The 2018 regular session of the Indiana General Assembly concluded on March 14, 2018, and the one-day special session called by the governor took place on May 14. During both of these sessions, many important pieces of legislation were approved, signed into law by the governor, and went into effect on July 1, 2018. Below is a short list of bills that became law in Indiana at the beginning of July. For a full list of items that have been enacted, click here.

Senate Enrolled Act 91-Release of Adoption Records
A bill signed into law in 2016 went into effect this July. For many years, numerous individuals who were adopted, did not have access to certain adoption records. Now a procedure is in place where birth mothers can release identifying information outright, with restrictions, or bar the release of records altogether.

House Enrolled Act 1191-Reporting of Human Trafficking
A law passed in 2017 mandated medical professionals to report suspected victims of human trafficking to law enforcement officers. Medical providers and policy-makers realized that victims of human trafficking just stopped going to the doctor when medical attention was needed. Under the provisions of HEA 1191, medical professionals will now only need to provide information about how to seek help for suspected victims.

Senate Enrolled Act 50-Career and Technical Education
The alignment of employer needs with the skills of the state’s workforce is a goal for policymakers at all levels of government. Under provisions laid out in Senate Enrolled Act 50, the State of Indiana has created a cabinet of professionals and policymakers to work across agencies to create education and training programs to meet the needs of employers in the state.

House Enrolled Act 1359-Drug Dealing Resulting in Death
On July 1, penalties increased for drug dealers if their product causes an overdose leading to death.

Senate Bill 52 Cannabidiol (CBD) Updates
The use of low THC extract CBD oil was reaffirmed in the State of Indiana, after the Attorney General wrote an opinion that questioned the legality of CBD sales in the state in late 2017. The legislation that went into effect this month also specifies label requirements for those selling the product to ensure safety and adherence to the new law.

Senate Enrolled Act 158-Banning of Eyeball Tattoos
Scleral tattooing, or the process of tattooing the whites of the eyes has been outlawed in Indiana. Testimony from medical professionals during session cited the dangers of infection and loss of sight due to botched procedures and infection.

Senate Enrolled Act 123-Baby Box Expansion
Newborn Safety Devices, also known as “baby boxes,” have been permitted at certain fire stations for a number of years. Senate Enrolled Act 123, from the 2018 session, permits the expansion of baby boxes to more facilities allowing mothers to safely and discreetly surrender their child.

House Enrolled Act 1119-Health Care Decision-Making for Family Members
A new law that took effect on July 1, 2018, creates a hierarchy of family members, as well as others with close contact to an individual, to make certain medical decisions for an individual who is incapacitated.

Senate Enrolled Act 257-Sales Tax on Software
Senate Enrolled Act 257, that went into effect on July 1, exempts certain computer software from Indiana’s sales tax. The new law specifies if the software is accessed remotely, and no physical product is exchanged, no transactions have taken place and therefore no sales tax can be levied.

Senate Enrolled Act 24 – Student Possession and Use of Sunscreen
Before July 1, students were not allowed to carry their own sunscreen in schools and instead had to keep their sun lotion in the nurse’s office. The new law allows students to possess their own sunscreen without having to submit it to a school nurse.

Senate Enrolled Act 266 – Motor Vehicle Safety
If you have colored headlights, you will need to change those out for white or amber lights according to certain provisions in a new state law that went into effect July 1.

House Enrolled Act 1426 – Education Matters
A new education law creating a single diploma structure will align Indiana with federal calculations for graduation rates. The General Assembly addressed this topic because the current structure could potentially lead to large drops in schools’ graduation rates. With this new structure, students will still be able to add distinctions to their diplomas for different academic tracks with the new system, like Core 40, academic or technical honors. The new diploma structure also takes into consideration students with severe cognitive disabilities by creating an alternate diploma.

Senate Enrolled Act 65 – Instruction of Human Sexuality
A bill that nearly prohibited schools from teaching sex education without parental consent now will give parents 21 days to sign a consent form before they are sent a second notice. 10 days after a second notice is sent with no response, the student is automatically included in sex education instruction. If parents do not consent to the instruction, students will be prohibited from being in a classroom when the topic of instruction is human sexuality. 

Senate Enrolled Act 271 – Dyslexia
All school districts will now have to have a trained specialist to provide dyslexia screenings to all students in an effort to catch dyslexia at a younger age and to better accommodate students with the reading disability.

House Enrolled Act 1233 – Environmental Management Matters
A portion of a new state law will allow property owners to mark trees on their land with purple paint to signify that trespassers are not allowed. Incidentally, if you see purple paint, beware that this marks private property and you should not continue past that point.