[r31] Mahan Messenger: Stay informed, know your new laws (7/25/2011)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Start Date: 7/25/2011 All Day
End Date: 7/25/2011
I hope that you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. Hopefully you got as much sun and family time as you could. The beginning of July not only marks our country's founding, but it also marks a time when many new state laws go into effect.

Those laws include an array of issues from who to card when purchasing alcohol to banning texting while driving to vote centers. There are many other laws that have gone into effect, but I will highlight just a few below.

Before I was elected, the legislature tried to tackle underage drinking by requiring everyone purchasing alcohol to be carded. However, some Hoosiers weren't so pleased. Starting July 1, cashiers will only be required to card individuals who appear to be less than 40 years old. We will still be able to prevent minors from purchasing alcohol, while also taking a common sense approach for our older Hoosiers.

Next on the list were two bans we implemented to ensure the safety of all Hoosiers. We banned the possession of "Spice" and texting or emailing while driving.

Indiana has seen an unfortunate increase in demand for a synthetic drug known as K2 or Spice, a substance that mimics marijuana, which was sold at local convenience stores. Now, those that possess or deal in this substance will be treated with the same regard as those who possess or deal marijuana. In addition to these substances, there are 25 other substances that have also been banned.

Studies have shown an increase in car accidents due to driver's texting or emailing while driving a motor vehicle. In fact, they are 23 times more likely to cause an accident. To make our streets and highways safer, we passed legislation to ban texting and emailing while driving-the 31st state to do so. Technology will keep improving, but it's our responsibility to ensure laws improve with it. 

On a different note, we also passed legislation to allow counties the option of using vote centers-a method very popular with voters and cost saving measure for counties. This method was successful in the three counties it was piloted in and we felt that all counties should have the option to choose whether or not they would like to implement vote centers.

Last, but certainly not least, was the state's implementation of a small business one-stop shop to cut down on the red-tape small businesses must sort through when filling necessary paperwork. If someone is hoping to start a small business, why shouldn't we make the process smoother?

As I previously mentioned, these are just a few of the laws that are now in effect.