Cass County lawmakers highlight several new laws effective July 1

Notable changes support Hoosier teachers, farmers & public safety officers

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Tuesday, July 14, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 14, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, Cass County lawmakers said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, farmers and public safety officers.

"State lawmakers took a hard look at issues important to Hoosiers and worked diligently during the 2020 legislative session to pass bills to meet constituents' needs," said State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston). "New laws took effect this month support teachers and schools, assist farmers and do more for public safety officers who protect our communities."

Here's a look at notable new laws Cass County leaders said Hoosiers should know about:

Teachers, Students and Schools

Lehe 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 trainings 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.

He 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.

Farmers and Rural Communities

Senate Enrolled Act 184, sponsored by State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver), allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. He 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.

"Farming is a physically demanding profession, and remaining healthy is key to being able to succeed," Manning said. "Farmers need affordable health care options, and with costs continuing to skyrocket, we know many are choosing to not seek treatment or leaving the industry to get affordable health care."

To support rural communities, House Enrolled Act 1370 allows cities and towns to band together and enter into regional land banks to acquire tax-delinquent and blighted properties to restore them.

Public Safety Officers

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) said because public safety officers risk their lives to keep the community safe, he co-authored House Enrolled Act 1063 to help ease some of the financial burdens faced by families at a time of loss by increasing their death benefits from $150,000 to $225,000.

"Our firefighters and police officers head to work every day to protect our communities knowing there is a chance they will not come home," VanNatter said. "Losing a loved one is a tragedy, and this new law can do more to help their families during a heartbreaking time." 

For more information on these and other new laws effective July 1, visit



State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
here for a high-resolution photo.  

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23,

which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38,

which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.