New State Laws in Indiana
The 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly concluded on April 24, 2019. During this time, many prominent pieces of legislation were approved and signed into law by Governor Holcomb. Many of these laws will go into effect on July 1, 2019. Below is a short list of bills that will become law in Indiana beginning this July.
During the 2019 legislative session, legislators were made aware of the danger that children are put in when crossing the road to board a school bus. After a devastating tragedy that killed three young children on October 30, 2018 in Fulton County, the Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 2 was drafted to create new safety provisions for school buses and their drivers. SB 2 also developed new punishments for those who do not stop for a school bus. This new bill will increase safety measures of all students in Indiana.
Beginning July 1, a juvenile detention facility must provide school supplies for children who have been detained under SEA 29. A child whose actions placed them in a juvenile facility has the right to a high quality education.
Upgrading the standard for mental and physical health programs has been a priority of the legislature for many years. During this session, SEA 111 was approved to provide and promote grant programs for individuals who have substance abuse.
In a world that is increasingly relying on technology, it is important that our laws be fully equipped to provide a pathway to justice concerning online activity. SB192 provides protections for individuals who have been victims of nonconsensual pornography by creating a civil cause of action against a person who discloses an intimate image without the consent of the individual depicted in the intimate image. SB192 establishes criteria to be used by the trier of fact in determining damages as well as liability issues regarding interactive computer services.
As of July 1, Indiana law will now include nurses, physicians’ assistants, and pharmacists in the prohibition from being required to perform an abortion. This prohibition also allows these individuals to refuse to assist or participate in procedures intended to result in an abortion if the health care provider objects to the procedures on ethical, moral, or religious grounds. Furthermore, SB201 allows certain medical providers to refuse to prescribe, administer, or dispense an abortion-inducing drug.
Indiana’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the United States. This session Senator Jean Breaux fought for SB416, which allows doula services to be reimbursed by Medicaid. This is a positive step in line with Governor Holcomb’s goal to lower Indiana’s infant mortality rate.
On July 1 of 2019, new protections for animals will go into effect. Not only does SB474 define “animal abuse offense” and “companion animal”, but it also establishes as a mandatory condition of probation and parole that a person convicted of an animal abuse offense may not own, harbor, or train a companion animal. This measure will ensure animals stay away from dangerous individuals.
This session, State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) authored a bill to supplement the healthcare options for Hoosiers who rely on emergency services. By creating an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) paramedicine program, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 498 will allow paramedics to be reimbursed by Medicaid for primary care they give to patients. Medics already have the knowledge and capability to treat these patients in their own homes for routine care. SEA 498 will help keep Hoosiers from falling through the cracks when it comes to their healthcare.
Ensuring the safety of Hoosier students is one of the most important priorities. This session, SB632 was passed which requires the state department of health to distribute a manual of best practices for managing indoor air quality at schools, including recommendations for radon testing. These manuals will be distributed to the legislative council, the department of education, the facilities manager and superintendent of each school corporation, and the chief administrative officer of each accredited nonpublic school.
As of July 1, Hoosiers will be able to experience the new gaming privileges that were created by HEA 1015. Sports wagering is one of the new items included in the legislature’s latest gaming bill, something many Hoosiers have been looking forward to participating in. The economic development project in Gary, Indiana was also made possible by the passage of HEA 1015.
Indiana’s unemployment rate sits at about 3.6 percent. The House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1062, which makes several changes to the unemployment compensation law. HEA 1062 will create a friendlier environment for those who are unemployed in Indiana and is an attempt to lower Indiana’s unemployment rate.
HB1284 contains many important changes to Indiana law concerning carrying a firearm. First, HB1284 allows a person who legally possesses a firearm to possess a firearm on school property if that person is an employee or volunteer of a house of worship located on the school property. This also permits someone who legally possesses a firearm to do so while attending a worship service or religious ceremony conducted at a house of worship. Secondly, HB1284 provides immunity for the justified use of force in certain instances. It will require a court to award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to a defendant when the justified use of force immunity is successfully raised.
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cells disorders. HB1354 establishes many needed improvements for Indiana to better address the needs of those affected by Sickle cell disease. This bill will require the state department of health to assist in the development and expansion of care for the treatment of individuals with sickle cell disease. It also requires the department to develop program eligibility standards and provide financial assistance to individuals with sickle cell disease for specified treatments. HB1354 establishes the sickle cell chronic disease fund and specifies that in awarding grants under the program, the state department shall give priority to establishing sickle cell disease centers in underserved areas with a higher population of individuals with sickle cell disease. Additionally, the state department of health will be required to provide the general assembly a biennial study of information concerning sickle cell disease in Indiana.