) for review and approval; (2) recommend institutional or campus mergers or closures to BOR, and it eliminates BOR's authority over UConn with respect to mergers and closures; and (3) submit a quarterly report to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) through BOR on the actual expenditures of the UConn and UConn Health Center operating funds. In this last case, it instead requires UConn to submit this report directly to OPM.

*House Amendment “A” adds the provisions concerning UConn's relationship to BOR, removes obsolete language, and makes technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

COMMITTEE ACTION

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

19

Nay

0

(03/06/2012)