Many new laws affecting Hoosiers start July 1

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Many new laws are set to take effect on July 1 and several changes support teachers, patients, military families and farmers. It was an honor for me to meet with constituents in our community and work on legislation to make Indiana better. From removing burdensome regulations to stopping surprise medical billing, here is a look at some notable new laws:

Teachers, Students and Schools
More local control allows individual school districts the ability to determine how teacher should be evaluated and if student standardized test scores should be used. I co-authored House Enrolled Act 1002 so that student test results from state-mandated tests like ILEARN, will no longer be required to be part of teachers' performance evaluations. Hopefully this will reduce the pressure educators often feel to teach to the test and, as a result, make teaching more attractive as a career.

Hoosier Patients
When considering big purchases or investments, consumers comparison shop to ensure they are getting the best quality and service. Over the next year, the same option will be available for health care services with the creation of an all-payer claims database through Senate Enrolled Act 5. This database requires hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and urgent care clinics to publish their average prices online.

Military Families
Many military families often find themselves moving frequently due to their jobs and sometimes this can interrupt a child's education. I co-authored House Enrolled Act 1091 allowing military families to enroll their children in K-12 schools before moving to Indiana. In addition, the two-year residency requirement to receive in-state college tuition rates is also waived for students and spouses of military personnel.

Farmers and Rural Communities
Senate Enrolled Act 184 allows the Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefit plan to its members. While this plan is not health insurance, it can provide similar benefits to help farmers who have limited access to affordable health care options. As vice chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, I strongly supported this legislation to benefit farmers, their families and communities.

To support rural communities, I sponsored Senate Enrolled Act 343 expanding the services broadband providers offer consumers to include internet. Approximately 93,000 Hoosiers do not have broadband internet access, and as school officials are considering remote learning in case of a coronavirus outbreak, reliable internet is crucial.      

These laws and several others are effective July 1. For more information, visit iga.in.gov. Please continue reaching out to me at h74@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9802 with ideas and input on policy changes benefiting Indiana. Together, we can continue making our community and state the best it can be.

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State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.