STATEHOUSE (July 7, 2020) – With many new laws effective this month, Hendricks County legislators said several important changes support Hoosier teachers, patients and farmers.
"Many Hoosiers are rightfully concerned about having access to affordable health care with transparent costs, as well as ensuring our teachers are supported so students get the best education possible," said State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton). "These new laws address many of those concerns, and will make our state an even better place to live."
Here's a look at notable new laws Hoosiers should know about:
Teachers, Students and Schools
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.
To help cut red tape, Thompson co-authored House Enrolled Act 1003, which went into effect earlier this year, allowing 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.
Thompson said House Enrolled Act 1283 supports students with mental health issues, including those involved in bullying, and experiencing behavioral problems or physical illnesses. He co-authored the new law to ensure 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.
Behning, chair of the House Education Committee, authored House Enrolled Act 1419 to ensure students are prepared for life after high school, whether they further their education or immediately enter the workforce. He said the new law expands the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet membership to include leaders from the education and manufacturing fields to improve and streamline Indiana’s efforts to skill-up the state’s workforce.
"Indiana continues to be one of the best states in the country for businesses to set up shop and create jobs," Behning said. "To maintain our reputation as the best state in the Midwest to do business, Hoosiers must have the needed skills to fill these positions. The Governor's Workforce Cabinet works to ensure our efforts at every level are aligned, so job seekers can hit the ground running when they find employment."
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.
"Steps were taken to assure Hoosier health care consumers no longer receive a surprise bill," said State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon). "When reviewing the health care plans, in-network benefits are usually less expensive than out-of-network costs. Hoosiers seeking medical care should know what service is covered by their network provider or not."
In addition, Steuerwald said Senate Enrolled Act 5 requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online, and a new HIPAA-compliant database of all health insurance claims will empower consumers by providing information about costs.
Farmers and Rural Communities
Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to its members. While not health insurance, the plan will 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.
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.
For more information on these and other new laws effective this month, visit iga.in.gov.