Rep. Heuer: New Indiana Laws part 1 (7/2/2012)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Start Date: 7/2/2012 Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Date: 7/2/2012 End Time: 8:00 AM

A select few of the new Indiana laws from this past session have already gone into effect. However, the majority just went into effect July 1. It is important that everyone is aware of changes Indiana is making, which is why this will be part one of a four-part series of columns discussing new Indiana laws.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this week, we remember the men and women who have fought for our freedoms since our nation’s founding. Their selfless acts deserve our recognition and our utmost respect. With that in mind, the Indiana General Assembly stood with our veterans and military personnel by enacting the following legislation:

House Enrolled Act 1059 – Military Family Relief Fund
This law extends the application deadline for grants from the Military Family Relief Fund from one year to three years. Grant monies can be used to help pay for food, housing, utilities, medical services, basic transportation, child care, education, employment or workforce, and other essential family support expenses. The grant is available for a service member or a service member’s family and is funded by the sales of “Hoosier Veteran,” “POW-MIA” and “Support Our Troops” license plates.

I supported HEA 1059 because veterans need our support when they return from active duty. It can be difficult for our veterans to adjust to life when returning home, and it is important to do whatever possible to help them have a smooth transition.

House Enrolled Act 1116 – Military Education & Training
This law requires all state educational institutions to adopt a policy to award educational credit to a former or current military person who enrolls in a state educational institution after successfully completing courses that are part of their military service. The courses taken while in the military must meet the standards of the American Council on Education and meet the state educational institution’s role, scope and mission.

Too often, soldiers complete courses as part of their military training but are unable to receive credit at the institutions in which they are enrolled. I supported this legislation because it will help our soldiers save money and receive college degrees in a timely matter.

House Enrolled Act 1065 – Military Custody & Parenting Time Matters
Servicemen and women facing divorce and child custody proceedings at the time of their deployment are often unable to attend or set a hearing because of their military duties. This new law allows an expedited hearing in determining child custody and also allows the servicemen or women to delegate their parenting time to a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the child as long as the court determines it is in the child’s best interest.

I supported HEA 1065 because it will provide parents in the military with the flexibility they need to make the best arrangements for their child’s care while they are away on duty. This law will also ensure that the best interests of children are being met.

I am pleased with the steps the Indiana General Assembly took this past session to aid our state’s military personnel. Next week I will discuss new Indiana laws regarding public health, including details on the statewide smoking ban. For a complete list of new Indiana laws, visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/reports/2012/2012GOV.PDF. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or input by calling 317-232-9647 or emailing H83@in.gov.
  
                                                    -30-

Rep. Heuer represents parts of Allen, Noble and Whitley Counties.