(STATEHOUSE) - State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) proposed several bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved by the General Assembly and several have already been signed into law.
Most new laws become effective July 1, 2013. Included in his legislative initiatives this session were bills aimed at improving loan accessibility and midwifery certification.
Co-authored by Sen. Stoops, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 532 expands higher education loan options for Indiana students. The act allows the Indiana Secondary Market (ISM) to make post-secondary education loans directly available to students attending both Indiana and non-Indiana universities. In addition, SEA 532 makes changes to ISM committee meetings, such as repealing a provision requiring telephone conferences, and removing the Secondary Market Sale Fund.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1135, co-sponsored by Sen. Stoops, permits professional midwives to be certified in Indiana. The act establishes qualifications and licensure procedures for certified direct entry midwives, as well as a midwifery board to create education requirements, develop peer review processes and adopt liability insurance rules. In addition, local health officials will be required to make a permanent recording of a person in attendance at a birth. HEA 1135 requires practicing midwives to have earned at least an associate's degree and be supervised by a physician for at least 20 child births.
Sen. Stoops co-authored SEA 125, which develops and improves Indiana's system for child protection services. The act creates the Commission on Improving the Status of Children to study issues, review legislation and work with other groups concerning vulnerable children. In addition, SEA 125 creates an oversight committee to review data from the Department of Child Services in order to make recommendations and submit an annual report to the commission. A local child fatality review team will be established in every Indiana county to review the circumstances involving child deaths, which will be compiled and analyzed by a statewide committee.
Sen. Stoops also supported SEA 494, legislation that will protect Hoosier ratepayers from possible rate hikes due to a proposed $2.8 billion gas plant in Rockport, Indiana. The act requires the Indiana Finance Authority to submit certain contracts and agreements regarding the Rockport plant to the Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) for review. The act specifies that if a certified appellate opinion does not affirm the 2011 order in its entirety, the IURC shall, after notice and hearing, approve, reject or require the modification of a purchase contract if in the public interest. Among other provisions, the act also requires the IURC to study the sales price of natural gas and report the study results to the General Assembly by November 30, 2013.
Sen. Stoops represents Indiana Senate District 40, which includes portions of Monroe County, including the City of Bloomington. For more information on Sen. Stoops, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S40.
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