(STATEHOUSE) – With many new laws effective July 1, State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) said several important changes support Hoosier children and rural communities.
“This past legislative session, I worked on important issues like helping to further ensure children’s safety and provide smaller communities a tool for redevelopment,” May said. “Along with legislation supporting schools and addressing health care costs, these laws provide essential support and reform that benefit all Indiana residents.”
Here’s a look at notable new laws May said Hoosiers should know about:
May authored House Enrolled Act 1264 requiring child care facility employees and volunteers to undergo national criminal history background checks. He said this closes a loophole so that everyone, not just those with direct contact with children, is vetted for criminal history.
Under House Enrolled Act 1370, authored by May, nearby cities and counties can band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them. Forming regional land banks helps rural areas boost their economies, create additional housing options while removing hazardous buildings, and stabilize property values.
Teachers, Students and Schools
May said as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, standardized test scores will no longer be required to be a part of teacher performance evaluations. He said this should reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career. To help cut red tape, House Enrolled Act 1003 went into effect earlier this year to allow the State Board of Education to streamline the timing and frequency of required teacher training and grant waivers for schools to bypass over 1,500 regulations. As Indiana continues to transition to the new ILEARN exam, lawmakers passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 so that school accountability grades cannot be negatively impacted by student scores for two years.
May said House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. The new law ensures aspiring educators receive training on best practices to recognize students’ behavioral reactions to trauma so they can address these issues in their classrooms with increased understanding and insight.
Under House Enrolled Act 1004, patients will be protected from receiving surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers, and, in the case of an elective procedure, the patient will have the right to receive an upfront, good-faith estimate of expected charges. In addition, Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and May said a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about cost and quality.
Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. May said this plan is not health insurance but would provide similar benefits to help many farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented similar programs through their Farm Bureaus.
For more information on these and other new laws effective July 1, visit iga.in.gov.