STATEHOUSE — The 2013 legislative session has come to a finish. State Representative Matt Lehman (R-Berne) is pleased to see several of his bills become law this session. A few in particular are House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1012, HEA 1098, HEA 1225 and HEA 1320.
HEA 1012 allows a school corporation to sell a vacant school building after the building is made available for sale or lease to a charter school for at least two years. The bill also allows a school district to request a 30 day waiver from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) negating the two year requirement.
“Prior to the passage of HEA 1012, school districts like East Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools experienced unnecessary expenses due to the requirement that a vacant school building be made available for sale for four years,” said Rep. Lehman. “Reducing the amount of time that buildings must be available helps simplify the selling process and reduce costs and administrative difficulties.”
HEA 1098 requires the Interim Study Committee on Insurance to study the economic impact of uninsured motorists in Indiana.
“Indiana, like many states, is dealing with drivers who fail to comply with the laws that require all drivers to carry insurance. The number of uninsured motorist has risen and I have seen first hand how problematic this issue has become,” said Rep. Lehman. “The committee will study possible solutions to the problem of uninsured motorists in Indiana including insurance verification processes, coverage restrictions for those who do not comply and increasing the fines.”
HEA 1225 prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.
“E-cigarettes contain nicotine just like regular cigarettes, which is why this law applies the same regulations to e-cigarettes that are already in place on regular cigarettes,” said Rep. Lehman. “HEA 1225 will put Indiana one step ahead since the FDA is likely to implement similar regulations at the federal level within the next few years.”
HEA 1320 deals with worker’s compensation and caps reimbursement rates that medical service facilities are able to charge. In addition, the law also raises benefit amounts for the injured worker.
“This law came about as a result of recommendations and findings from study committees over the last two years,” said Rep. Lehman. “Currently, Indiana ranks as one of the highest states in medical reimbursement rates and one of the lowest in benefits to the injured worker. The balance we have created will put more money into the hands of the worker and with the caps in place we will continue to have some of the lowest rates in the nation.”
By using its time efficiently, the Indiana General Assembly was able to adjourn earlier than scheduled. The biennial state budget, passed by the Legislature, prioritizes education and road funding, while reducing debt and providing taxpayer relief.
“This session the Indiana House Republicans delivered on their promises to increase education funding and focus on workforce development,” said Rep. Lehman. “The job growth rate in Indiana has significantly outpaced the national rate of growth - nearly double - for the past three years. We will continue on this path of success by bridging the skills gap and fostering our pro-jobs environment. The budget is truly balanced and provides Hoosier taxpayers with the largest tax cut in state history.”